This week, IFExpress has a lot of new product/services probably announced as Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg, 4 – 6 April, 2017 approaches. This ‘Big Deal IFEC’ show is the culmination of Passenger Experience Week in Hamburg 3 – 6 April. We will have more on the expo later but let’s return to the topics of this weeks IFExpress:
Inmarsat has announced a key infrastructure milestone for its European Aviation Network (EAN), following the successful test and validation of the EAN Satellite Access Station (SAS). As the first solution in the world to integrate connectivity from a satellite, operated by Inmarsat, and a LTE-based ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom, EAN will provide a true in-flight broadband experience for millions of airlines passengers traveling throughout Europe. The SAS is located in the Greek town of Nemea and operated under an agreement with OTE, the largest telecommunications provider in Greece and member of the Deutsche Telekom Group. Engineers undertook rigorous performance and stability tests to verify the SAS’s capabilities to serve as a reliable and robust gateway between Inmarsat’s S-band satellite and the internet. The SAS consists of a 13-meter antenna that provides feeder links to the satellite, a radio frequency sub-system and a radio access network provided by Inmarsat partner Cobham SATCOM. And if you want to see a video that does a good job of explaining the program, check out the video on youTube
Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL will be showcasing their latest power solutions at AIX 2017 in Hamburg. With new consumer devices adopting USB-C as standard, IFPL has actively engaged its customers on how this technology can be applied to IFEC and how to transition from USB-A. Along with its baseline USB-C outlet, IFPL is currently developing a range of USB–C 3.1 peripherals and solutions. Visitors to stand 2C10, we are told, can see their USB-C outlet and discuss industry adoption of this technology.
In previous shows IFPL demonstrated their high power and data USB-A 2.0 and we covered it IFExpress. These are now in-service along with IFPL’s clever reversible option. Recently, IFPL has worked closely with GORE to develop the new USB-A 3.0 module, that combined IFPL USB 3.0 with GORE Aerospace USB 3.0 cables and provides the ideal solution for delivering high power (2A, 5V DC) and data transfer (up to 5Gbps) as per USB 3.0 requirements. This gives passengers the ability to maximize the benefits of both charging their Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) and interfacing with the Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system.
IFPL has also enhanced the capability of its existing 1225 unit, the 110V AC Universal Remote Power Outlet, with the addition of a high power USB-A socket and will be demonstrating the new 2011 unit on the stand. In addition, IFPL has been working with key industry partners to develop a new range of power solutions that focus on ensure ergonomic and aesthetic seat integration. The combined approach delivered a system that maximizes the use of the physical space of the seat and seamlessly design the USB outlet into the actual seat arm. The result is an attractive installation of a fully integrated system that has no impact on passenger legroom. As always, IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the expert team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirements that visitors to AIX 2017 may have.
Editor’s Note: IFPL is based on the Isle of Wight, just off the South Coast of England. Founded 20 years ago by CEO Geoff Underwood, IFPL today enjoys one of the largest portfolio of proven IFEC products and services in its sector.
Airline passengers flying to and from the Ivory Coast can now expect a connected experience, as national airline, Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE), signs up for inflight passenger connectivity services from world-leading provider SITAONAIR. The new deal will deliver connectivity solutions to VRE’s brand new A320s, in the form of SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR products. With Internet ONAIR onboard, airlines can offer passengers seamless inflight internet access, connecting their personal devices by opening a browser – just as they would with a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Airlines can use Internet ONAIR to personalize their passenger relationships by developing a portal that can offer an interactive and engaging experience for the passenger. It also offers opportunities for airlines to grow their ancillary revenues. Mobile ONAIR, meanwhile, offers passengers an airborne mobile phone service that enables them to make phone calls, send texts and use their mobile phone data inflight, through an extensive number of roaming partners in Africa and across the world. In June 2017, SITAONAIR’s teams will begin activating Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR on five new Air Côte d’Ivoire A320s equipped with Airbus’ Airline Network Architecture (ALNA) server platform. The services will make use of SwiftBroadband, an IP-based data service from Inmarsat that SITAONAIR, as distributor, will operate as service provider.
Aviation Satcom provider, AirSatOne, announces lower rates for its SwiftBroadband connectivity. Taking care of customers is a top priority at AirSatOne and one reason why the company maintains a 99% customer retention rate. So when Inmarsat, the leader in global satellite communications, lowered its prices AirSatOne was quick to pass the savings on to its customers. Customers using AirSatOne as their service provider have access to its custom global network for the same price as the generic network used by the competition. AirSatOne’s custom network includes worldwide teleports and IP PoP (Internet Point of Presence) with advanced network security and our globally deployed Flightstream SA which provides web filtering, compression, consumption tracking and firewall customized for mobile communications.
When Lufthansa’s new long-haul Airbus A350-900 enters service this coming Friday, passengers will experience a cabin lighting concept tailored to the human biorhythm for the first time – 24 different lighting scenarios on board ensure that passengers reach their destination well-rested and with less jetlag than is typical for a long-haul flight. The scientific concept for the new lighting technique originates with the “jetlite” startup, anchored in the aviation cluster, and was brought to market-readiness assisted by the six-month Airbus BizLab accelerator program.
