PANASONIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


INMARSAT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


COLLINS AEROSPACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


THALES

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

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


BOEING

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commercial Market Outlook

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

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

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

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

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

OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC & THINKOM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BLUEBOX WOW & QANTAS

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

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

BOEING

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Boeing News:

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

Morgan Stanley Research: United Airlines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MEGACONSTELLATIONS & SATELLITE FALLOUT

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


BOEING

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

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

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

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

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


OTHER NEWS

Airline and business aviation customers to reap benefits from latest GX Aviation and Jet ConneX enhancements, following new contract for extra coverage and capacity in the Arctic

London | July 3, 2019–Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, today announced a contract to introduce two new payloads for its Global Xpress (GX) network in partnership with Space Norway and its subsidiary Space Norway HEOSAT, supporting the continued fast-paced development of its award-winning GX Aviation and Jet ConneX inflight connectivity solutions.

The new payloads, GX10A & 10B, will provide Inmarsat’s airline and business aviation customers with even more capacity to meet rapidly growing demand for seamless, reliable, high-speed mobile inflight broadband. In addition, the satellites will be fully compatible with current and future terminals, ensuring that both existing and new customers will reap the benefits from this latest extension to the network.

Scheduled to launch in 2022, GX10A & 10B will be the first satellites in the GX network to be placed into Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), showcasing Inmarsat’s highly innovative and flexible approach to providing customers with gold-standard connectivity.

The satellites are designed to deliver enhanced capacity for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic. They will be operated by Space Norway’s Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ABSM) team and seamlessly integrate into the GX network.

The contract announcement is another significant milestone in the continued evolution of GX and comes less than a month after Inmarsat’s decision to invest in three new transformational satellites (GX7, 8 & 9) to be built by Airbus Defence & Space. These will further increase network flexibility and efficiency through multi-beam, high-throughput capacity that can be directed to service areas of high demand, and fully dialed up and down depending on customer needs in the region.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Over the past 40 years, Inmarsat has pioneered the latest in cutting-edge satellite innovation, a tradition we are proud to continue with the long-term development of our GX network. In the past month alone, we have announced five significant new payloads, raising the bar for industry investment and marking an unprecedented step-change in inflight mobile broadband capabilities for airlines and business aviation.

“We have now committed to a total of eight more payloads that will join the GX network’s four existing satellites starting from later this year. However, GX is much more than just a satellite network, it’s a complete end-to-end solution and we have been equally ambitious in developing our ground stations, hardware, software and cybersecurity framework. This infrastructure, built specifically for robust and secure mobility, is unique to Inmarsat and will position us as an innovator putting our customer needs at the heart of our business decisions.”

The GX network powers Inmarsat’s award-winning GX Aviation, which boasts world-leading airline customers such as Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia, Norwegian, Avianca, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, Citilink, Garuda and Philippine Airlines. The network also powers Inmarsat’s highly successful Jet ConneX inflight broadband solution, which has already been installed on more than 500 business aviation aircraft across the world.

New applications to expand safety and operations benefits to airlines worldwide

United Kingdom | November 8, 2017–Inmarsat (ISAT:L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, today launched the Certified Application Provider Programme to certify third party commercial applications for use on its SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) platform.

The new programme is open to established application providers and developers. It involves a two-step certification process to test and optimise applications compatible with SB-S, Inmarsat’s next generation communications platform for the aircraft flight deck.

SB-S is the first satcom platform designed to meet the needs of the modern flight deck by providing global, high-speed and secure IP broadband connectivity to the cockpits of the world’s airlines, with a growing range of applications that improve safety and operational efficiency.

These include real-time graphical weather updates, flight optimisation and crew workload reduction applications. Providers of applications certified by the programme will benefit from an expanded eco-system of expertise, while also gaining access to new revenue streams and joint business opportunities. Inmarsat will also provide test environments and software development kits for optimised data transmission. Certified applications will, in turn, be promoted in Inmarsat’s ‘solutions labs’, increasing awareness of the solutions amongst its customers.

Mary McMillan, Vice President of Safety and Operational Services at Inmarsat Aviation, said: “SwiftBroadband-Safety sets a new standard for flight deck communications, ensuring the aviation industry can take full advantage of IP connectivity in the air, today and in the future. Our new aviation CAP Programme not only opens up a wealth of opportunity for existing applications providers and developers to further their innovative solutions, it means we can offer the heightened safety and streamlined operations applications airlines demand.”

Currently in service with Hawaiian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines and United Airlines, SB-S has been selected by Airbus for its popular A320 and A330 fleets. The CAP Programme gives SB-S customers access to the latest applications and cutting-edge technologies and is part of a wider Inmarsat initiative to bring third party applications across its network.

France | June 26, 2017–SITAONAIR has hailed the successful launch of Iridium’s second set of Iridium NEXT constellation satellites as another step closer to achieving minute-by-minute, 100% global aircraft flight-tracking.

In partnership with Aireon and FlightAware, SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker will deliver enhanced capabilities to airline customers from 2018. Aireon’s space-based automatic dependent surveillance broadcast data (ADS-B) will then fill any gaps in current flight-tracking coverage globally – and is expected to be transmitted through the complete Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, via FlightAware.

