Los Angeles, CA | January 20, 2015– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: ENT), a worldwide leading provider of content, connectivity and digital media solutions to airlines, and global aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing (NYSE:BA), today announced that Global Eagle’s (GEE) Ku-band satellite connectivity system provisions will be offerable on new Boeing 737 airplanes.

GEE continues to actively work with Boeing on line-fit installation feasibility for catalogue offering consideration. Airlines ordering new Boeing 737 airplanes will then have the option of including pre-installed satellite connectivity by GEE in their aircraft prior to delivery.

“With the 737 being the most popular aircraft in the world in terms of new orders, this achievement marks a major milestone for GEE to expand its connectivity system offering,” commented Dave Davis, CEO at GEE. “The ability to deliver Ku-band and future Ku-HTS connectivity on new Boeing airplane orders enables us to answer the strong demand for a superior inflight connectivity offering and provides airlines access to the most technically- advanced connectivity solution in the market as a pre-installed option.”

  • Russia’s largest private airline sets the pace with in-flight communications

Moscow, Russia | September 8, 2014– Transaero Airlines, Russia’s award-winning international airline, has announced the usage of its on-board internet and mobile communications system.

Called Transaero Connect, the system enables passengers to access the internet during flights as well as make calls and send texts from their personal mobile phones.

In the first six months of 2014, passengers sent more than 1.5 million SMS text messages and made more than 24,500 calls.

During the same period, the Wi-Fi connection traffic totalled 1,900 Gb across the Transaero fleet which have satellite equipment installed.

Transaero has been offering access to high speed broadband internet since August 2012 and was the first Russian airline to do so.

The service is available on board 31 aircraft in its fleet, including nine Boeing 747-400s, five Boeing 777-300s, eleven Boeing 737-800s and four Boeing 737-700 aircraft, which are operated both on domestic and international routes. Internet access is also available on board two Boeing 737 Classic (Imperial and Business jets) that serve corporate charter flights.

The highest demand among passengers for mobile communication services was recorded on the Boeing 777-300 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

Transaero’s aircraft are equipped with the most advanced high-speed inflight internet access system currently available via Ku-Band, which is based on satellite technologies and provided by Panasonic Avionics’ Global Communication Suite (on Boeing 747 and Boeing 777 long-haul aircraft) and Row44 (on Boeing737-700/800) systems.

Ku-band technology allows passengers to gain internet access, check e-mails and use social media. The Ku-band system uses an 11.7-14.5 GHz frequency spectrum and enables data transmission with speed from 5 Мb/s.

The Transaero Connect service is the most affordable available in the Russian market.

Connections to high-speed internet on long-haul flights cost RUB 800(EUR 16) for the duration of the flight, or RUB 400 (EUR 8) per hour. Passengers on medium-haul flights, on a Boeing 737NG, pay RUB 600 (EUR 12) for internet connection throughout the flight or RUB 300 per hour (EUR 6). Transaero offers special scratch cards providing for free access to internet to its premium passengers of Imperial and Business classes flying on board Boeing 777-300 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft with Wi-Fi access.

  • Thai Airlines Seeking to Operate In-flight Connectivity Service Will Benefit from Partnership’s Support
  • All Airlines Flying Into and Over Thailand Can Access High-Quality Connectivity

Westlake Village, CA and Nonthaburi, Thailand | September 23, 2013– A memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly develop, implement and support in-flight connectivity solutions for airlines in Thailand and the surrounding region has been signed between Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: ENT), the leading provider of satellite-based in-flight WiFi and device-based entertainment for airlines around the world, and Thaicom Public Company Limited (THAICOM), a leading satellite communications provider in Asia Pacific publicly traded on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) under the symbol THCOM.

The partnership between these respected leaders in satellite-based in-flight connectivity and communications is designed to help airlines in Thailand and the Asia Pacific region develop and operate a unique, reliable and enjoyable in-flight connectivity service that reflects the specific preferences of these airlines and the passengers they serve.

“As the company responsible for the world’s first high-throughout IP satellite for commercial broadband, THAICOM has been providing a broad range of standard-setting satellite services throughout Asia Pacific for decades,” said John La Valle, Chief Executive Officer of Global Eagle Entertainment. “We look forward to working together with THAICOM to develop an in-flight connectivity experience unique to the region, and to improve the flying experience for air commercial travelers throughout Asia Pacific.”

Under the MOU, Global Eagle Entertainment subsidiary Row 44 will provide its world-leading, satellite-based in-flight connectivity platform, including hardware and software. Row 44 will also provide its expertise in efficient program management and in the development and operation of advanced in-flight services to increase passenger loyalty and airline revenues.

“We look forward to partnering with Global Eagle Entertainment and are proud to be able to play a key role in providing in-flight broadband services to Thailand and Asia Pacific,” said Suphajee Suthumpun, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Executive Officer of THAICOM. “This business partnership is a significant milestone for THAICOM as it marks our entry into the in-flight connectivity market in the Asia Pacific region. We are pleased to be able to support Asia Pacific’s evolving communications needs powered by our growing fleet of satellites and portfolio of end-to-end value-added services.”

THAICOM will work with Global Eagle to build out a satellite network infrastructure throughout the region that offers airlines a menu of services that include global satellite connectivity, network security and policy compliance management, customer billing, customer services, content delivery, and WiFi and Internet Service Provider (ISP) support. These services can be utilized individually or integrated as needed in order to help airlines maximize the productivity of its in-flight connectivity solution.

Added John La Valle: “We view the Asia Pacific region as a major growth market for us where we can further execute on our plans to deliver greater value to airlines and a better experience for passengers through our robust content and connectivity service offerings.”

– ‘TV Flies Free’ program launched on July 1st on more than 425 Southwest aircraft
– Innovative Inflight Entertainment offering expands on Global Eagle’s market leadership

Westlake Village, CA | July 2, 2013– Global Eagle Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) announced today that its Row 44 subsidiary has entered into a groundbreaking content and connectivity partnership with its customer Southwest Airlines® (NYSE: LUV). Row 44 will power a new inflight offering called ‘TV Flies Free’ whereby, for the first time, passengers will be able to watch free live TV and more than 50 on-demand shows streamed directly to personal devices, courtesy of DISH (NASDAQ: DISH).

Row 44, a leading provider of satellite-based inflight WiFi and device-based entertainment for airlines around the world, operates its inflight connectivity service with a network of Ku-band satellites. In addition to delivering consistent, universal coverage for WiFi connectivity, Ku-band is also the only broadband technology, whether satellite or air-to-ground, that can cost-effectively deliver and support live television programming to airlines as its beam design can receive, carry and deliver live television streams in a single beam.

Row 44 first launched its live TV platform on Southwest Airlines in the summer of 2012. After a successful pilot phase, it was rolled out to all WiFi-equipped Boeing 737-700 and -800 aircraft, which now represents more than 425 aircraft or about 75 percent of Southwest’s fleet.

“This trailblazing partnership is a validation of our industry-leading technology and our integrated content and connectivity platform,” said John LaValle, Chief Executive Officer of Global Eagle Entertainment. “This new program reflects the ability of our unique platform to meet the evolving needs of our customers and the millions of travelers they serve. We look forward to working with Southwest and DISH on this truly market-leading promotion.”

Earlier this year, Southwest Airlines announced an upgrade to the live TV package as well as the addition of on-demand episodes of popular TV shows. With the new DISH-sponsored ‘TV Flies Free’ program, Southwest Customers will be able to watch free live TV and more than 50 on demand shows on their personal devices. Live TV is available on most Internet-ready devices on most Southwest flights.

“Southwest Airlines continues to innovate and evolve our on-board Customer experience,” said Kevin Krone, Chief Marketing Officer at Southwest Airlines. “We started with WiFi and now have expanded to television. This new offer puts free television in the hands of our Customers. Just one more way Southwest offers more value at 37,000 feet.”

The design of the satellite network that supports the ‘TV Flies Free’ program, which operates across North America, is the result of a deep engineering and technology collaboration between Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes) and Row 44. Hughes’ expertise in broadband satellite solutions and services has bolstered the performance of the network and contributes heavily to the ongoing consistent performance of the live TV product.