Effective immediately, Hideo Nakano will serve as CEO of Panasonic Avionics, succeeding Paul Margis, who has left the company. Mr. Nakano is an avionics industry veteran and was most recently the Deputy CEO of Panasonic Avionics. His previous experience at Panasonic includes serving as CFO of Panasonic’s Automotive & Industrial Systems Company, the largest of Panasonic Corp.’s four internal companies, as well as CFO of Panasonic Corporation of North America. Panasonic Avionics has also appointed Mark Jennings to serve in the new position of Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Mr. Jennings will be responsible for duties related to operations, engineering, sales and marketing. Mr. Jennings joined Panasonic Avionics in 1998 as Regional Director based in Dubai and most recently served as Vice President of Operations. Additionally, Seigo Tada has been named Chief Financial Officer of PAC. He succeeds Paul Bottiaux, who has left the company. Mr. Tada will maintain his position as VP of Finance and Controller of Panasonic Corporation of North America. Mr. Tada joined Panasonic in 1985 and has held roles of increasing responsibility within the finance function throughout his time with the company, including ten years in the United States. You can read more here.
LT just completed Ka Band connectivity on it’s first VIP A330 and installing similar technology on some 32 Lufthansa A320 planes PER MONTH!
GLOBAL CONNECTED AIRCRAFT SUMMIT
Here is the agenda. The summit happens Wednesday, June 7, through Friday, June 9. this year.
- OK, so flying over America may be challenging right now, how about a movie? Hang on, it’s a mind blower! – Flying Over America – YouTube
- Obviously these folks read our article about BOSE Noise cancellation headphones for flying – The best noise-canceling wireless headphones that you can buy | Page 2 | Digital Trends
- Confused about Wi-Fi? Here is a great source of info on the standard ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) channel frequencies and bandwidth
- And if you are seeing 2017 Aviation headwinds, you might be correct – Aviation Industry Could Face Headwinds In 2017
Geneva | February 6, 2017– Airline passengers flying to and from the Ivory Coast can now expect a connected experience, as national airline, Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE), signs up for inflight passenger connectivity services from world-leading provider SITAONAIR.
The new deal will deliver connectivity solutions to VRE’s brand new A320s, in the form of SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR products.
With Internet ONAIR onboard, airlines can offer passengers seamless inflight internet access, connecting their personal devices by opening a browser – just as they would with a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
Airlines can use Internet ONAIR to personalize their passenger relationships by developing a portal that can offer an interactive and engaging experience for the passenger. It also offers opportunities for airlines to grow their ancillary revenues.
Mobile ONAIR, meanwhile, offers passengers an airborne mobile phone service that enables them to make phone calls, send texts and use their mobile phone data inflight, through an extensive number of roaming partners in Africa and across the world.
In June 2017, SITAONAIR’s teams will begin activating Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR on five new Air Côte d’Ivoire A320s equipped with Airbus’ Airline Network Architecture (ALNA) server platform. The services will make use of SwiftBroadband, an IP-based data service from Inmarsat that SITAONAIR, as distributor, will operate as service provider.
The project is set for completion in 2019, when Air Côte d’Ivoire (VRE) will take delivery of the last of the five new A320s.
Stephan Egli, Commercial Regional VP for the Middle East and Africa, SITAONAIR, said: “We are very proud to be helping Air Cote d’Ivoire to deliver a brand-new fleet of A320s with the quality inflight connectivity services passengers increasingly demand.
“With the first five of Africa’s airlines to achieve inflight connectivity in the continent using SITAONAIR as their service provider of choice, VRE is part of an inflight connectivity revolution gaining momentum across Africa, as the airlines in the region look to offer the same quality of product for passengers as other regions like their Middle East neighbours.”
René Decurey, CEO of Air Côte d’Ivoire, said: “As the Ivory Coast’s national airline, we are very much at the frontline of passenger demand as it takes shape. Passengers are telling us they want access to internet connectivity from ground-to-air, to enable them to sustain their online lives, wherever they fly. With SITAONAIR’s trusted expertise and industry standing, and with Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR on board, we will be able to give our passengers what they want.”
For more information about the above products, and to discover the full SITAONAIR product and service range, visit www.sitaonair.aero
As the weeks pass after a show like the recent APEX in Singapore, it is easy to start thinking about the next one; however, IFExpress will try to continue to cover some of the more important show participants and their new products, accomplishments, and sales. Importantly, a post show head cold and a recent election has caused focus issues in the past few weeks, but we are now in better control and we will start off with one show item that keeps coming back to haunt us – the concept of aircraft and Big Data. While IFEC is not the whole story, it is part of the issue, and over the last few weeks we have been doing our homework a bit on the subject. The folks at companies like Panasonic, SITA, Thales and many others have been chanting the “data” subject into our ears at each meeting – we really have been trying to understand the problems and potential solutions – and believe us, it is no easy subject, with few easy answers. A number of years back, Mark Thompson of Thompson Aerospace warned us of the impending data monster we were about to see but we had little idea at the time of its value and challenges. This data thing is not new but it is getting bigger!
Looking back to the late eighties, we saw a document developed about the importance of airplane data, in general, and how McDonnell Douglas was looking at the future of its importance in tying an airline together by connecting the “movable asset” back to the airline itself with the one connectivity-based solution available at the time – live, real-time data. Back in the day, the connectivity links were minimal but the requirement was still there.
Today, it is a cry that still is the important connecting piece of the airline business, but it is getting louder. However, we note, now it entails better connectivity, more information, passenger involvement, better worldwide connections, and generally more need for planning and action throughout the airline and passenger environment. Perhaps a computer programmer said it better than we could: “You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” – Daniel Keys Moran, an American computer programmer. Further, when you have 30 $250 million dollar assets buzzing around the world, data is the only way to see at any point in time, how your assets are delivering profits or losses. Further, it is a way to see what your customers are needing, in real-time.