Paul Gibson, Portfolio Director, AIRCOM®, at SITAONAIR, says: “This is an exciting moment for SITAONAIR as the second set of satellites start their journey to enabling us to deliver 100% global, real-time flight-tracking to the air transport industry. We are looking forward to seeing the project progress and being able to demonstrate its value to airlines.

“The beauty of adding space-based ADS-B data to our current AIRCOM® FlightTracker is that it will integrate seamlessly into the existing interface, while increasing tracking coverage up to 100%. In short, the airlines who adopt our space-based flight-tracking will have the tools to see the precise position, speed and altitude of all airborne fleet  any time, anywhere  and be immediately alerted if any aircraft veers from its flight plan, even if that route is over ocean or the Poles.

“With real-time alerts generated at least once a minute, airlines with enhanced FlightTracker will be way ahead of the ICAO’s best practice one-minute mandate – truly consolidating their commitment to safe travel.”

What is AIRCOM® FlightTracker?

FlightTracker’s capabilities include:

  • Providing airline operations teams with an application that aggregates the best available inflight position data from multiple sources on a single aircraft position display
  • Issuing alerts to flight operations of any route deviation. Staff can also clearly see if it has been agreed between an aircraft and ATC
  • Automated alerting for large fleets, so if an aircraft doesn’t report its position, deviates from the flight plan or enters a defined geographic area, FlightTracker will create an alert and automatically start a sequence of actions where needed
  • Being aircraft agnostic, whether a fleet has either ACARS or ADS-B OUT capabilities
  • Allowing operations teams to view the flight track of each flight with frequent and accurate positions from our fused data feed
  • Having the capability to be set up to deliver forecast weather data with flight plans, to improve decision-making.

Paul continues: “The SITAONAIR Montreal Development Team has already determined how the new space-based ADS-B data should be integrated and presented within FlightTracker. The display uses specific color-coding to identify different data sources, and, for us, it is a case of drawing in this data and giving space-based ADS-B its own distinct place in this set.”

The second payload of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, hosting Aireon’s space-based ADS-B system, launched from SpaceX’s California-based launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base on a Falcon 9 rocket. The first batch of 10 satellites, hosting the space-based automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) system, was launched by SpaceX on 14 January 2017.

For more information and to discover the full SITAONAIR connected aircraft portfolio, visit www.sitaonair.aero

  • Inmarsat Aviation’s high speed broadband a “world-class” solution for one the world’s leading carriers

New Zealand and the United Kingdom | December 7, 2016– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, today announced that it has signed a contract with Air New Zealand to provide Global Xpress (GX) connectivity across the airline’s long-haul and short-haul fleets. GX for Aviation, the world’s first globally available high-speed broadband network designed for mobility, will be deployed by Air New Zealand to deliver a reliable, seamless broadband in-flight Wi-Fi experience across the world.

“We’re very excited about working with Air New Zealand. They’re an innovative organisation and have taken a fresh approach to finding the right connectivity partner,” says Inmarsat Aviation president Leo Mondale.
“GX for Aviation is the only in-flight broadband solution that is fast, reliable and truly consistent, with seamless coverage across the world provided by a single operator. Our focus is on ensuring customers enjoy a frictionless inflight broadband experience,” continued Leo Mondale.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Digital Officer, Avi Golan, said “We wanted a world-class solution that would meet the high expectations of our customers, offering both a consistent and reliable service. We then spent time testing the GX live experience on Honeywell’s B757 test aircraft, as part of Inmarsat Aviation’s global test tour. We‘ve been monitoring the developments in inflight connectivity for some time and with GX, we believe we will be able to offer broadband on-board in innovative ways that will further set Air New Zealand apart as one of the world’s leading airlines.”

For the first time, GX for Aviation connectivity will be integrated with Air New Zealand’s Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system provided by Panasonic. This was specifically requested by Air New Zealand and all parties have embraced the opportunity to come together to meet their needs.

GX for Aviation is the ideal solution for Air New Zealand. The global nature of the GX network means that Air New Zealand’s ultra-long-haul routes, across the Pacific and on to the United Kingdom are covered, whilst the ability to layer-in capacity over Air New Zealand’s key regional destination hubs, such as the East Coast of Australia, will ensure that the customer experience will be of consistently high quality.

The first GX-equipped aircraft are expected to begin proving flights in the second half of 2017, with services progressively available on Tasman, Pacific and long-haul fleets from the end of next year. It is anticipated that domestic routes will be added to the connected fleet from 2018.

Air New Zealand is joining a growing fleet of airline customers who have chosen GX, including Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

Museum of Flight at Boeing Field:

I recently had a meeting at the Seattle Museum of Flight on Boeing Field. While my visit was business… I left the meeting… and lost my sense of time and history – because once you see an old aircraft that fought in a war, or provided the transportation for a historical event, or was the first of it’s kind, you just get lost… lost in time, and possibly lost in space. Interestingly, you become part of the event that the person, plane or spacecraft was famous for… or you become immersed in the art background and signage describing the history and achievement of the craft. One visitor told us that he and his kids were fascinated by the description and experiences of the museum’s individual plane tour guides, who in many cases had flown that aircraft. It is also easy to get wrapped-up in the in mood lighting surrounding the planes in the halls, especially in the periods like those in the WW1 Hall and WW2 Halls. While it has been a long time, as a child, I would have given anything to see what I saw last week at the Museum of Flight. One suggestion, however, don’t let your children say the same thing.