“Our relationship with Row 44 has afforded both enterprises the opportunity to deliver true innovation to inflight entertainment,” said Paul Gaske, Executive Vice President and General Manager, North American Division for Hughes. “As a pioneer in high-speed satellite Internet technology and services, Hughes is an ideal partner for Row 44, and we look forward to continuing to innovate and push the limits of in-flight entertainment and communications (IFEC) alongside them.”

Added LaValle, “Our live TV product is an outstanding example of the capacity and flexibility a system powered by Ku-band satellite connectivity can achieve, and it is being established on a global scale.”

Hamburg, Germany | March 27, 2013– First time exhibitor Molon Labe Designs will use Aircraft Interiors Expo – organised by Reed Exhibitions – to present its innovative and unique seating design concept at the Hamburg Messe, Germany from 9 -11 April.

The Slip-Slide seat permits the normal 19” wide aisle to open up to an impressive 43”, offering a number of benefits to both the airline and passengers. The company states that it is the only seat in the industry that provides wider aisles during turnaround, minimising passenger embarkation and disembarkation times and enabling full wheelchair access the length of the cabin.

This new concept in seating design utilises the aisle column of seats as a semi-fixed structure attached to its respective row, but not directly to the floor. The aisle seat moves up and over the middle seat using a single action operation, sliding away from the plane’s central concourse, generating an extra 24” of space to permit passenger access and egress. Before take-off the seat slides back into position and locks in place.

Molon Labe asserts that for an airline there are numerous advantages, especially since the slowest part of an aircrafts turnaround is the loading and unloading of passengers. These include two extra hours of flight time per aircraft and savings on fuel as there is less time on the ground powering essential services while passenger’s access and egress. The company states that the seat pays for itself in two years through the fuel saving element alone.

A stalwart of Aircraft Interiors Expo, Thales will use the exhibition to present its Eyetracking and Gesture Control system. The IFE system is controlled via a combination of the passenger’s eye movements and hand motions, allowing them to navigate through the seat display menu options and select their entertainment preferences. Developed for premium passengers, the system is used in a far reach seat configuration often called a pod seat. The use of Eyetracking and Hand Gesture Control technologies creates an MMI (Man-Machine Interface) whereby the Field-of-View between the passenger’s eyes and hands is all within the same visual plane of the seat display, eliminating the need to constantly look down at a remote control to make a selection. This product is a finalist in the “Passenger Comfort Systems” category at the annual Crystal Cabin Awards 2013.

Inflight internet specialist Gogo will soon be offering a new product that will allow passengers to send text messages from any Gogo equipped commercial aircraft. Called Gogo Text & Voice, it uses Gogo’s Wi-Fi system and will be available without picocells. Gogo expects Text & Voice to be the first solution in the market to leverage an in-air
Wi-Fi system to allow airline passengers to send and receive texts in real-time using their own mobile phone number while flying at 30,000 ft and in excess of 500 miles per hour.

Row 44 will be exhibiting the industry’s first full-scale platform for in-flight entertainment and connectivity. The company’s Ku-band satellite technology is unique in its ability to deliver live television direct to passengers’ personal mobile devices throughout an entire fleet of aircraft at a consistent quality and cost-effective rate. This service can be made available to passengers as a separate Wi-Fi offering, regardless of whether or not a passenger chooses to pay for internet access. It offers 1.8 terabyte of video-on-demand service which enables unprecedented choice for the customer. The service allows airline partners of Row 44 to impress their customers with a new entertainment product offering opportunities to garner incremental revenues. Row 44 also permits airlines to retain control of the branding of the services and portal in order to maintain brand continuity. Row 44 is a finalist in the Passenger Comfort Systems category of the Crystal Cabin Awards.

For more information on Aircraft Interiors Expo please visit: www.aircraftinteriorsexpo.com

For more information on the Crystal Cabin Awards please visit: www.crystal-cabin-award.com

– Majority of Fleet Now Equipped With Variety of Inflight Entertainment Options

Dallas, TX | February 19, 2013/PRNewswire/- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) announced today that movies on demand are now available on all WiFi-equipped Southwest aircraft for only $5 per movie, per device. The airline also announced an upgrade to their television package. In 2012, Southwest became the only airline in the world to stream live television directly to Customers’ personal devices. Now, in addition to eight channels of live news and sports, Customers can also select on-demand episodes of popular television shows. The upgraded TV package is $5 a day, per device on WiFi-enabled planes.

“Providing a comprehensive and robust inflight connectivity system for our Customers is paramount,” said Dave Ridley , Southwest Airlines’ Senior Vice President Business Development. “Our Flight Attendants are famous for delivering superb Customer Service, and we’re excited to enhance our onboard entertainment offering and take the Customer Experience to new heights.”

The majority of Southwest Customers now have access to WiFi, movies on demand, and the upgraded television offering. As of February 6, all Southwest Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 aircraft were equipped with Row 44 satellite technology that enables these entertainment offerings/services. This milestone represents nearly 75 percent of all Southwest aircraft, which completes the retrofit installations. Moving forward, all new deliveries and AirTran conversions will enter service with Row 44 technology installed.

WiFi service can be purchased for $8 a day, per device including stops and connections. Customers do not need to purchase WiFi in order to access movies or TV.

Accessing the Internet, or watching movies and television is simple. Customers use their WiFi-enabled device onboard any Boeing 737-700 or 737-800 aircraft, connect to “southwestwifi,” and launch their browser to be directed to the inflight entertainment portal. From the portal, Customers are able to select WiFi, movies, or television. The portal also provides free access to a flight tracker, shopping, and games. With Row 44 satellite technology, connectivity continues to work over bodies of water so Customers remain connected all day, no matter where they travel. This video highlights the Inflight connectivity experience.

For more information and visuals about using WiFi, movies, or television onboard, please visit the WiFi media kit on SWAmedia.

Los Angeles, CA | January 24, 2013/PRNewswire/–Global Eagle Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: EAGL; EAGLW; EAGLU) (Global Eagle) today announced that, upon the closing of its proposed business combination transaction, John LaValle, the Chief Executive Officer of Row 44, Inc. (Row 44), will become Chief Executive Officer of Global Eagle, and Louis Belanger-Martin, the Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Inflight Alliance AG (AIA), will become Vice Chairman of the Board of Global Eagle.

Under the proposed business combination, Global Eagle will acquire Row 44 and 86% of the issued and outstanding shares of AIA. Global Eagle Acquisition Corp. will be renamed Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. upon the closing and will be the public holding company for both Row 44 and AIA.

“I’m pleased that John has agreed to serve as CEO and Louis as Vice Chairman of Global Eagle Entertainment,” stated Ed Shapiro, Chairman of the Boards of Row 44 and AIA and Chairman-designate of Global Eagle Entertainment. “I have worked closely with both John and Louis in their respective CEO roles over the past several years and have watched them build industry leading companies. John has done a tremendous job positioning Row 44 to extend its leadership position in satellite-based in-flight connectivity, while Louis has continued to leverage his nearly two decades of airline content experience to position AIA for the next stage of its growth. I look forward to tapping their talents in running of this newly combined company.”

Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky, founders of Global Eagle Acquisition Corp., stated: “The appointments of John and Louis at Global Eagle allows them to bring their strengths to the public company level. They work extremely well together and we look forward to being part of their success.”

LaValle has served as the CEO of Row 44 for the past year. After joining the company in 2007, he helped to establish and strengthen Row 44′s leadership position in satellite-based in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment content. In his more than 20 years with technology companies, LaValle has completed three successful IPOs. LaValle’s successful track record includes COO and/or CFO roles at National Beverage Properties, TelASIC Communications, Kotura, Inc., Stamps.com (IPO 1999), Comcore Semiconductor, Trikon Technologies (IPO 1995), Superconductor Technologies (IPO 1992) and PS Medical.