We understand that we will not cover the issue in one IFExpress, and to that end, we have a few future interviews planned with IFEC companies and you will have the opportunity to see a bigger picture from them in the coming months. And speaking of ‘seeing the data’ issue, we really owe the folks at SITA a pat on the back for they have been trying to educate us on the value and need of standardized data.
Furthermore, not only satcom companies are part of the data solutions, as an example, the folks at SmartSky are developing a ground-to-air solution that may deliver the cheapest, and possibly the fastest over tera firma, data solution when it is up and running in the US. The point here is that data will be the driving factor when an airline executive or inflight passenger, or flight crew person, or a box on the plane needs to connect to a listener or data taker from the ground, and thus, it will be one of the next big things in our industry. Check out this Next Gen aviation connected electronic flight bag story;
With the growth of passenger data needs, the subject of data will become even a more important technology as time goes on. In SITAONAIR’s white paper published during the show, they noted that passenger connectivity is still the key motivating factor with airlines for adopting the service. Some 48% of their list of airlines in their study see it as the main passenger experience benefit. However, now some 20% of the airlines involved saw connectivity as a pilot and cabin crew enhancement driver, with some 15% seeing value in maintenance and ops monitoring. While a low number of planes today are outfitted with connectivity solutions, SITA expects three quarters will have some connectivity by 2017, and the big solution will happen by 2020 and some 12,500 planes will be so modified.
One big issue, notes SITA, is the lack of commonality or common standards in the aircraft data itself. Why is this important? We see it as a way to allow more entrants in the IFEC industry, more participants in the data business, more uses of the data itself, and a solution that becomes a standard where and when more people use it. Lest we forget, big data probably also means big bucks! If you want to see an example the application of common airport standards you might want to check out SITA’s AirportConnect Open.
Another area is the type of data from the various sources and its utility and application. The folks at Panasonic can see the data future and they call it “Big Data”. They envision the application of ground and inflight data as well as a lot more data applications from many sources – but we will have more on this subject in the future. We should also note that Thales has their version of big data and they are using their InFlyt Cloud for similar data solution for airplane data, metadata and big analytics. However, the message to folks in this business is perhaps, just perhaps, that the IFEC world might just be a smaller part of a bigger aviation world that uses data. It is a solution for bigger problems and future analysis – all way beyond IFE companies just selling hardware. Just possibly it may be the next generation of understanding about airplanes and passengers and the world of flying assets that are moving thousands of miles away from the home offices with hundreds of passengers all going to different places for many different reasons. Big Data has a future value that we don’t even understand today!
To make our point about where this is all heading, here is a very recent news release from Panasonic Avionics about their next generation of data connectivity solutions and it points out the widening of the acquisition of data sources sets the wider data picture being viewed by IFEC vendors. Said the release: ”The technology will enable the next generation of connectivity services to the aviation industry and multiple other markets.” The release went on: “Panasonic Avionics will implement Ericsson’s 5G-ready core solution through its subsidiary AeroMobile, a global inflight connectivity provider and registered mobile network operator. The contract is the first step of a long-term strategic collaboration between the two companies, which will focus on areas like 5G and the Internet of Things.” It went on: ”Panasonic Avionics can apply the 5G-ready core across a wide and ever-expanding range of markets, enabling connectivity for users not only onboard aircraft and ships, but also for the huge Internet of Things communication.” IFExpress notes the 5G is touted as the next generation of mobile technology because it “has the capability to radically lessen latency, accelerate download and upload speeds, enhance network reliability and spectral efficiency.” With this data, they also have the potential to support IoT development, by considerably escalating the number of devices that can connect to the network simultaneously.” Get the data picture? Stay Tuned on this one, soon we will talk more about data standardization and future data applications.
digEcor & IFPL
We like it when two companies in our industry combine their thoughts to develop a better product offering. We saw this during APEX Singapore this year when digEcor, in conjunction with partner IFPL, unveiled their GLIDE inseat power solution on AirAsia’s A320neos. The development effort was a collaborative one between digEcor, IFPL and Miras Aircraft Seating. The deal with AirAsia totals 55K seats and because AirAsia is a low-cost carrier they required a low-cost solution. This makes sense since inseat power is more and more significant as passengers are bringing their own devices onboard and the system is Wi-Fi driven by the onboard inflight connectivity. In fact, many LCCs are now looking to Wi-Fi for their IFE solution. From a hardware perspective, IFPL’s USB outlet is backlit and we understand that when power is available the unit is lit, making it easier for the passenger to find on the seat arm. If you are interested, we’ve attached images of the seat arm with the IFPL USB outlet and digEcor’s SEB!
Qatar Airways has implemented AeroDocs software from Arconics, a ViaSat company, to provide a single centralized repository to revise and track all operational and non-operational company manuals and documentation for operational readiness. The ability to create, author, edit and mark all changes in a visible manner over the web enables team members to easily keep abreast of, and be alerted to, relevant procedural modifications as and when they happen.
The Seattle Times wrote: “In a surprise move, Boeing announced Monday that Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner will step down from that position and be replaced by General Electric senior executive Kevin McAllister. In 2015, the Boeing board granted Conner a special award of 50,000 shares ‘to encourage him to forgo an opportunity to retire in the near future.’ With that award vesting on Dec. 1, 2017 provided he stayed at Boeing, it was expected that he would retire about then. Those shares are worth $7.35 million.” (Editor’s Note: Not a bad deal – $7 million & change for staying at Boeing for 2 years!)