OK, if you want a fast tour of the Museum here it goes: Museum Galleries, Airpark, Great Gallery, Lear Gallery, Personal Courage Wing, Red Barn, & Space Gallery. That’s 7 galleries, many halls, 29 exhibits + a museum store, 140 real aircraft, 12 spacecraft, pre-1900s to 2010s types, from 73 manufacturers… and some 40 of 140 shown planes in the air and on the ground in the Great Gallery. Founded in 1965, the Museum of flight has been growing since it’s inception, but we think the real hero was T. Wilson… he made “The” museum building on Boeing Field happen.

As a bit of museum background, here is what the website says:
“Museum of Flight is devoted to the preservation and sharing of aviation and aerospace history and technology.
Founded as the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation in 1965 by a group of local Boeing engineers and aviation enthusiasts, the Museum’s collection was established out of a desire by the group to preserve artifacts and materials representing the entire evolution of flight and to prevent them from being lost, destroyed and forgotten with time. Since 1965, The Museum of Flight’s collection has come to be regarded as one of the best air and space museum collections in the world. The Museum’s collection contains over 150 aircraft, over 25,000 small objects (classified as anything smaller than an aircraft), over 90,000 books and periodicals, over 15,000 aircraft manuals and technical reports and nearly 5,000 cubic feet of archival materials including an estimated four million images. As a Smithsonian Affiliate institution and an accredited American Alliance of Museums institution, we continuously endeavor to meet their standards and best practices in all aspects of our operations, especially in regards to caring for and preserving our collection.”

The Pavilion (across the street form the main Museum building) is incredibly large and hosts an many big planes in a covered outdoor building. One writer said it is larger than two football fields! The new “hanger” effectively doubles the museum foot print, in fact it adds 3 acres of aviation history floor space! It is home for some 19 iconic planes like the world’s first Boeing 747 Jumbo, the 787 Dreamliner, the British Airways Concorde (SST – the last to fly in revenue service), B-17, B29, and B-47 bombers. The site has a convenient “air” bridge to get you there. This inclined walkway is defiantly a better way to reach the Pavilion, not to mention, listening to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” playing on the loudspeakers there topped the experience. As with all airplanes, pictures never do them justice but here are a few shots we took that should give you a better idea of the flight scene there are here.

You can fly in on your own plane or in a commercial airline to Boeing Field or Sea-Tac, and if you have a child that likes aviation, you MUST take her or him to see the real planes. You might ask why is this trip worth the effort? The answer is simple: because they can climb in and touch and feel what aviation is all about… and it is about more than planes. It is about flying, it’s about education, and it’s about history… but it is also about fun!


Panasonic:

OmniAccess, a leading supplier of integrated communications solutions to super yachts and cruise-ships, and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), today unveiled a tailored XTS “extremely high throughput” satellite network for multiple mobility markets. Details on this new communications service are available to key customers that visit the OmniAccess booth at the Monaco Yacht Show. OmniAccess and Panasonic began collaborating on XTS high-throughput satellite designs in September 2015 in order to bring unprecedented levels of capacity and performance to OmniAcess’ existing Super yacht and cruise customers. Through this agreement OmniAccess has secured access to Panasonic’s existing HTS capacity, currently contracted capacity and the future XTS satellite network, bringing industry-leading capacity and performance to its yachting and cruise ship markets. Leveraging Panasonic’s existing global high-speed satellite network, OmniAccess is already providing industry-leading connection speeds of over 200 Mbps to select individual customers.

Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We announced our partnership with OmniAccess at the Monaco Yacht Show last year, and since then, we’ve been able to develop solutions that have improved our operational efficiencies and also delivered higher performance and better service to OmniAccess’ super yacht customers. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with OmniAccess to establish a new standard in high-bandwidth services for the mobility market.”

(Editor’s Note: Normally we wouldn’t place a news release that predominately refers to maritime in our publication. However, in this instance we believe it to have relevance as the relationship between Panasonic Avionics and OmniAccess refers to “multiple mobility markets”,  “XTS high-throughput satellite” and “Leveraging Panasonic’s existing global high-speed satellite network”. After all, a revenue stream is a revenue stream whether it is initiated from an ocean or the air! And we wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these relationships in our industry.)


IFPL:

APEX 2016 will see the very latest in connectivity, payment and power solutions from IFEC specialists IFPL, on Booth 1745 at the Singapore based show.

IFPL leads the way when it comes to deploying contactless payment systems NFC (Near Field Communication) on-board aircraft, with global OEM’s and airlines using this technology for seat back in-flight retail and customer personalization. APEX 2016 will see IFPL demonstrate its new NFC ‘Pin-On-Screen’ solution that enables high value off line transactions by removing the current low value payment barrier. This step change will allow airlines to expand and sell high value items thus increasing ancillary revenues.