Belanger-Martin will continue to serve as the Chief Executive Officer at AIA, a position he has held since 2011. He will also continue to serve as a Member of the Management Board at AIA and will lead the efforts to develop Global Eagle’s offering into a single solution. The founder of DTI Software, Belanger-Martin is credited as one of the executives who pioneered the in-flight entertainment business. He will continue to maintain key relationships for AIA and Global Eagle Entertainment with the company’s customers, which include more than 100 airlines as well as with international equipment manufactures and leading consortiums of videogame producers.

In November 2012, Global Eagle announced the signing of definitive agreements for the business combination to create the largest entertainment and connectivity platform for the worldwide airline industry. AIA is the leading supplier of games, movies, general entertainment and applications to the airline industry, serving more than 130 airlines worldwide. Row 44 is a leading satellite-based broadband service provider to the global airline industry, with its in-flight entertainment connectivity system currently installed on more than 450 aircraft that operate over land and sea worldwide.

– Row 44 completes installation on 400th Southwest Aircraft
– Southwest’s Inflight Entertainment Platform Features Live Television

Westlake Village, California | January 22, 2013– Row 44, the leading provider of inflight Wi-Fi and device-based entertainment for airlines around the world, and its partner Southwest Airlines announced today that the Row 44 inflight entertainment and connectivity service, which includes high-speed Internet, shopping, destination services, and real-time flight map with updates, has been installed on 400 Southwest aircraft. In addition, Southwest offers Row 44’s live television service across all Wi-Fi equipped aircraft.

“The 400th installation of broadband capabilities on our fleet is a particularly significant milestone for Southwest and our partner Row 44,” said Dave Ridley, Southwest Airlines’ Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “Southwest was the first U.S. carrier to test satellite-delivered broadband Internet access on multiple aircraft. We have found the strength of satellite service has allowed us to deliver very high bandwidth for Internet users and provide our inflight entertainment via the addition of live television.”

Now available onSouthwest aircraft installed with Wi-Fi, the live television service features nine channels of live news and sports, which includes NBC Sports, NFL Network, NFL Red Zone, MLB, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, Fox Business News and FOX-NYC. Passengers with Wi-Fi-enabled devices can stream the live television service. Importantly, the Row 44 live television service utilizes a distinct band transmitted to the aircraft, and therefore does not interfere with Internet connectivity.

“Our 400th installation on Southwest is a notable achievement for Row 44, and coupled with a growing list of services they entrust us to deliver to their Customers makes it even more significant,” said Row 44’s Chief Executive Officer John LaValle. “As our partnership with Southwest continues to thrive, Row 44 remains committed to innovating in the ways that are meaningful to Southwest and their passengers’ inflight entertainment experience.”

“We look forward to having the most robust inflight entertainment platform in the sky,” added Ridley.“

Happy New Year to all our readers and we hope that 2013 will be a little bit better than 2012, actually a lot better.

As you might guess, this year will undoubtedly bring a lot of changes to this mad world if IFEC. Outside influences will be a big driver and economic conditions will still dictate the rate of change. Personal technology has never had so much influence on our business but this year, we are comfortable in predicting that we will see two major influences – Mobile and Other. Mobile is the eight-hundred-pound-gorilla and Other is just that, other influences like FAA rulings, economic conditions and who knows what else. For our efforts, we requested the thoughts of others in the IFE space and we hope this article gets you thinking.


As the trend of mobile connectivity affects all of us, the only place travelers won’t be connected is on the plane!? Proof of this trend is evident in the smartphone world. Shipment revenues for smartphones are expected to reach $37 billion in 2013, with more than 125.8 million units shipping to retailers. This is up 16 percent from 2012. Tablet computers also are expected to see phenomenal growth.This year, unit sales of tablets are projected to surpass 105 million (up 54%), resulting in $35.6 billion in shipment revenue, up 22% year-over-year. And speaking of apps, Apple announced announced that customers have downloaded over 40 billion apps from the iTunes App Store, with nearly 20 billion in 2012 alone. Recently it was announced that a record-breaking 17.4 million iOS and Android devices were activated on Christmas Day, leading to equally impressive downloads over the holidays. The week of December 25 through December 31 recorded the highest number of device activations and app downloads of any week in history. Some 50 million iOS and Android devices were activated during the holiday week and 1.76 billion applications were downloaded. The iOS app count is now over 775,000! By the end of next year, mobile internet traffic will surpass fixed and a lot of those users will be using them on planes. And we mean a lot! From a trend perspective, one Astronics sage told IFExpress, “More connectivity and more power!” We assume he means inseat power and he would know.

We also see the coming connectivity revolution with increased bandwidth, increased aircraft retrofits and increased interest by airlines. Gogo, Panasonic, Row 44 and others are rushing to get passengers connected. Liz Young told IFExpress, “I think we will see a gradual shift on many international airlines toward ‘tiered’ services, which means that passengers will have options, e.g., using their own electronic devices at no charge, having access to wireless devices that the airline provides at a modest charge, and having access to ‘fixed’ devices (seat-back, tray table) that are free to use for basic services but require a credit card swipe for premium services.  Virtually all wide body planes will provide satellite linkage for these services, but the Ku-band/Ka-band battle will not be clearly resolved for many years to come.”

Along the same general direction, AirCloud’s Peter Lemme told IFExpress, “Inflight entertainment providers have been dabbling with connected applications for many years: live TV, messaging, browsing. Inmarsat remains a mainstay with L-band services and hopes to hold off market penetration from ViaSat, Panasonic, Row 44, and Gogo. Both Iridium and Inmarsat are held back with new developments more than one year away. With so many service providers in the mix, suppliers of equipment, airframes, and airline operators will need to embrace standardization wherever possible. Broadband technology has fully matured for 2013. The battle at the seat, whether seat-back or BYOD, is much more about monetization. Seat-back deployments have long benefitted from subsidy, whereas BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) seems also BYOB (Build Your Own Business). There really is no reason for differentiating the monetization opportunities. Long-standing desires for targeted marketing and for premium advertising, which have been evident for decades, finally are powered by technology that can shower the cabin with individualized experiences. BYOD and a stand-alone Wi-Fi offers the bare-minimum IFE.  In 2013, not one commercial operator should even question the immediate need to deploy Wi-Fi no matter how small the airplane. Connectivity at the gate is the area that may be the most surprising.  Cellular can now equal WLAN technologies, freeing IFE from the airport wireless tangled-web. I don’t foresee dedicated WiMax satisfying IFE appetite, but I would not ignore it either. The greatest development to come is the most boring – wired Ethernet at the gate.”

From a future point of view, the FAA and FCC are rethinking connectivity, as innumerable news releases have noted, but we wondered if airplane text messaging was possible today as we had tried it earlier on a domestic flight so we contacted Robbie Hyman, Row 44 PR Guru and asked if that feature was to be found on the sat-based connectivity today and he told us; “Interestingly, with iMessage on the iPhone you can send a text message to another iPhone, using a Wi-Fi signal and not your phone’s cell signal. I just learned that the other day and am now even more impressed with Apple! But as for true text messaging from one of our partner airlines’ planes, no, passengers don’t have that option now. Row 44’s system does have GSM capability, but our airlines have not asked for it. So for now passengers cannot use their cell phone’s cell signal to send texts from our airlines’ planes (either in the US or anywhere else). They’ll have to find web-based alternatives and use the Wi-Fi service.”


We also asked some IFEC’ers about the future industry changes and we got a variable buffet of answers. Rich Salter, Lumexis CTO had this to say, ” I want to predict that advances in network technology will be a lot more dramatic than many may think – not to mention the fact that 802.11ac is almost here and will force the WAP suppliers to start building it into their airborne WAPs sooner rather than later – (note that Apple iDevices will likely have “ac” capability in their next generation versions due out in 2013). Next year we will see dramatic advances in the enabling technologies for onboard networks (and this bodes well for higher definition video): For fiber optic networks, a 10 Gbit standard will be considered by aviation standards committees. For wireless systems, a new generation of PEDs will drive IFEC suppliers to consider adding 802.11“ac” capability (for 450Mbps-1.3Gbps) into their airborne WAPs sooner rather than later.”  And lastly, Beth DeYoung, GM Zodiac Lighting Solutions, told IFExpress “The airlines are realizing the benefits of LED interior lighting and we expect the demand for this technology to take-off in 2013.”