Heard about Media Box? The Media Box, which Media Carrier offers as an exclusive service to tourism companies in particular, operates as a web-based service and can be easily and conveniently used with any web-enabled device. To download their preferred business magazine or their usual morning paper, guests connect to the Media Box of the airline or hotel and gain access to their own personal reading material. Newspapers and magazines are presented unabridged and in the same layout used in the print versions, and can be browsed through easily and intuitively – check out this image. Even after downloading, the downloaded publications remain available to the reader for an unlimited time. Established in 2011, the company is a subsidiary of the Munich-based MELO Group, whose central divisions are built on the two pillars: media and logistics. Media Carrier specializes in marketing and distributing digital content. It supplies the travel industry with e-papers through the Media Box. The digital media library is now successfully deployed with e.g. Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings as well as in more than 1,000 luxury and five-star hotels worldwide.
While we did not necessarily expect large changes in IFEC at a show the size of APEX Singapore, we were wrong – there is a lot going on in the way of change pertaining to the world of cabin experiences. The big driver of course is what passengers bring on the airplane and their expectations of how air travel will be a continuation of their ground experiences and lifestyle. This would explain the need for better connectivity on the aircraft and the increase in demand for connectivity based solutions. Another area that appears to be growing is demand for engaging the passenger throughout the travel experience – from the initial ticket purchase all the way to arrival at their destination. The goal is to engage the passenger in an end-to-end experience. This is being facilitated by the airline apps now available, as well as, the various connectivity solutions that are permeating both the airport and the aircraft. With the availability of real-time data analytics the airlines can finally interact with their travelers seamlessly throughout the entire journey. The message here is data, and a lot of it. This expansion is creating new products, services, new jobs, and a new way to capture the aviation business. Consequently, the passenger, the airplane, and the airline are all operating as if the aircraft were ‘tethered to a gatelink on the ground’ – the next industry growth phase will include more data about the passenger, more data about their travel experience, more data about the aircraft, and we can thank connectivity for bring about these changes.
1) Airlines are looking more and more to connectivity and Wi-Fi for their single-aisle solutions, as well as, their twin-aisle aircraft. Wi-Fi and connectivity are critical for both the connected aircraft and engaging the passenger throughout all aspects of the trip.
2) With the proliferation of handheld, semi-embedded and Pax PED devices we saw an increase in agile, brandable software/GUI.
3) With the advent of true broadband coming into service we saw IFE vendors embracing the availability of a large pipe by offering aircraft operations evaluation real-time, as well as, passenger services.
4) New methods of power delivery as well as capability with the latest upgrade in USB based power. In fact, Inseat USB power is now the expectation – and USB C is here now too! Obviously, this demand is to support the connectivity/PEDs brought onboard the aircraft by the passengers, among others.
5) There is a growing market for a lower cost connectivity solution for smaller amounts of data or chat style connectivity. At the show we saw 2 new ground based connectivity solutions being developed and another that was based on Bluetooth.
Gogo celebrated 25 years in business (1991 – 2016)! Congratulations may the next 25 be even more momentous. One of the technology surprises was the newly announced network that 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. “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 two networks similar to how a cell phone on the ground connects to the fastest available network,” said Anand Chari, CTO of Gogo. The benefits of the 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. It should be noted, that this system is using the same frequency as 802.11 – the 2.4 GHz band but the solution is not Wi-Fi as such. Gogo did not go into any description of the modulation technique used. We point out that the press release that was distributed in late September on this subject came out on the same day as SmartSky released theirs – interesting!
FTS is probably the newest full system IFEC provider in the industry today. At the show they announced that their Wi-Fi IFE system is already flying on China Southern’s 737 for a trial, and will be flying on another airline in Asia and a North America-based carrier in the near term. While the company is in the midst of a market re-branding and product renaming, their young engineering team impressed us with their understanding of an inflight connectivity solution and some potential new products that we have yet to see on an aircraft. The company is focusing on the B737 family and A320 family aircraft and are targeting small airlines and LCC’s to get their product off the ground. Basically, the company is in the start-up phase and moving very rapidly into the IFEC realm. They have brought on some industry notables to help facilitate this goal: Darrel Chua (GM, Singapore FTS); Rich Salter, CTO; Ben Fuller, Director of Marketing for the Americas; and Jack Sunabe, Director of Program Management. Here is an image of the team in their booth at APEX.
Their next generation Wi-Fi entertainment and information system is fully FAA/EASA compliant and supports 802.11 ac standards. The system is ultra-light weight, which greatly reduces fuel burn when compared to legacy IFE systems. The system requires one or two Cabin Wireless Access Points (CWAPs) to cover the entire cabin. This interacts with their General Network Server which uses high-capacity SSD drives to support HD media streaming, as well as the latest applications. Their Terminal Wireless Cellular Unit (TWCU) is for multi-band 3G/4G cellular data communication, activated when the aircraft is on the ground, and can be used for content update and usage data offload. Also, we should mention they exhibited a nifty smartwatch for flight attendants that served as the CMT.
Wi-Fi, while not sexy unto itself, controls the cost and manufacturing requirements and quality of the system that a new entrant can handle. More importantly, since all their LRUs are manufactured by FTS’ parent company (FeiTian), they do not have to integrate with anyone else. Also, they don’t have to outsource their software – it is all controlled in house. By operating in this mode they do not have to rely on suppliers; however, we do note that they want to create partnerships from a marketing perspective in order to enhance ancillary revenue generation. Furthermore, products like customized games can be easily added.
In closing, we note that the parent company (FeiTian) has been around for 11 years with a backbone built on bullet trains in China. Additionally, it should be mentioned that by year’s end their will be four FTS company (aviation-focused) offices: China, Singapore, Newport Beach, and a location in Europe – so the company is very interested in aggressive expansion. In our interview they mentioned that they will have four airlines in their first full year of operation – WOW!