With portable and wearable tech now widespread, visitors to APEX can also see IFPL’s USB- C and USB-A units, both providing hi-speed data and power.

As always, innovation from IFPL will be on display with the company demonstrating its new integrated seat arm concept. This will reflect its ability to customize peripherals to support the design language, aesthetics and ergonomics required for true IFE and seat integration.

IFPL will be demonstrating their ‘Charge-2-Charge’ solution for both inductive and USB charging – this will enable airlines to generate additional revenue from passengers wishing to charge their portable devices during flights. Demonstrations will also be available for their popular 110V A/C power outlet and its combination 110V and USB-A & C.

Solving the problem of broken headphone sockets are IFPL’s MagSignal Audio units. Cost neutral when compared with traditional sockets, MagSignal Technology allows the headset cable to be pulled and detached from any angle without detriment; reducing customer induced damage (CID) and maintenance disruption to aircraft.

As always IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirement that visitors to APEX 2016 in Singapore may have.


Gogo Partnering:

Gogo recently announced that it will partner with Air France-KLM to connect its existing long-haul fleet representing 124 aircraft, with an airline option to install the technology on additional aircraft in the future. The fleet of aircraft receiving Gogo’s 2Ku technology will include numerous aircraft types, including the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330s. “We are delighted to bring Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology to one of the largest airlines in the world and two of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “2Ku delivers a ground-like performance to aircraft flying around the world today, including the ability to stream video. One of the many benefits of 2Ku is that it’s built on an open architecture and can leverage new technology advancements in the future, which means the technology will get even better over time and will provide passengers with a superior connectivity experience now and in the future.” The first aircraft is expected to be in service end of next year, with the bulk of the installations taking place during 2018-2019.

Gogo Next-Gen:
The company also announced that it is developing its next generation ground-based technology to better serve the connectivity needs of business and commercial aviation in North America. This technology will offer a ground-like performance, including the ability to stream videos, for business aviation aircraft, commercial regional jets and select narrow-body aircraft operating within the United States and Canada. The new network will use unlicensed spectrum, a proprietary modem and a new beam-forming antenna to produce peak network speeds of more than 100 Mbps. This next generation ground-based network for the aero market will utilize LTE technology and leverage Gogo’s existing first generation North American network and infrastructure of more than 250 towers.

“Leveraging our first generation network is key to making this next generation network highly reliable and economical to deploy,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s CTO. “Gogo’s next generation network will also be backward-compatible with Gogo’s first generation network, which means an aircraft will be able to seamlessly switch between Gogo’s fthe two networks networks similar to how a cell phone on the ground connects to the fastest available network.”

The benefits of this new network for commercial aircraft operating within the United States and Canada include: low equipment cost and weight, overnight installation, and low drag on the aircraft due to the small size of the antennas. It also has big advantages in terms of latency compared to satellite solutions.

Aircraft outfitted with one of Gogo’s earlier generation air-to-ground technologies will simply need to be outfitted with a new modem and blade antenna to take advantage of the new service.

The service is expected to be available in 2018. Great article this morning. Separately, we have got big news this morning from Gogo as we announce our next generation ground network to support IFC in North America. We now have upgrade paths to more than 100 Mbps for both our North American ground-based and our global satellite networks. This will enable passengers to do everything they can do on the ground, in-flight. The network will use unlicensed spectrum and will require minimal updates for an aircraft.

(Editor’s Note: You should probably read this as well.)


SmartSky:

SmartSky Networks’ patented SmartSky 4G radio system completed the major milestone of receiving FCC certification, clearing the way for deployment of the ultra-fast SmartSky 4G air-to-ground network later this year, with nationwide service launching in mid-2017. Haynes Griffin, SmartSky Chairman and CEO, stated, “After investing tens of millions of dollars and over five years of research and development effort, SmartSky’s now certified technology has unlocked enough spectrum to be able to offer, for the first time, the reliable use of a sophisticated, custom-designed 4G system that can deliver an office-like internet experience in the air for both business aviation and commercial aviation customers.”FCC certification is the culmination of work to develop and patent protect the multiple bodies of technology that uniquely enable SmartSky to make use of the unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum band, all without causing harmful interference to or receiving interference from the operation of the same band on the ground. Despite the widespread assertion that aviation-related spectrum reuse in the unlicensed band would not be feasible, SmartSky has successfully solved the challenge by implementing new technical methods that are broadly covered by its robust and growing portfolio of 20 granted patents. Additional patents are pending.

Reed Hundt, SmartSky’s Vice Chairman of the Board and former Chairman of the FCC, remarked, “Long ago, the FCC authorized the allocation of large blocks of unlicensed spectrum to foster innovation and encourage competition. Today, we see the amazing results of that prescient regulation, which has resulted in ubiquitous Wi-Fi on the ground. By application of novel technologies using 2.4 GHz unlicensed spectrum, SmartSky’s breakthrough will finally give the aviation industry the superior connectivity now taken for granted terrestrially.”