The next inputs come from sources who want to remain anonymous… see if you agree, they vary from the sublime to the ridiculous!
• Travel costs will jump … and when first class drinks are not free, a revolt will spread!
• Major switches in IFE suppliers at some of the top airlines in the world but are they making changes for better equipment or service, or are they making changes because they are tired of the games?  What ever happened to the saying ‘…with the devil you know?’
• More Wireless Installations over embedded IFE networks
• Samsung and Boeing part company within 18 months
• Major inroads by the Chinese into OEM aircraft production; announcements of major airline buys from the Chinese vendor this year.
• Could a midwest IFE vendor be sold to a competitor?
• IFE – Network contract assigned to the first tourist space shuttle in private ownership
• Expect the first IFEC Cloud integration.
• New low cost defibrillators will generate more airline interest after an incident!!
• There will soon be more tablets in use on the plane than laptops – watch out IFE!
• IF the FAA permits voice calls on planes, the airlines will divide the plane in half…phone calls and no phone call sections and the only fair way is right-side-left side.
• Panasonic will introduce the first Ultra HD display for planes (biz jets probably).
• The only 3D display to make it on a plane will be the non-glasses type (similar to the ones in past Thales booths).
• Watch for flat fee increases from the airlines… more money to be made than percentage increases, and passengers think they are all being treated equal!
• A new IFE developer will enter the fray in 2013!

– New Wi-Fi Service Gives Passengers Access to Virtual Tours, Insider Information and Special Deals on Bookable Services in Their Destination City.

Dallas, TX | November 13, 2012– SwiftAir announced today that Row 44, the leading provider of in-flight Wi-Fi and device-based entertainment, has selected SwiftAir as a partner for in-flight destination services. Row 44 plans to roll out SwiftAir’s interactive in-flight travel guide exclusively on Southwest Airlines’ fleet of more than 350 Wi-Fi enabled planes. The inflight deals will debut in early 2013 on planes flying into 11 of Southwest’s top destinations. More cities will be added throughout the year.

With this new interactive travel guide powered by SwiftAir, passengers aboard planes equipped with Row 44’s in-flight Wi-Fi will be able to view virtual tours of their destination city and browse and buy exclusive deals only offered in-flight – such as tickets to shows or sporting events, restaurant reservations and tourist packages. Access to the in-flight deals will be available at no cost via Southwest’s In-Flight Entertainment Portal.

“SwiftAir provides consumers with a destination-specific experience each time they fly versus repurposed content from the ground,” said Trey Bayne, SwiftAir chief executive and financial officer. “We are excited to provide Southwest customers with an entirely new way to receive special offers and incentives from businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues in their destination city.”

Customers flying on a Row 44 Wi-Fi enabled Southwest aircraft will have the ability to browse and buy exclusive deals via tablet, phone or laptop. Redemption codes are sent via text and email to a mobile device, and presented to the merchant to redeem the deal.

“We know our airline partners want to deliver the best inflight entertainment experience available, and that is why Row 44 seeks to provide even more innovative services that are meaningful to their passengers,” said Doug Walner, chief commercial officer for Row 44. “SwiftAir’s interactive travel guide is a tremendous complement to our platform as it gives passengers considerable access to their destination city and our airline partners yet another avenue to deliver a great inflight experience.”

–Creating largest integrated entertainment platform for the global airline industry –Combined Company to be Renamed Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. –All major Row 44 and AIA shareholders rolling equity into transaction –Leading institutional investors committing $71.25 million equity backstop –Transaction valued at 6x projected consolidated 2014 Adjusted EBITDA* –Investor conference call scheduled for 4:30pm, Thursday, November 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA | November 8, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Global Eagle Acquisition Corp. EAGL 0.00% EAGLW -2.50% EAGLU 0.00% (Global Eagle) today announced the signing of definitive agreements under which Global Eagle will acquire Row 44, Inc. (Row 44) and approximately 86% of the issued and outstanding shares of Frankfurt-listed Advanced Inflight Alliance AG (gr:DVN1) (AIA) to create the largest entertainment and connectivity platform for the worldwide airline industry. AIA is the leading supplier of games, movies, general entertainment and applications to the airline industry, serving more than 130 airlines worldwide. Row 44 is a leading satellite-based broadband service provider to the global airline industry, with its inflight entertainment connectivity system currently installed on more than 400 aircraft that operate over land and sea worldwide.

Global Eagle is a special purpose acquisition company which raised approximately $190 million in its initial public offering in May 2011. Global Eagle’s founders, Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky, believe that this marriage of content, connectivity and capital will create a superior platform to exploit the rapidly expanding global airline industry as it increasingly focuses on the in-cabin entertainment experience and other ancillary revenue opportunities. Following the closing, Global Eagle will own 100% of the equity of Row 44 and approximately 86% of the issued and outstanding shares of AIA, and be renamed Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. Global Eagle intends to apply to list its shares of common stock on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol “ENT.”

Global Eagle is purchasing the AIA shares from PAR Investment Partners, L.P. (PAR), which is also a major shareholder of Row 44. AIA separately will retain its listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (with trading of its shares in Deutsche Borse’s Xetra trading system), with approximately 14% of the shares held by public shareholders.

In support of this transaction, Global Eagle has arranged for leading institutional investors, including PAR, to purchase 7.125 million shares of common stock of Global Eagle to the extent any public stockholders of Global Eagle redeem their shares. In the event there are no redemptions or less than 7.125 million public shares are redeemed, the backstop investors also have an option to purchase up to a total of 7.125 million shares. The shares of common stock that PAR will receive pursuant to the Backstop Agreement may include shares of voting and non-voting Global Eagle common stock.

In making the announcement, Harry Sloan, Chairman and CEO of Global Eagle, stated, “By combining AIA’s access to the installed inflight entertainment market with Row 44’s WiFi to mobile device capability, Global Eagle has potential access to 100% of the airline passenger experience, creating an addressable market as large as the global airline industry. This is exactly the kind of worldwide digital media opportunity we’ve been seeking for Global Eagle since our IPO; and this is also a platform for Jeff and me to utilize our media and content relationships and experience to drive expansion and enhancement of inflight content and programming around the world. ”

Edward L. Shapiro, a partner of PAR Capital Management and Chairman of the Board of Row 44 and Chairman of AIA’s Supervisory Board, who will become Chairman of Global Eagle Entertainment after the closing, stated, “We are extremely excited about this business combination. Row 44 and AIA are leaders in their respective industries and have highly complementary products and customer bases. With this transaction, not only will the two companies be able to enhance their offerings, but they will gain access to additional capital and relevant entertainment industry experience.”

Shapiro added, “I have had the privilege of working closely with the very talented Row 44 and AIA management teams and I look forward to continuing this work as we enter this next phase of accelerating industry adoption of wireless content delivery. I have known both Harry and Jeff for more than ten years and am eager to have them as partners as we build Global Eagle Entertainment into a leading global media company.”

All the members of Row 44 and AIA senior management teams, including John LaValle as CEO of Row 44 and Louis Belanger-Martin as CEO of AIA, will continue in their current positions under the new ownership structure.

Summary of Business Combination Transaction

Under the terms of the proposed business combination, Global Eagle will become the owner of all of the equity of Row 44 pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement entered into today. In addition, Global Eagle will become the owner of approximately 86% of the issued and outstanding shares of AIA pursuant to the terms of the Stock Purchase Agreement also entered into today with PAR.

Under the AIA Stock Purchase Agreement, Global Eagle will issue approximately 14,368,000 shares of non-voting common stock to PAR Capital for its 20,464,581 shares of AIA, representing a purchase price of EUR 5.50 per share and assuming a Euro to U.S. dollar exchange rate of 1.27655.