SITA OnAir demonstrated how the passenger experience is being transformed by their e-Aircraft concept. The e-Aircraft presents significant opportunities for airlines to streamline operations and improve efficiencies. It also presents the major challenge of what to do when confronted by terabytes of data produced during each flight. Some of it will be stored for downloading on the ground. But increasingly, the demand is for real-time interaction, for the aircraft to be connected nose-to-tail throughout the flight for both passengers and the airline. They discussed the key developments based on the advent of the global high through-put satellite link, GX Aviation from Inmarsat. In fact, they showed how the increased connectivity affected 6 key ‘audiences’ (aircraft included) for the improved data rates: 1) Passengers benefit from a richer, more interactive infotainment experience. At the Expo they launched their latest inflight portal for passengers, 2) Cabin Crew can now personalize passenger interaction with real-time information available at their fingertips. Also, they demonstrated their latest CrewTablet developments, 3) Cockpit Crew can also deliver a safer, more comfortable journey to passengers thanks to live weather updates sent directly to EFBs, 4) Flight Operations can enhance passenger safety by tracking aircraft wherever they are in the world using AIRCOM FlightTracker – and a number of airlines have already signed up, 5) Aircraft transmits maintenance requirement data, ensuring teams are waiting at the gate to keep turnaround time to a minimum, 6) And finally, Air Traffic Control enhances both safety and efficiency by streamlining communications between pilots and air traffic managers. SITA likes to call these ‘nose-to-tail’ solutions.
2016 APEX Awards:
This year’s APEX Awards were expanded from previous years. In fact, there were eight categories in the new format. Competition was particularly high especially in the areas of “Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation” and “Best Original Video” – I think many of the judges wished they could handout co-winner awards!
Award winners are as follows:
- Best Video Curation – Air Canada enRoute Programming
- Best Original Video – Etihad Airways Virtual Reality Film
- Best Original Audio – American Airlines Exclusive Content
- Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation – Finnair Nordic Sky Wi-Fi
- Best Passenger Comfort Innovation – Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class
- Best Personalization Innovation – Air New Zealand Airpoints
- Best Cabin Innovation – STG Aerospace Green Floor Path Lighting
- Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation – Air New Zealand Innovations
- Newcomer Award – SkyLights and ImmFly
- CEO Lifetime Achievement – Goh Choon Phong, Singapore
Did you get to the APEX sponsored networking event in Singapore on Wednesday evening? If not you missed a fantastic band called Full Circle that played class rock’n roll. We were so impressed we want to extend a ‘thank you’ to Ande Rowe | Manager, Meetings & Expositions for APEX who booked them. Full Circle really made the event one to remember!! Their facebook page can be found here.
- Why the industry should embrace open systems development and unlock digital service innovation for airlines
October 2016– The first inflight connectivity revolution is already well advanced. Airlines are investing heavily in the latest satellite broadband and connectivity technologies in order to meet growing passenger expectations for fast, reliable and consistent Wi-Fi digital services on any aircraft, anywhere in the world.
But how will this develop? SITAONAIR, the world-leader in developing inflight connectivity solutions, has unique experience and perspective.
Going forward, we believe services should be provided consistently on every frequency band with an open architecture – ushering in the second inflight connectivity revolution.
- MOU recognises SwiftBroadband-Safety’s market leading position and potential to increase airline profitability, capacity and safety through digital cockpit solutions
United Kingdom | October 19, 2016– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to appoint SITAONAIR as a distribution partner for its next generation SwiftBroadband-Safety aviation service.
A pre-agreement between the two companies has outlined the intention for SITAONAIR to supply commercial airlines and business aviation operators with SwiftBroadband-Safety, an advanced new service from Inmarsat that will transform cockpit and aircraft operations.
SwiftBroadband-Safety represents a paradigm shift in the advancement of aviation safety services by utilising secure IP-based broadband connectivity that far exceeds the capabilities of other alternatives in the market. The ‘always on and always secure’ solution enables a range of breakthrough aviation applications, including flight data streaming (‘Black Box in the Cloud’) and real-time Electronic Flight Bag applications, such as networked graphical weather.
It also enables air traffic management modernisation programmes throughout the world and fulfils the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS), including flight tracking, by offering reliable and secure satellite surveillance and communications (FANS/ACARS).
SwiftBroadband-Safety hardware is available for initial retrofit installation on existing aircraft today and is scheduled to become a standard option on new aircraft deliveries from 2018. The service builds on Inmarsat’s reputation as a provider of high-quality voice and data service to 95% of the world’s trans-oceanic aircraft fleet.
Inmarsat’s MoU with SITAONAIR marks the latest expansion of a successful partnership between both companies. SITAONAIR is currently a major distributor of Inmarsat’s Classic Aero satellite communications service and will now be able to provide migration options for existing customers to SwiftBroadband-Safety. It also provides the global aviation industry with access to Inmarsat’s current in-flight broadband service, SwiftBroadband, and its next generation offering for commercial airlines (GX Aviation) and business aviation (JetConneX).
SwiftBroadband-Safety has received a lot of industry support that has reinforced its status as the flightdeck communications platform for the future, including its recent selection by Airbus for its A320 and A330 aircraft families, and successful ongoing trials by Hawaiian Airlines.
Frederik van Essen, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, said: “SITAONAIR has been a trusted partner of Inmarsat for over 25 years. Together we have been providing benefits for the wider airline industry, such as enhancing trans-oceanic flights, optimising routes and reducing fuel consumption. We plan to continue this progress in the future as the benefits of secure broadband are brought into the cockpit.