Roberson and Associates, a highly regarded independent wireless industry consulting firm, investigated the ability of SmartSky’s radio technology to seamlessly coexist with terrestrial Wi-Fi. CEO Dennis Roberson, who is also Chairman of the FCC’s Technical Advisory Council, commented, “SmartSky’s technology solution is transparent to Wi-Fi users on the ground, enabling the air-to-ground sharing of the 2.4 GHz unlicensed band.”

SmartSky’s technology and patent portfolio is not limited to the unlicensed band. Most of the patents apply to any frequency and any waveform in any high speed air-to-ground network. Because these are broad patents, SmartSky enables underlying technical advances to be incorporated into its conceptual solution. “Over time, this will allow SmartSky to keep pace with the latest advances in computing, antennas, radios and networking while still being protected by our foundational patents,” said Griffin.


Rockwell Collins:

Continuing a relationship that has lasted over 70 years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has renewed its Aeronautical Mobile Communications Service (AMCS) agreement with Rockwell Collins. Under the agreement, the company will continue to provide Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications, including position reports, aircraft requests and ATC clearances, between the FAA and aircraft flying in U.S. oceanic airspace.


Uber Transportation in Singapore!

Lastly, here is a Singapore treat from the nice folks at Uber, the transportation app company. It’s easy to use: In the app, choose your ride and set your location. Once you get matched, you’ll see your driver’s picture and vehicle details, at the same time, you can easily track their estimated time of arrival on the map. No phone calls to make, no pick-ups to schedule. With 24/7 availability, request a ride any time of day. Here is how you can get started: Download the Uber app and register for an account. You’ll have the option to input your credit card or opt for cash payment. To enjoy a $15 FREE ride, simply enter the code IFEXPRESS into the Promotions tab! Hurry – the code is valid until 31 October 2016.

The world of in-flight connectivity and entertainment is undergoing a bit of a growth phase as service providers and IFEC vendors improve and consolidate their focus on more entertainment and more planes, and in some cases, more markets. Last year the acquisition of ITC Global (maritime, mining, and energy markets) by Panasonic was the lead-in to today’s recent announcement of a purchase. Now, GEE, an airline content and satcom hardware service provider (over 200 airline customers), announced the acquisition of a $550-million, broad-based content and service provider, Emerging Markets Communication (EMC). EMC is primarily a maritime service provider that has high penetration in that market as well as Cruise ships (158,000 cabins), yachts (7,500 boats), commercial shipping/O&G (130,000 ships), UN & NGO, as well as, telco solutions. We note here that the consolidation of these mobility markets, and the desire to operate across wider and more diverse service segments, shows a collaboration trend in the satcom connectivity market and it underlies the increase in demand for connectivity and entertainment services by people, places and businesses everywhere. As they note, the deal “leverages complimentary products, technologies, and service offerings across air, sea, and land verticals to drive growth!”

Of course, we are really talking about three items here – Content, Connectivity and Mission Critical Service solutions. From a growth point of view, by 2021 the market will be worth some $5.4 B and one source noted to us that “…the key players in the market follow the strategy of acquisition and mergers and are focused towards entering into strategic partnerships with regional players in order to strengthen their position in the market.” It makes sense.

Specifically, in our story GEE is in the middle of this growth segment and is expanding their market now with a maritime focus in the acquisition of EMC, who has a strong market position there. From a global point of view, the acquisition of EMC provides GEE with complete worldwide connectivity that is supported by GEE’s existing Ku coverage as well as that of EMC. In addition, there is some C-Band coverage by EMC in the deal, resulting in an impressive chart.

The folks at GEE have acquired nine companies since its formation some three years ago. This acquisition is by far their biggest to date and will allow GEE to gain a foothold in the maritime market where growth will no doubt be exhibited.

IFExpress asked a few questions of Kevin Trosian, SVP Development & IR, and he told IFExpress:

1. Since you have purchased a “connected” company, does GEE see selling their content to the 8 EMC existing markets (Yachts, Energy, Cruise & Ferries, commercial shipping, mobile networks, government, UN, NGO’s and Global Enterprise)?

Yes, we believe there is a large opportunity for live and streaming content in the maritime and mobility verticals, and GEE’s digital media team has already worked with EMC for many years to jointly provide content to the maritime market. We see this a great opportunity for us to use our strong relationships with studios around the world to expand distribution into these markets.

GEE had previously provided TV and VOD products to EMC, including a number of live television channels, so this is not a new market for us. We have already obtained maritime rights from certain studios and/or distributors and are in the process of acquiring more. Ultimately we believe our combined knowledge of the market and relationships will enable us to leverage our strength in content for the maritime market for further growth of our media platform.

2. Can you tell us how big the existing market is?

The maritime and land-based connectivity and media markets in which we now compete are a multi-billion dollar opportunity. There is an available market of approximately 158,000 cruise cabins, 7,500 yachts and 130,000 ships.

3. Today, what countries have the 20 or so ground stations mentioned by EMC? Does EMC own them?
For this question, please see our Worldwide Infrastructure chart. In addition, through the acquisition we now have operations at 3 teleport facilities, including New Jersey, Hawaii and Germany.