Pursuant to the Row 44 Merger Agreement, at the closing, Global Eagle will issue approximately 25 million shares of common stock to the equity holders of Row 44 representing a total enterprise value consideration of $250 million, subject to adjustments as defined in the Merger Agreement. Preliminarily, these adjustments are expected to result in the issuance of approximately 22.5 million shares to the equity holders of Row 44 at closing, a payment of approximately $12 million in cash to PAR, as the first party to commit to a backstop agreement, and the assumption of certain warrants. PAR currently owns approximately 86% of the issued and outstanding shares of AIA and more than 40% of the issued and outstanding equity of Row 44. AIA currently owns approximately 13% of the issued and outstanding equity of Row 44.

Assuming no redemptions of Global Eagle stock by its public stockholders, the current stockholders of Global Eagle, the current owners of Row 44 (excluding PAR Capital and AIA), PAR and AIA (approximately 86% of which will be owned by Global Eagle) will hold approximately 39%, 17%, 39% and 5%, respectively, of the issued and outstanding shares of Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. common stock immediately following the closing.

The cash currently held in Global Eagle’s trust account will be used to fund any redemptions by public stockholders of Global Eagle of their common stock, accrued expenses and transaction expenses and fees, with any remaining cash being used for working capital and capital expenditures to facilitate growth and industry consolidation initiatives and other general corporate purposes.

The boards of directors of Global Eagle and Row 44 have unanimously approved the Row 44 Merger Agreement and the board of directors of Global Eagle and PAR have each approved the sale of PAR’s AIA shares. Completion of the transaction, which is expected to occur in January 2013, is subject to approval by Global Eagle and Row 44 stockholders, the expiration or early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, any applicable non-U.S. antitrust approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Citigroup is acting as lead capital markets advisor to Global Eagle, and BofA Merrill Lynch and Citigroup are providing financial advisory services to Global Eagle. RBC Capital Markets is providing advisory services to AIA. Seabury Group, LLC is providing advisory services to Row 44. Legal counsel to Global Eagle is McDermott Will & Emery LLP. Legal counsel to PAR are Goodwin Procter LLP and SJ Berwin. Legal counsel to Row 44 is Strategic Law Partners, LLP.

The description of the business combination contained herein is only a summary and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the definitive agreements relating to the transaction, copies of which will be filed by Global Eagle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as exhibits to a Current Report on Form 8-K.

Conference Call Scheduled

Global Eagle will host a conference call to discuss the proposed business combination with the investment community on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 4:30pm EST. Investors may participate in the conference call by dialing (800) 860-2442 toll free in the US, (866) 605-3852 toll free in Canada or (412) 858-4600 internationally. A replay will be available one hour after the end of the conference until 9:00am on November 16, 2012 by dialing (877) 344-7529 toll free in the US or (412) 317-0088 internationally and entering conference number 10021300.

Additional information about the business combination will be included by Global Eagle as an exhibit to a Current Report on Form 8-K that will be furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission prior to the conference call. Interested parties should visit the SEC website at www.sec.gov .

Westlake Village, CA | October 17, 2012– Row 44, the leading provider of inflight WiFi and device-based entertainment for airlines around the world, is pleased to announce that UTair Aviation, one of the leading airlines in Russia, has selected Row 44 to provide inflight connectivity services.

With the Row 44 platform, UTair will provide its passengers with the ability to enjoy high-speed, reliable Internet access, as well as premium entertainment content, including a selection of live TV channels, delivered directly to their WiFi-enabled devices.

“We are operating in a technology-rich era where we see passengers today are more connected than ever to their friends, family, and businesses. Row 44 offers the only platform that both meets our desire to provide our passengers with reliable, affordable broadband, and the cutting-edge ability to deliver it to the devices passengers already use onboard, ” said Mr. Andrei Martirosov, chief executive officer of UTair Aviation. “Moreover, we will be well able to adapt effectively to ever-evolving personal and business connectivity requirements of our passengers and our aircraft.”

“UTair is one of Russia’s most innovative and growth-focused airlines. We greatly appreciate UTair’s trust and confidence to deliver a superior connectivity experience for UTAir’s passengers and crew,” said John LaValle, Row 44’s CEO.

Installations are expected to begin on UTair’s aircraft in the 3rd quarter of 2013.

UTair is the second airline in Russia to choose Row 44, and to take advantage of the company’s growing global satellite network. As of first quarter 2013, Row 44 will operate services across North America, the Atlantic Ocean, Continental Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, South Africa and Russia. Row 44 has also expanded its corporate and network operations to Moscow to support business growth in the Russia and CIS region.

If you don’t know Yukio Sugimoto, Aircraft Cabin System Founder and President, you should. For the last few months, Yukio has hinted at a new product and we wanted a chance to show it to our readers. Back in January, Yukio indicated that it would be a revolutionary new drop down monitor… but that was about all. If you visited their booth at APEX, you would have seen the device (patent-pending). When we got the inside story, we were pleasantly surprised and had to agree that it is indeed a revolutionary concept. The ACS retract is very cleverly designed and probably the most advanced on the market today and certainly is the lowest power unit. Here is a preliminary data sheet on Yukio’s new toy and we suggest you check out the block diagram of the electronics. The first thing we noticed was the lack of a big retract spring that allows activation in case of power loss. A big spring means a bigger motor to power the drop mechanism. As an engineer, yours truly caught the gist of the electrical storage. Yep, you guessed it, he stores energy in a capacitor(s) – not a spring. You might think that there is not enough energy in standard aircraft voltage to handle the screen retract and you might be correct except for another clever design trick. Yukio developed a switching power supply to jack up the system voltage enough and store it to get the required loss-of-system-power screen retract (Remember – P = V squared over R). One can see the the smaller motor in the magnified image. Lower power mechanical requirement (small spring) equates to a smaller actuator motor. Another feature is microprocessor control. By adding “smarts” with a processor, the unit can be programmed to adjust for head strike and other dynamic anomalies, as well as, counting operation cycles – a boon to maintenance tech’s. With all this technology the unit maintains a weight in the low 8 pound range. At APEX the retract featured a 9.7 inch screen, but Mr. Sugimoto told IFExpress that he is entertaining a 12″ monitor and see’s applications on B737’s and A320’s. We predict that the ACS retract will become an industry standard and should you get to another show where the unit is demonstrated be sure to check it out. You can reach Yukio Sugimoto at sugimotoy@aircraftcabinsystems.com

At APEX we ran into a “retired” Peter Daniello working in the Post Modern Group booth, and he wanted us to say hello to all his industry friends, so, here’s Peter.

Lee Costin, Mr. ARINC, had a compelling story to tell about the future of passenger wireless connectivity. To that end, the ARINC folks kindly provided a cabin diagram of their connectivity solution. Launched in 2011, the system is now tested and installation will begin on their first customer – Virgin Atlantic – in 2013. The message here is that it is no longer a “proof-of-concept”. In an actual installation, ARINC would provide the end-to-end integration of their COTS solution – Konotron servers, etc. ARINC helps obtain the STC and certification for their customers. The system is a very simple Wi-Fi solution that acts as a standalone IFE system for passengers who want to use their own devices. Connection to various PEDS is handled by the software and uses an open HTML standard, which also includes a payment module in the package. Launched in 2011 at APEX Seattle, the service is being promoted via the two ARINC offices in UK and Singapore today. Lee told IFExpress that they can even target passenger demographics. “By taking a very pragmatic approach, ARINC has a very cost effective way for airlines to offer Wi-Fi in the cabin!” Contact lcostin@cabinconnect.com

Next, here is a great picture of John Guidon, Row 44 Tech Guru, who spent quite a lot of time in the IFExpress interview educating us on the “Row 44 experience difference” and why they have a clear advantage in that arena. His hidden message may be the widespread distribution of Ku band coverage, strong signal power, and weather insensitivity that a strong suit for those frequencies. Come to think of it, we have never talked to anyone who had a bad connectivity experience on a Row44 equipped plane. John noted that the company was quietly increasing their customer base and at the time of the show, they had around 370 aircraft installations – knocking down one installation per day! Coming soon – Russia’s Transaero and IcelandAir. According to Guidon, “Ku band European coverage starts in Iceland and on to Northern Norway, then goes down thru the Ukraine, Belarus, on to Dubai and on to Egypt, Lybia, Algeria, and on to to include the Canaries.” Obviously, one advantage of Ku band is the existing satellite coverage – worldwide. We got it, John. Check out their website for more info.