“The aircraft is now a fully connected node of the airline’s IT network. Inmarsat is the only global provider to offer both reliable, secure cockpit communications as well as the most advanced passenger connectivity, allowing our airline customers to customise data solutions.”
David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR, said: “SwiftBroadband-Safety is a transformational step for the industry and we are proud to include it in our service portfolio as a powerful enabler of SITAONAIR’s nose-to-tail connectivity solutions. Through our engagement with the airlines, SITAONAIR believes the industry is ready to embrace SwiftBroadband-Safety’s secure IP-based services to the cockpit. We are developing services and applications that will leverage this secure IP-based communications services platform to enhance both safety and operational efficiency.
“We aim to offer simple service packages that include generous data allowances to ensure that managing crew communication costs becomes much simpler and enable airlines to fully unleash the potential of next generation cockpit and air traffic control technology. These packages will also power global worldwide flight tracking at no additional connectivity cost. We are pleased to extend and expand our work with Inmarsat in delivering this new capability.”
This week we have a lot of stories that will interest you and we thought we would start our offering with a light interview we recently had with a really nice guy, Cyril Jean of PXCom, located in France. Some three years ago, we met Cyril at an APEX luncheon where he joined our table with an introduction, a business card, and a conversation loaded both with future hope and enthusiasm. Whats not to like? So, after the few years of starting an inflight entertainment company we asked via email how it was going and he wrote the following answers. We thought you, our readers, might find them interesting:
1. Cyril, how many airplanes do you have service on today?
Answer: “We have 71 for Eurowings and 20 for Iberia Express.”
2. OK, what airlines can you mention that you are providing service to?
Answer: “For the moment Eurowings & Iberia. I think that within one month we will be able to operate on 3 new airlines.”
3. Please tell our readers how long have you been in the IFE business?
Answer: “PXCom was created 3 years ago, and yet we have been working in the IFE business for 10+ years.”
4. Cyril, could you please name you products/services for our readers.
Answer: “Our destination guides (see the image above) do not have a specific name. Also, the advertisers pay for a PXPage (interactive page integrated directly in the guide) or for a PXApp (microsite that can be accessed directly from the guide).”
5. Perhaps you could tell our readers where are you located and if this affects whom you service?
Answer: “We are located in Bordeaux (FRANCE), but our first customers (advertisers) are within Europe. With the upcoming additional airlines we intend to develop in Asia, Middle East and Americas.”
6. Please more completely identify your “products” or services for our readers as we know you are developing some interesting IFE solutions?
Answer: “We supply destination related services: from informative content (destination guides) to destination services (taxi booking, hotel pre-checking) – when we have the opportunity to supply onboard aircraft equipped with connectivity. We have also a second activity, soon live on the first airlines, which is Digital Inflight Advertising. Please note that this latter mentioned product will be subject to a specific PR release when it becomes live.”
7. Can you now give our readers an updated airline/product picture?
Answer: “For the moment it’s Eurowings our launch airline for the interactive guides, and we also provide Iberia Express with destination related advertising offerings. We have currently 7 other airlines in process for product integration, among which, 3 of them will be unveiled before end of September.”
IFPL celebrated a major milestone this year supplying their two-millionth industry part to a key Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Now in their 20th year of trading, IFPL reached their two-millionth unit, just four years after the first million, demonstrating their continued sustainable growth in leading the way in IFEC peripherals. Chief Operating Officer, Tim Young, proudly accepted the two-millionth unit from the company’s Head of Production, Marcus Baker. Tim says, “It is a testament to the whole IFPL team, that the two-millionth part followed so soon after reaching our first million. IFPL investments in quality systems, manufacturing and product development capability combined with the development and introduction of new NFC, USB, audio jacks and passenger control units, means that we aim to reach our three-millionth unit even sooner.” The innovative IFPL two-millionth unit is IFPL’s Noise Cancelling Audio Jack (p/n 1155). IFPL’s Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module (INCAM) technology is designed to minimize cabin background noise – ensuring that aircraft passengers enjoy a more relaxed and restful journey, while also benefiting from clarity of sound via the passenger Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system. Passengers may still use their own noise-cancelling headphones, however IFPL’s INCAM enables the airline to provide noise cancelling to all its passengers by simply relocating the costly and complex headset electronics into the jack module. Therefore noise-cancelling headsets are not required, only the addition of inexpensive microphones in the ear cups that are used to pick up the ambient noise. This improved technology enables all aircraft passengers to benefit from a more enjoyable and enhanced in-flight experience. The 1155 Noise Cancelling Audio Jack is part of an extensive range of IFPL products and IFEC solutions, which includes the new reversible USB power and data module, Dual-pin MagSignal audio and the latest in NFC contactless payment technology.
Honeywell has achieved final certification from Inmarsat for JetWave, the company’s package of exclusive hardware that will allow pilots, passengers, operators and maintenance personnel to connect to GX Aviation, the revolutionary new in-flight broadband service from Inmarsat. Users can consistently and more quickly surf the internet, check emails, stream music and videos, and shop online without drop-off throughout their flight, even when flying over oceans. The final type approval certificate confirms that the system functions as designed and completes the process to bring GX Aviation to the aerospace market. The certification centers on operation in all environmental conditions with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which comprises three satellites already launched and functioning. This ensures that passengers, pilots and other airline personnel have access to high-speed, consistent and reliable broadband service by GX Aviation on flights worldwide, with speeds similar to those experienced at home or in the office.
The Future Travel Experience Global show is “Vegas” on Sept 7 – 9 and you can get all the info here. Noted Daniel Coleman: “It has taken a lot of work, but I am very proud and excited by the plans for FTE Global 2016, with our valued event partners making great contributions to bringing the event to life: McCarran International Airport, APEX, ACC, AAAE and Airport Terminal of the Future.”