4. This purchase looks like a prefect fit for GEE to grow and provide entertainment to the existing EMC service sections, can someone at GEE comment on that issue?

Please see 1 above.

5. Obviously the market is one reason GEE bought them; however, is there more to the story than that?

Yes, we believe there is a significant number of synergies that can be realized with the integration of the two companies. Through the integration, the company expects to realize synergies of $15 million in 2017, growing to $40 million in 2018 and thereafter. Synergies will primarily result from network efficiencies, including the ability to optimize bandwidth costs through a consolidation of existing network assets, including space segment and ground infrastructure, as well as, better capacity utilization.

6. From a company integration point of view, will EMC function pretty much as they do today? Will their information portfolio be enlarged by GEE’s entertainment content?

Yes, EMC will function in a fairly similar manner, but we will be integrating the companies into a single platform. The EMC team built a great foundation in an adjacent market to GEE’s traditional aviation market. We’re looking to leverage what they have accomplished and continue to build on that, such as by providing more media to the maritime market.

7. We gather that GEE has been looking for more markets for their content, why did they not just provide the content to companies like EMC and not go the distance to purchase one? What is the driving reason here?

There were multiple reasons for the acquisition, and the ability to sell content was only one of them.  We see significant opportunities within the connectivity businesses of both companies, including the ability to improve satellite capacity utilization. Further, by expanding into new markets, we believe our scale will improve efficiencies and the overall customer experience.

8. Will the EMC management and operations function pretty much as they do today or will there be management changes and new ways of doing business?

We’ve announced the new verticals (see below from the Press Release) and the Business Unit leaders.

  • Dave Davis will continue to lead GEE as CEO.
  • Abel Avellan, founder and CEO of EMC, will serve as President and Chief Strategy Officer of GEE.
  • As part of the transaction, ABRY Partners, EMC’s largest shareholder, has a right to nominate a director to GEE’s board.

In conjunction with the transaction close, GEE has established three operational business units.

  • The Media Business Unit delivers films and television shows, live TV, music, games and other content to aviation and maritime customers, including approximately 6,500 aircraft and many cruise ships currently served by GEE. Other products include digital and streaming media offerings such as the Airtime Content-to-Go application and the Entice streaming media system. Wale Adepoju will lead the Media Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Media. Previously, Wale served as Chief Commercial Officer of GEE.
  • The Aviation Business Unit serves commercial airlines and private aviation using GEE’s proprietary Airconnect GlobalTM connectivity platform, which is currently installed on nearly 750 aircraft worldwide. The Business Unit also provides Navaero electronic flight bag (EFB) data interfaces and powered mounting systems, which are in place on nearly 4,000 aircraft today, as well as masFlight operational data analytics services. Joshua Marks, who previously led GEE’s Operations Solutions team, will lead the Aviation Business Unit as Executive Vice President of Aviation.
  • The Maritime and Land Business Unit delivers connectivity and mission critical services to cruise and ferry lines, yachts, commercial shippers and land-based users such as non-governmental organizations and mobile network operators. Through this transaction, GEE has acquired a strong maritime customer base, serving over 1,500 vessels and 100,000 cruise ship cabins. In addition to overseeing certain corporate functions at GEE, Abel Avellan will lead the Maritime and Land Business Unit.

9. What does GEE bring to the party besides entertainment content? Will their airline solutions effect EMC’s products/solutions differently or much the same? If differently, how so?

GEE delivers worldwide connectivity to the aviation market and is the largest content and media provider for the broader mobility market. GEE brings an unparalleled portfolio of products and services tailored to mobility markets, including global connectivity, media content in 47 languages, live television, travel and entertainment apps, user interface platforms and data capture and operations analytics tools. We will also be bringing some of EMC’s proprietary and patented technologies, such as Speednet, to the aviation market.

  • Combined, we bring:
    A global sales force and support organization that reaches all major mobility verticals including aviation, maritime energy and remote locations;
  • A satellite and ground-based network infrastructure that can provide customers connectivity and media across multiple frequency bands anywhere in the world;
  • Proprietary, patented technologies that enhance the connected traveler’s user experience and reduce costs across market verticals;
  • A diversified revenue base with over 400 customers, balanced between media and connectivity with over half of all revenue coming from international markets; and
  • Engineering, technical and managerial resources to effectively drive new product development, program management, product maintenance and field support.

10. How big is EMC and is there a new structure to come?

We haven’t discussed management structure beyond the senior leaders, which can be found in the press release (attached). EMC had approximately 450 employees located worldwide.

Note: Finally, IFExpress talked with many people about the acquisition and there was a great difference of opinion on on the subject and other issues as well. All we can say is keep your eye on a few factors that may (or may not) affect the future of GEE: Southwest Airlines, Ku/Ka Band airline preferences, Universal lawsuit results, marine market entertainment take-up, traveler personal device and entertainment demand. Stay Tuned.

GEE EMC Transaction Presentation

Lastly, we would like to thank Jenelle Benoit of GEE for all the assistance bringing this story to press!