And last, but not least, we talked to Jamie Newland, Managing Director of Yocalm, the inflight video Yoga solution. However, we are still trying to figure out “downward-facing-dog” on a single aisle aircraft? Contact J.Newland@yocalm.com

Day two of Farnborough has come to an end and so far, the pundits who bet on Boeing and the aircraft leasing community were correct. The 737 MAX sales are North of 1,000 units while lessors have gobbled up a lion’s share of the orders. Airbus announced a $4.2B deal with Cathay today as both big plane vendors struggle in a down economy and the prospects of a declining military sales. So much for the bad news. The good news is Row 44’s CTO, John Guidon has agreed to grace our “Speaker’s Corner” series with (What else?) a treatise on Ku band inflight connectivity logic. What’s next, a refute by the Ka Community? We’ll see! Heeeeere’s Johnny:

Ku or Ka? A Summary of the Issues Shows Ku Makes More Sense
By Row 44’s John Guidon

I know that you’re hearing lots of opinions about whether Ku-band or Ka-band satellite technology makes the most sense for airlines to deploy for inflight Wi-Fi and entertainment now, next year and a few years forward.

In the quest for bandwidth, the satellite industry has moved through numerous bands (L, C, S, X, Ku and Ka) over time. Each has pros and cons, and all are still in use, having established their own defensible markets. Today the Airborne Mobile Satellite Services industry faces the choice between Ku and Ka bands for broadband service. The question is: Which serves the airline market better?

I’d like to give you the perspective of someone who has been deeply involved in the eight-year process of bringing to market the only airline connectivity system in production today on more than 300 aircraft worldwide. This system is supported by Ku-band because Ku is the most reliable, lowest risk and cost-effective technology available, and therefore, is the most sensible choice for supporting airlines’ Wi-Fi and entertainment content needs.

Universal: The Ku-band is a proven, mature commodity; more than 160 satellites in orbit create a global resource. Since one satellite can cover an entire continent or ocean, there’s enough overlap and redundancy to create real price competition. By contrast, the number of Ka-band satellites is just into double digits, and there is a disturbing trend: Typically, the requirements of each Ka satellite are somewhat incompatible with many or all of the others.

Antenna size: Advancements in antenna technology have made it possible to reduce the size of the Ku-band antenna to a very streamlined low profile addition. To that end, proponents of Ka-band satellites have touted the use of an even smaller antenna to support Ka. Prominent early claims hyped “50Mbps to an antenna the size of a paperback book” and so on. However, this is misleading. Industry experts believe that Ka-band antennas will be very similar in size to the Ku low-profile antennas used today. This is primarily due to regulatory factors and variations between Ka-band satellites, as well as needing to overcome the challenge of rain and cloud to Ka-band.

Radio Frequency (RF) subsystem cost: Airborne RF subsystems for Ku-band operation will cost 50 percent less than Ka-band in the near and mid-term. While costs will fall as time goes by, Ku-band is still estimated to remain more cost effective by approximately 30 percent. This is because Ka-band needs lower loss components at higher frequencies.

Consistency: A major concern for the end user is consistency of coverage, which is a critical area where broad-beam Ku-band satellites will continue to be superior. Ku satellites are typically built with a few beams that each cover a large area, often as big as a continent, and the service is consistent across the whole area. By contrast, Ka satellites are usually designed using “spot beams.” This means Ka-band will need to use up to hundreds of beams to cover the area of a single Ku beam. The problem in Ka-band is that the cost of provisioning service is determined by the maximum number of planes in each spot beam, but the revenue results from the average number of planes in that spot. Typically, the maximum number of planes in each small spot is several times the average. This means covering each spot costs several times more than it should; a cost which must be passed along to the airline customer. If service is under-provisioned, congestion will result, a well-known issue to users of tower-based services. The broader beams of Ku satellites suffer no such economic or infrastructural issues.

Television: Ku-band is the only satellite technology that can cost-effectively deliver live television programming to airlines. Ka spot beams make TV delivery cost prohibitive because of having to carry the TV live streams in every cell where even a single plane may fly. By contrast, all the planes under a broad Ku beam can receive the same, single broadcast of the live TV streams.

Fungibility: Ku-band satellites are broadly interchangeable and they compete for business. Conversely, there are no competitive free market equivalent offers for Ka-band, which may ultimately be a deterrent for widespread acceptance. Competition between rival services will bring the lowest priced and highest quality service to a global coverage solution, in any current or future band. Only the most competitive and cost-effective solutions should ultimately survive, and today Ku-band is the only satellite service to meet those standards.

Timing: In the event of a Ka-band satellite failure, what are the recovery options? Could it take days, months or years? Given a more than nine percent rate of launch/deployment/in-service failures, there is a risk to dependency on future Ka-band satellites that cannot be mitigated in the near and medium term. In addition, grant by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of licenses for airborne Ka terminals and antennas may well take years, especially given the need to consider other, non-geostationary, satellites, which are already in the Ka band. In sharp contrast, Ku band is available today, offers redundancy in the event of failures and is approved by the FCC and worldwide.

In conclusion, Ku-band satellites have been and will continue to be, for several years, the lowest risk and most dependable solution for delivering cost-effective, consistent broadband services to airlines. Row 44 will continue to focus on the issues that are meaningful to airlines, including development of migration paths to evolving technologies, and pushing for those technologies to be delivered with the same reliability and cost-structure that our airline partners desire. Only then will these technologies be ready to address the commercial airline connectivity market.

About the Author
John Guidon is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Row 44. Mr. Guidon is an engineer and serial entrepreneur living in Southern California. Row 44 is the leading satellite based in-flight WiFi and device-based entertainment provider for commercial airlines.

– Funding to Support Expansion of Row 44’s Rapidly Growing Global Infrastructure

Westlake Village, California | June 11, 2012 — Row 44, the leading provider of inflight WiFi and device-based entertainment for airlines around the world, announced today that it has closed a $45 million round of financing. The funding round was led by inflight content expert Advanced Inflight Alliance AG (AIA), and included participation by PAR Capital Management, an investor in all of Row 44’s institutional funding rounds.

“This financing continues to strengthen Row 44’s financial position, and provides us with resources to broaden our offering, expand our infrastructure and invest in the types of programs our customers will find valuable,” said John LaValle, Row 44’s CEO. “As the world’s foremost expert in inflight content, AIA has made a key investment in Row 44, and in our ability to grow and evolve the passenger experience with inflight entertainment.”

“Row 44 has created a new standard in the inflight connectivity space,” said Louis Bélanger-Martin, CEO of Advanced Inflight Alliance AG. “We believe Row 44 has built the industry’s most powerful inflight WiFi solution for passenger devices. Our investment is an important strategic step for AIA to provide a connected environment complementary to the market-leading inflight entertainment content we provide to airlines across the world.”

Row 44 will use a portion of the investment capital to expand its global infrastructure to support new European and Trans-Asia airline customers, including the recently announced partnerships with Transaero, Russia’s first private airline and Icelandair.

Added LaValle “This industry is still in its infancy, and at Row 44 we see unlimited potential for the ways travelers can be productive and entertained while flying. We look forward to continuing to lead the evolution and work with our airline customers to provide the most advanced in-flight entertainment experience available.”

– Icelandair to be First North Atlantic Airline to Operate Wi-Fi Fleet Wide

Reykjavik, Iceland & Westlake Village, California | May 31, 2012 —
Row 44, the leading provider of inflight WiFi and device-based entertainment content for airlines around the world, announced today that it has partnered with Icelandair, the leading carrier of Iceland serving Europe, the United States and Canada, to enhance their passengers’ travel experience. Row 44 will equip Icelandair’s fleet with high-speed WiFi, starting this year. Upon rollout, Icelandair will be the first North Atlantic airline to operate WiFi fleet wide

According to Iceland’s tourism board, there was a 16 percent increase in foreign visitors last year from the year prior. A breathtaking island, Iceland is known for its hot springs, geysers, waterfalls and volcanoes, and with a growing economy and continued increase in tourism, Icelandair desired to provide its passengers with a travel experience as inspiring as their destination. In partnering with Row 44, Icelandair enhances the exceptional atmosphere and flight experience that it strives to deliver to customers.