AeroMod International and SITAONAIR today jointly announce a partnership to install SITAONAIR wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) services on Philippine Airlines. The rapid installation program will see AeroMod International deploy a consistent cabin experience across Philippine Airlines fleet and implement the systems in record time. This industry leader in avionics and airplane structural modification and repair services commenced installation of the SITAONAIR wireless IFE system on Philippine Airlines’ Airbus A321 fleet in July. Under the program, Philippine Airlines will have one wireless IFE-installed aircraft returned to service every day. Market analysis by AeroMod reveals that only 13 percent of non-U.S. airlines have wireless IFE fully deployed. Despite this, a recent SITA survey of passengers worldwide showed IFE is now more commonly consumed via Wi-Fi on a personal device, rather than on the aircraft’s seat-back screen (46% vs 44%, with 10% using both). Additionally, two thirds (65%) of passengers would choose to access it via their own devices if wireless IFE was available. “86 percent of passengers take a smartphone onto a plane and they would prefer to also use them to access IFE. These networks therefore need to be highly robust in order to deliver HD quality video to all passengers,” said David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR. “AeroMod has an enviable track record for installations that are both of exceptional quality and are turned around quickly, getting the planes back in the air as soon as possible.”
We wanted to point out one writer who weekly features the present and future of satcom usage and his name is Tim Farrar… a writer, speaker, and aficionado of that venue of connectivity. We thought you might find one chart that he has posted and since it talks about “who has what” in the satcom universe, you might find it interesting… a little bit of research on his site might also be useful… especially the SES chart he has included on the above mentioned link. But, there is a lot more there.
Global Eagle Entertainment has entered into a global distribution agreement between GEE’s Entertainment in Motion and The QYOU, a leading provider of curated and hosted online short-form content for the Video Everywhere age. The broad-based deal gives GEE and its affiliated companies access to The QYOU catalog and new production targeting distinct passengers with peppy morning, family afternoon and late-night styled content. The video segments will cover various categories including extreme sports, artist spotlights, dance, beauty, and comedy. Content will be accessible on airline seatback portals and personal entertainment devices enabled by airlines and cruise liners. The agreement grants exclusive and worldwide airline and maritime distribution rights, and non-exclusive distributions rights in other U.S. and Canada non-theatrical markets.
On another GEE front, Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today launched a new interactive data dashboard designed to provide the traveling public with access to aggregated flight operations information for U.S. airlines and airports across the country. The dashboard, displayed at airlines.org, was produced in partnership with Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (GEE) and will provide the current operation status for the top 30 U.S. airports by passenger volume.
A4A partnered with GEE to develop this dashboard as a resource for industry partners and others who have a need for aggregated on-time performance data at the airport level or based on current weather patterns. The dashboard, tapping into GEE’s unsurpassed aviation data analytics capabilities, is complete with scroll-over maps, real-time flight departures, completions, cancellations, on-time performance and weather conditions at the national and local airport level. This new resource also provides a detailed, rolling 30-day analysis of completed and canceled flights. GEE’s solution will enhance this offering by adding current analysis tools of all U.S. flight operations.
- AeroMod begins equipping Philippine Airlines A321 aircraft;
returns newly wireless IFE-equipped aircraft every day
Melbourne, Florida and Geneva, Switzerland | August 18, 2016– AeroMod International and SITAONAIR today jointly announce a partnership to install SITAONAIR wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) services on Philippine Airlines. The rapid installation program will see AeroMod International deploy a consistent cabin experience across Philippine Airlines fleet and implement the systems in record time.
This industry leader in avionics and airplane structural modification and repair services commenced installation of the SITAONAIR wireless IFE system on Philippine Airlines’ Airbus A321 fleet in July. Under the program, Philippine Airlines will have one wireless IFE-installed aircraft returned to service every day.
“This agreement with a worldwide aircraft connectivity leader such as SITAONAIR capitalizes on our growth to provide operational support to customers around the world,” says AeroMod President Gary Girard.
Market analysis by AeroMod reveals that only 13 percent of non-U.S. airlines have wireless IFE fully deployed. Despite this, a recent SITA survey of passengers worldwide showed IFE is now more commonly consumed via Wi-Fi on a personal device, rather than on the aircraft’s seat-back screen (46% vs 44%, with 10% using both). Additionally, two thirds (65%) of passengers would choose to access it via their own devices if wireless IFE was available.
Improving the customer experience is a key driver for commercial airlines, and wireless IFE systems allow a wide range of content to be made available directly to passengers’ personal devices. SITAONAIR’s system delivers reliability and cost savings as well as easy installation and maintenance. Now with AeroMod rapid installations, these products can be rolled out across an entire airline’s fleet in a matter of weeks. All combine to make an especially appealing fit for airlines.
“86% of passengers take a smartphone onto a plane and they would prefer to also use them to access IFE,” says David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR. “These networks therefore need to be highly robust in order to deliver HD quality video to all passengers. AeroMod has an enviable track record for installations that are both of exceptional quality and are turned around quickly, getting the planes back in the air as soon as possible.”
AeroMod relocated its corporate headquarters to Orlando Melbourne International Airport in April 2016. Its new 114,000-square-foot site takes advantage of Melbourne’s position as the fastest growing aviation and aerospace manufacturing center in the United States.
“Our new facility was designed to offer connectivity and IFE installations significantly faster than other MROs,” says Girard. “To prevent fleet-planning disruption, we can also adapt to customers’ needs and send a qualified team to the customer’s chosen location, anywhere in the world, as we have been doing for Philippines Airlines.”