OTHER NEWS:

Rockwell Collins today announced that China Eastern Airlines selected its Iridium® SATCOM aftermarket solution for its fleet of more than 100 Boeing 737 aircraft. Installations are currently in progress. The voice and data communications solution, installed via a Boeing service bulletin for Next-Generation Boeing 737s, will enable reliable long-range global voice communications, flight tracking and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS). The solution is also capable of enabling Future Airspace Navigation System (FANS) for airlines that need it for their operations.

  • Leveraging the higher performance and better economics of Intelsat EpicNG, SkyNet de Colombia and Intelsat will connect close to 600 remote sites
  • Partnership will bring more schools and communities across Colombia online

Luxembourg | March 8, 2016– Nearly 4 billion people remain unconnected in the world. Bridging the digital divide is critical to bolstering a country’s GDP growth and ensuring inclusion from a social, political and economic perspective for any community.

Intelsat (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, announced an agreement with SkyNet de Colombia a subsidiary of Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota ETB to support the Colombian Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications’s Kiosco VIVE DIGITAL Phase III (KDVIII) project, whose sole aim is to bring broadband and internet connectivity to remote communities and schools in rural areas across Colombia.

Under the multi-year agreement, Skynet de Colombia will leverage the high speed performance of Intelsat 29e, the first of Intelsat’s next generation, high throughput Intelsat EpicNG satellites, located at 310° East. Together, Skynet de Colombia and Intelsat will provide broadband and internet connectivity to approximately 600 remote sites, across 250 municipalities. The services delivered to the communities will include internet access as well as programs that promote the use of technologies in the community.

“Intelsat’s high throughput Intelsat EpicNG satellites are bringing unprecedented power, cost savings and accessibility to broadband connectivity to people living in regions where there is a lack of terrestrial infrastructure,” said Rene Otero, CTO, SkyNet de Colombia. ”With greater access to reliable, high quality broadband services, remote communities can receive the same type of advantages and services that are afforded to those that live in the more developed areas of Colombia. We are happy to partner with Intelsat to support the KDVIII initiative and play an integral role in bringing more people and communities on-line throughout Colombia. ”

Intelsat EpicNG’s efficiency delivers more throughput to the user, the backwards compatibility allows customers to use their existing hardware, and the open architecture enables customers to choose the network hardware that best suits their applications. This delivers unprecedented choice, control and consistent levels of service across the platform at a much lower cost of total ownership, enabling fixed and mobile network operators to cost-effectively enhance their networks to meet growing demands from existing customers while also extending the reach of their networks to capture new growth in remote areas.

“The KDVIII project in Colombia is a great example of the role that public and private partnerships can play in ensuring that digital inclusion is available for all citizens, whether they reside in remote communities or urban areas,” said Carmen Gonzalez-Sanfeliu, Intelsat’s Regional Vice President, Latin America and Caribbean. ”The flexibility of Intelsat’s Globalized Network will allow Skynet de Colombia to take full advantage of the power that our next generation Intelsat EpicNG fleet delivers and ensure that SkyNet’s customers receive a seamless broadband experience that continues to be known for its superior quality and reliability.”

  • Gilat’s PAA Combines Latest Technology With Standard Mass-Production Techniques to Enable Cost-Effective Broadband Connectivity Including Aboard Commercial Aircraft and High-Speed Trains

Petah Tikva, Israel | December 14, 2015– Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (NASDAQ:GILT) (TASE:GILT), a worldwide leader in satellite networking technology, satellite mobility solutions and services, announced today that it signed a development agreement with a major aerospace systems integrator to further develop both its Ku-band Electronically-Steered-Array/Phased-Array Antenna (ESA/PAA) and Ka-Band technologies.

“The growing demand for broadband in-flight connectivity over satellite has not yet been met with a high quality and affordable phased-array antenna. This is what Gilat will bring to the market,” said Moshe (Chico) Tamir, Corporate VP and Head of Gilat’s Strategic Initiatives Division.

“Our unique technology, when combined with widely-used mass-production techniques, results in affordable ESA antennas with highly reliable tracking capabilities, built-in amplification and no moving parts. The scalable design of almost any array size allows for the mounting of our ultra-low-profile antennas, on wide- and narrow-body commercial aircraft, regional and business jets, and high-speed trains. The antenna can even be embedded into a vehicle’s roof top.
“Our ESA/PAA technology can also provide affordable satellite connectivity solutions for new markets, such as the Internet of Things (IOT), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and the Connected Car,” Mr. Tamir added.

  • With over 8,000 miles of successful road testing, Kymeta and Intelsat take significant step towards making global, high-speed connectivity for the connected car a reality
  • Completion of the first maritime product prototype provides path to scalable, high quality, low cost mobility solutions and compatibility with fleet of Intelsat satellites.

Redmond, WA and Luxembourg | December 15, 2015– Kymeta Corporation and Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, have successfully completed initial testing of the mobility performance of Kymeta’s flat-panel antennas on Intelsat’s global satellite network for both maritime and automotive applications. Kymeta and Intelsat are the first companies to meet this significant milestone with a flat panel, software-based antenna.