“Icelandair has built a system of outstanding flight services between Iceland and other countries, and Row 44 now allows us to continue to build on that system, and our present inflight entertainment system, by equipping our flights with an outstanding passenger experience inside the cabin,” said Birkir Hólm Guðnason, Icelandair CEO. “Row 44 was the only provider to offer the breadth and depth of services we favored that will allow our customers to get connected and be entertained, and to do so in a way that we believe they desire – straight to their own devices.”

With Row 44’s inflight WiFi, passengers get connected quickly and reliably. An additional benefit is that it is the only device-based service that operates over land and water, making it a particularly desirable provider for airlines like Icelandair with numerous Transatlantic routes. Among the list of growing services Icelandair customers will enjoy on their own WiFi-enabled devices:

· High-speed Internet connectivity

· Shop in-flight specials

· Research and book local services at their destination

“Icelandair has earned a stellar reputation as an innovative, passenger-focused airline that is committed to providing safe and efficient air travel, and unique services,” said John LaValle, Row 44’s CEO. “We look forward to enriching these services and continuing to delight their customers, a top priority for both Icelandair and Row 44.”

Icelandair and Row 44 expect to begin fleet installation in the fourth quarter of 2012.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, California and HIGHVELD PARK, South Africa | May 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Row 44, Inc., provider of the world’s leading In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Ecosystem, and its African partner, Wireless G, in association with Mango and Vodacom, launched G-Connect In-Flight Wi-Fi on Africa’s first broadband Internet-enabled flight. The service provides Mango’s passengers with full Internet connectivity through their personal WiFi-enabled devices. Services include email, web browsing, access to all social networks, and a web-based air-to-ground SMS service.

On the launch, Wednesday evening at Lanseria Airport near Johannesburg, Wireless G and its South African partners made the following statements:

“The G-Connect In-Flight Wi-Fi service is offered in a totally new, integrated model which is a first of its kind in the world and which can be regarded as a new carrier-grade telecommunications access medium,” said Wireless G CEO, Carel van der Merwe. “Social networks and the tsunami of next generation Wi-Fi enabled devices and the related converged ecosystems makes in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity more relevant. Moreover, the specific way in which it is offered as an integrated telecommunications Internet access medium, is essential for our future convergence plans,” said van der Merwe.

Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout said that the introduction of on-board connectivity fulfils the airline’s on-going ideal of innovation in aviation and its desire for product differentiation. “In a highly competitive market where everything tastes like chicken, it’s important to taste like beef. Innovation is a cornerstone of our business along with sustained affordable fares that are relative to the prevailing market.”

Vodacom provides the satellite infrastructure to ensure that the G-Connect In-Flight Wi-Fi service will keep people connected even as they travel at over 800km/h. “This takes the notion of a mobile device to a whole new level – literally. We know how much customers value being connected; in fact 88% of people surveyed said they’d like to have broadband access when they fly. Vodacom prides itself on having the widest network coverage and thanks to our satellite technology the sky is no-longer the limit,” said Sipho Maseko, CEO of Vodacom.

“Row 44 congratulates Wireless G and its partners, Mango and Vodacom, on this impressive accomplishment in being the first partnership to deliver a true in-flight broadband experience to South Africa, one of the world’s most important commercial and cultural centers,” said Row 44’s CEO, John LaValle. “We are proud to be part of this partnership and look forward to supporting continued innovation with this team.”

The roll-out of the G-Connect In-Flight Wi-Fi service is underway and Mango’s entire fleet will be outfitted by the end of the year.

New Entertainment Solution Offers World-Class Content: Movies, TV, Exclusive Sports, Games and Bookable Destination Services from Smart Phones, Tablets, and Laptops – Even on Airlines Not Equipped with Connectivity

Westlake Village, CA | March 28, 2012 -– Row 44, Inc., provider of the world’s leading In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Platform, today announced a new wireless video-on-demand (VoD) service that allows any commercial airline in the world – regardless of whether or not its planes are broadband-equipped – to offer passengers an extensive library of on-demand movies, television episodes, and bookable destination services via passengers’ Wi-Fi enabled devices. The service is a subset of Row 44’s In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Platform that can later be scaled up – quickly and cost-effectively – to include connectivity and other broadband services.

This new entertainment solution leverages Row 44’s relationships with major Hollywood studios and professional sports leagues to deliver on-demand movies, TV shows and sports content to passengers during their flights.

Airlines can select from Row 44’s extensive library of content – updated frequently via Wi-Fi – to stream wirelessly to passengers’ smart phones, tablets, laptops and other Wi-Fi enabled devices on demand. Airlines can also use Row 44’s VoD service to offer real-time inventory for bookable destination services – music concerts, theatre tickets, sporting events, ground transportation, etc. – in more than 140 cities around the world.

Row 44 designed this standalone Wi-Fi entertainment service, independent of thecompany’s In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Platform, to give airlines a low-cost opportunity to deliver personalized in-flight entertainment that leverages passengers’ own Wi-Fi devices. Because the solution comprises several components in Row 44’s broadband solution, airlines can install this lower-cost Wi-Fi offering and inexpensively scale up to Row 44’s full-scale Broadband Entertainment Platform at any time.

“Row 44’s wireless video-on-demand opens up an innovative platform for any airline to generate incremental revenue while delighting their customers,” said Travis Christ, Chief Sales Officer for Row 44. “Uncoupling Row 44’s video-on-demand solution from our In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Platform means that even an airline not yet ready to commit to broadband connectivity can still offer passengers a personalized in-flight entertainment experience, delivered right to their own Wi-Fi devices. This standalone VoD offering will also enable an airline to scale up quickly and cost-effectively to full broadband connectivity when they are ready.”

He added: “Leveraging their passengers’ own smart phones and laptops also means airlines can offer this entertainment servicewithout having to incur the cost, weight and installation time of adding legacy in-flight entertainment hardware such as seatback screens. This service represents a win-win for airlines and their customers.”

Former President of Travelport Americas Division and US Airways’ VP of Sales, Marketing and Distribution Will Serve as Row 44’s Chief Sales and Airline Business Development Officer

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Row 44, Inc., provider of the world’s leading in-flight broadband entertainment platform, announced today that airline and travel-industry executive Travis Christ has joined the company as Chief Sales and Airline Business Development Officer.

Christ joins Row 44 from Travelport, the multibillion-dollar global distribution system firm that provides transaction-processing and business-intelligence solutions to airlines, travel agencies and other travel service providers in 160 countries. Christ served as Travelport’s Americas division president, where he led and grew the company’s global distribution system business throughout the United States, Canada, and Central and South America.

Prior to his role at Travelport, Christ served as Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Distribution for US Airways – where he was responsible for business development, corporate and agency sales, multi-channel product distribution, marketing, the usairways.com website, and President of US Airways Vacations.

Throughout his 13-year tenure with US Airways (including 10 years at America West, which US Airways acquired in 2005), Christ held key roles across many facets of the airline, including consumer marketing and loyalty, sales analysis, capacity planning, and profitability optimization.

“Travis’s broad set of skills and worldwide travel-industry relationships bring a valuable new component to Row 44’s global sales and airline business development,” said CEO John Guidon. “We are thrilled to have such a talented and respected industry leader join our team.”
“Very few executives in the travel industry have the combination of industry knowledge, strategic mindset, understanding of the customer and deep set of key relationships that Travis brings to Row 44,” said Howard Lefkowitz, Row 44’s Chief Commercial Officer. “I have had a working relationship with Travis for a decade, and I cannot imagine a more valuable strategic addition to Row 44’s executive team.”
Christ will be responsible for all of Row 44’s sales and airline business development globally

Westlake Village, CA (September 8, 2010)—In-flight broadband provider Row 44 announced today the company closed its Series B funding round, raising $37 million in new equity investment.

“This investment gives Row 44 the operating capital to continue executing on our North American launch with the Southwest Airlines fleet and our aggressive network build-out, enabling us to support airline customers across the globe,” said CEO John Guidon. “In this difficult funding environment, Row 44 is pleased our current and new investors recognize both Row 44’s commitment to efficient use of capital as well as the tremendous opportunity our in-flight broadband system represents for airlines – and their shareholders – around the world.”

Row 44’s latest funding includes participation by two new institutional investors along with PAR Capital Management, who previously led Row 44’s $21 million Series A investment round. Additional investment came from Larry Kellner, president of Emerald Creek Group; Mr. Kellner was previously the chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines.

Thousand Oaks, CA (March 23, 2010) – TECOM Industries, Inc. today announced that its customer, Row 44 (Westlake Village, CA), a provider of airborne broadband connectivity, will install TECOM Industries’ KuStream™ 1000 antenna system on Southwest Airlines’ commercial fleet. In January 2010, Southwest Airlines announced plans to equip more than 500 aircraft with Row 44’s In-flight Broadband Connectivity System.

The KuStream 1000 antenna system enables the Row 44 In-flight Broadband Connectivity System to provide passengers with live entertainment and communication, including high data rate applications such as full Internet access, VoIP services, cell phone roaming (via pico-cells in markets with appropriate regulation) and live television using IPTV. The KuStream 1000 is a joint development effort of TECOM Industries and QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH of Germany. QEST contributed core RF components such as the antenna aperture and the polarization control module, with TECOM contributing systems engineering, antenna positioning and control subsystems, product qualification, certification and after-sale support.

Arsen Melconian, President of TECOM, said: “This selection by Row 44 validates our technical approach and is an acknowledgement of the hard work accomplished by the development team, our partner QEST, and all the major vendors. I am extremely pleased about this installation and this is a major event for TECOM.”

“After careful evaluation, Row 44 selected the TECOM KuStream antenna system,” said John Guidon, CEO of Row 44. “We are pleased to have them as our supplier for the Southwest Airlines program.”

The KuStream 1000 has received FCC licensing for airborne transmit and receive. TECOM has completed the requirements for environmental qualification of the KuStream 1000 and has applied for FAA Parts Manufacture Approval.

Westlake Village, CA (March 9, 2010)—Row 44, Inc., the leading provider of satellite-based in-flight Wi-Fi, announced today that Larry Kellner, former Chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines, has joined the company’s Board of Directors.

“It would be difficult to find a more respected, trusted and knowledgeable executive in the airline industry than Larry Kellner,” said John Guidon, Row 44’s CEO. “We are delighted to welcome him to our Board.”

During Kellner’s 15-year tenure at Continental he was first CFO, then President and ultimately CEO for his final five years at the airline. Kellner also sits on the board of Marriott International.

“Row 44’s broadband solution is the most robust and forward-looking of its kind I’ve seen,” Kellner said. “My experience tells me this company is on its way to becoming a major global provider of in-flight broadband, and I’m excited about being a part of that success.”

Our lead story is a reminder to all you IFE aficionados to sign-up for the WAEA Technical Committee Meeting & Single Focus Workshop (March 24 – 25, 2010) in Southern California. Day One features the WAEA Technology Committee’s Digital Content Management Working Group (DCMWG) Meeting, there will be three panels. The first will consider the proposed changes/additions made in the MPEG-4 settings covered by WAEA 0403. A panel of industry experts including hardware providers, content providers, and representatives from the post-production community will participate. The second panel will consider the possibility of adding an HD specification to WAEA 0403. A demonstration of 1080p content on 1080p native screens, versus 720p content on 720p natives screens, at different screen sizes is planned. The third panel will consider the possibility of adding a 3D specification to 0403 or as a separate document. Representatives of MPEG Industry Forum (MPEGIF) with whom WAEA has a reciprocal relationship are expected to attend and participate in the 3D discussion. Day Two is a WAEA Single-Focus Workshop (re “Connectivity Update”) sponsored in part by EMS. There is a minimal fee of $75 for vendors to attend Day 2. WAEA TC & Single Focus Workshop Information.

Perhaps the biggest news this week is from Alaska Airlines…trialed Row 44 Internet hardware on 4 aircraft and then went with AirCell’s Gogo service. Equipment/installation cost may be part of the equation but we suspect Alaska’s new management may be in there somewhere. We contacted Row 44 and CEO John Guidon told IFExpress: “We are disappointed we could not work out a mutually agreeable business relationship. But based on information we learned during their successful passenger trial, we know passengers were extremely satisfied with our service, including coverage into Canada and the far reaches of the airline’s namesake State.”– Row 44 CEO John Guidon. Check out this story in the Seattle Times for additional info and see the Aircell press release in this issue of IFExpress.

OK, we stole this from the Aircraft Interiors crowd but so did they! Actually, it is a good story on Asian Aviation…plus, you can find out what this years’ AIX show in Hamburg is all about! On the AIX website here’s what Murdo Morrison’s (Editor Flight Int’l) says about Asian Aviation: “Emerging more confidently from the global recession than other regions, the Asian aviation market is forging ahead and appears to have coped better than expected with the recent economic down turn. Could this herald a trend for airlines operating in the Asian arena to be at the forefront of the latest look in interiors as operators gear up to meet the growing demand? Seen for many years by some experts, as the great hope for the civil aircraft and aerospace industry it does seem that the Asian aviation market is starting to fulfill these predictions. Statistics at the start of 2010 show Asian aviation’s freight and passenger growth to be looking quite healthy.” With 98% of the stands sold to date, you had better hurry if you want to own your exclusive display. Here is a link to the AIX floor plan. as well as a link to Murdo Morrison’s video on Asian Aviation.

An aviation reprobate and an old friend, Robert (Bob) Bogash, sent us a link to his website outlining his experiences with, and knowledge of the lore of, the U-2 spy plane. We know, it has absolutely nothing to do with in-flight entertainment but it is really interesting! If you have an interest in aviation technology and want to learn some Skunk-Works stuff and see incredible aviation history photography – this link is for you!

Water Cooler Rumor One: An aircraft display vendor is about to roll out an amazing 65”, aviation grade (DO-160), Large Screen Monitor!

Water Cooler Rumor Two: A new Alaska digEcor Contract was signed at the end of 2009 with XT players shipped to Alaska. IFExpress has the scoop on a new agreement for about 1,000 more players for Alaska that will handle shopping, advertising, etc. just like the new Hawaiian contract. We also hear the first of the L7 “Lafeel built players” will be shipped at the end of March to a customer in Europe. This is the early model that was exhibited at the WAEA in Palm Springs. It will exceed the battery life of even the XLP – it’s battery life will now be 20 plus hours. We expect the new device to sport solid-state memory soon with chips instead of a hard drive and it could reach 25 hours of battery life. Stay Tuned on this one.

Westlake Village, CA (September 16, 2009)—Row 44 Inc., a provider of satellite-based in-flight Wi-Fi for commercial aircraft, has been named a runner-up (along with NASA) in the wireless category of the 2009 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards.

The Journal noted that they received nearly 500 nominations for the award’s various technology-innovation categories, and the judges selected only about 7% for awards.

“We’re honored to have our in-flight connectivity solution recognized as one of the year’s best innovations by one of the world’s leading business publications,” said Row 44 co-founder and president Gregg Fialcowitz.

The full list of winners is available on the Journal’s website at http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/Innovation-Awards-Winners.pdf.

Southwest Airlines announced in August that it plans to outfit its entire fleet of more than 540 planes with Row 44’s in-flight broadband service. That fleet-wide installation is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2010.

About Row 44
Founded in 2004, Row 44, Inc. is the world’s leading broadband Mobile Service Provider to commercial aviation. The company’s Wi-Fi hotspots in the sky offer the fastest broadband speeds to the plane. Row 44’s broadband solution is supported by the global infrastructure of Hughes, which has shipped more than 1.9 million broadband satellite terminals to customers in over 100 countries.