In the automotive portion of the test, the team embedded Kymeta’s flat-panel antenna into the roof of an automobile and over the course of 8,000 miles, proved that the company’s mTenna™ technology was able to automatically acquire and track satellite signals while on the move. The Ku-band antenna was able to both transmit and receive signals with Intelsat satellites. It is designed for Intelsat’s current satellites and its next generation high throughput satellites, Intelsat EpicNG, the first of which is expected to launch on January 27, 2016.

Kymeta has also completed building and testing its first glass-on-glass, thin-film-transistor-based antennas, with receive and transmit on the same aperture. This maritime prototype is the workhorse of Kymeta’s 70cm Ku-band product and are currently being produced on existing liquid-crystal display TV display lines, marking the first step towards mass-volume and low-cost attainability for Kymeta antennas.

“We’re excited about these significant milestones and what they mean for our customers,” said, Dr. Nathan Kundtz, Chief Executive Officer of Kymeta. “In partnership with Intelsat, we’re ushering in a new generation of mobile communications that is lower cost and higher bandwidth.”

Kymeta’s flat panel, software-based antennas simplify the access to Intelsat’s satellite fleet by removing the need for mechanical components and by using software to electronically point, steer and acquire the satellite signal. This allows for both the rapid setup and installation of the hardware, in addition to the improved ability to acquire and track satellite signal. Working together, Kymeta and Intelsat will ensure that mobility customers are able to receive fast, reliable and cost-effective connectivity regardless of location.

“At Intelsat, we are pursuing innovation in both satellite technology and ground systems to enable simpler access to our services,” stated Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer of Intelsat. “Our partnership with Kymeta will help ensure that our customers have much easier and more cost effective access to our fleet to leverage the power and higher performance of our satellites to solve their complex connectivity issues. Together, I look forward to using our collective expertise to expand the addressable markets for satellite technology and provide ubiquitous and fast broadband services to the billions of people and devices that need connectivity.”

  • Third quarter revenue of $580.8 million
  • Third quarter net income attributable to Intelsat S.A. of $78.0 million
  • Net income per diluted common share of $0.66; Adjusted net income per diluted common share of $0.85
  • EBITDA of $452.0 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $458.1 million, or 79 percent of revenue
  • $9.5 billion contracted backlog provides visibility for future revenue and cash flow
  • Estimated in-service dates for Intelsat EpicNG program and other satellites remain unchanged
  • Company provides update on Intelsat EpicNG commitments
  • Intelsat reaffirms its 2015 revenue and Adjusted EBITDA financial outlook

Luxembourg | October 29, 2015– Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I), the world’s leading provider of satellite services, today reported total revenue of $580.8 million and net income attributable to Intelsat S.A. of $78.0 million, or $0.66 per common share on a diluted basis, for the three months ended September 30, 2015. The company reported adjusted net income per diluted common share1 of $0.85 for the three months ended September 30, 2015.

Intelsat S.A. reported EBITDA1, or earnings before net interest, taxes and depreciation and amortization, of $452.0 million, or 78 percent of revenue, and Adjusted EBITDA1 of $458.1 million, or 79 percent of revenue, for the three months ended September 30, 2015.

Intelsat CEO, Stephen Spengler, said, “Intelsat continues to make meaningful progress as we position the company for long term growth, leveraging our new high throughput capacity and introducing new services to address the $3.0 billion of incremental demand for satellite solutions expected over the next five years. The first launch of our next generation fleet is just months away. Since July 1, 2015 Intelsat has signed six additional contracts on the Intelsat EpicNG platform. These contracts span applications including enterprise, fixed and wireless infrastructure, media and mobility. Of the contracts we are disclosing today, one in particular represents a significant commitment by a global provider of broadband services that focuses on markets including the energy, government and cruise industries. This contract is the largest single commitment for broadband infrastructure ever received by Intelsat.

Spengler continued, “Our results are in line with our overall expectations for 2015, with third quarter revenue of $581 million reflecting the near-term trajectories of each of our network services, media and government businesses, and Adjusted EBITDA of $458 million, or 79 percent of revenue, demonstrating our continued financial discipline. As a result, today we are reaffirming our guidance for 2015 revenue, Adjusted EBITDA and capital expenditures.

“As we execute on our operational priorities, our top focus is placing new satellites into service. Our Intelsat 34 satellite, which was launched in August 2015, entered service earlier this month, providing revenue continuity and growth for our media customers in Latin America and building our inventory for mobility applications over the North Atlantic. We have an active campaign to dramatically enhance our inventory next year as we expect to launch two media satellites, two Intelsat EpicNG satellites and an Intelsat EpicNG payload. The schedule for our launch program remains unchanged. As our next generation Intelsat EpicNG satellites begin entering service, inventory will further expand, supporting higher growth applications and service offerings that provide higher performance, better economics and accelerated market entry for our customers. A prime example of these services is IntelsatOne® Flex, which we recently introduced for the mobility sector.”

To read the full version of the earnings release, including detailed financial results, please download the Earnings Release.

To read the new Quarterly Commentary, including business trends, please download the Quarterly Commentary.