Philippine Airlines is the national carrier of the Philippines, operating in over 40 international and over 30 domestic destinations. Its key focus areas are flight route network expansion, fleet modernization and service innovation. PAL aims to achieve five-star rating in five years by implementing key initiatives anchored on the branding philosophy Heart of the Filipino.
- 2016 Air Transport News Awards recognize SITA’s leadership and innovation
Geneva | March 29, 2016– For the second year in a row, the Air Transport News (ATN) Awards have recognized air transport IT specialist, SITA, as the ‘IT Company of the Year’. The 2016 award was based on SITA’s significant leadership and innovation in developing solutions that transform air travel through technology.
Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA said: “Winning this award two years in a row is a significant achievement and a strong validation of our unwavering collaboration and contribution to the air transport community. SITA works with nearly every airline and airport in the world, so for them to select us as the IT leader in air transport is really a testament to the value we bring to the community.”
SITA provides the broadest portfolio of solutions for the air transport industry all around the world. The fast pace of technology has driven substantial changes to both the passenger experience and industry operations in recent years with SITA leading the way. This includes solutions such as SITA’s iBorders Border Management that helps governments modernize border security and facilitate the travel experience. By integrating biometrics into existing airport common-use infrastructure and airline and government systems, SITA is making the passenger journey simple, fast and secure.
In addition, SITA’s API platform, Developer.aero, is now widely recognized as the provider of the industry’s key APIs enabling game-changing innovations for passenger experience, airport management, flight operations, and the connected aircraft.
SITA’s commitment to the industry and ongoing innovation is also reflected in its investment in the SITA Lab, its strategic technology research arm. Working with airlines and airports, the Lab explores emerging technology on behalf of the air transport community in areas including artificial intelligence, big data, wearable tech and the ‘Internet of Things’. While SITAONAIR is working with airlines to realize the full potential of the connected aircraft, including setting the benchmark for true nose-to-tail connected aircraft solutions for both airlines and passengers.
ATN has a strong subscription base of more than 42,000. Award winners were selected by the website’s readers based on two months of online voting and validated by a jury of industry leaders. SITA also won the ATN IT Company of the Year award in 2013.
The award was presented to SITA on 26 March at an Air Transport News event held in Salzburg, Austria.
- New partnership to empower airlines with cutting-edge operational and safety communication solutions
Oslo and Paris | March 21, 2016– Marlink, the global business critical communication solutions specialist previously operating as Airbus Defence and Space, and SITAONAIR, have signed a partnership agreement designed to enable the aviation industry even better access to reliable, secure and cost effective ICT (Information & Communication Technology) solutions. As a result, Marlink will extend its aviation satcom services portfolio to offer both established and new solutions that address the needs of a wide range of aircraft.
Starting this year Marlink will make Global Datalink Plus available to its customers worldwide. The flexible and globally managed service seamlessly integrates connectivity services from Inmarsat and Iridium with the world’s largest VHF/VDL network.
Global DataLink Plus is aimed at facilitating safe, efficient and reliable aircraft operations through redundant, always available data and voice communications. Global Datalink Plus meets mandatory requirements for FANS (Future Air Navigation System) and PreFANS services whilst addressing the needs of pilots and crew in supporting flight operations and ensuring safety for Next Generation Air Traffic Management Systems.
“Over the years together with SITAONAIR we have been pioneering aircraft communications and bringing service innovation to the aviation industry. The aim of this new partnership is to enable more aviation customers to improve their flight operation services and grow their business further by adopting innovative and smart aircraft ICT solutions, whether this is based on VHF, VDL or satcom connectivity services,” said Mario Incerti, Director, Aeronautical Services, Marlink.
“Marlink’s satcom service expertise, 24/7 worldwide customer care and global distribution and sales network will enable us to increase our market reach and allow more aviation customers to get the most out of our solutions. We will be able to deliver more efficient aircraft operations and improved aviation safety, in addition to streamlining the supply chain and introducing lifetime cost efficiencies for SITAONAIR and Marlink customers,” said Damien McCormack, VP Commercial at SITAONAIR.
Geneva, Switzerland | December 7, 2015– SITA today announced that David Lavorel, currently SITA’s Senior Vice President for Corporate Development and CEO Office, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of SITAONAIR effective 1st January 2016. Lavorel succeeds Ian Dawkins who is stepping down to pursue other opportunities.
Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA, said: “During his five year tenure leading OnAir, which became SITAONAIR in January of this year, Ian has grown the Company and positioned it as a leading provider of nose-to-tail connected aircraft solutions. I would like to thank Ian for his hard work and dedication and wish him the best in the next phase of his career.”
David Lavorel joined SITA in 2000 holding pivotal roles as Head of the France Telecom Partnership management and as Vice President Mergers and Acquisitions before being appointed as Senior Vice President for Corporate Development and CEO office in 2012. In this role, David has been instrumental in driving the development and execution of SITA’s growth ambitions through a number of strategic programs and acquisitions. This includes his leading role in the development of SITA’s 2020 Vision and Strategy, the strategic evolution of OnAir as a fully owned subsidiary of the SITA Group three years ago and his leadership driving SITA’s connected aircraft strategy which led to the creation of SITAONAIR earlier this year. He has deep knowledge of the OnAir business to which he has directly contributed in recent years as a Board Director of OnAir.
Violante continued: “Under David’s leadership, SITAONAIR will continue its strategic focus on growing revenues and helping airlines realize the full potential of the connected aircraft. He is well positioned to lead the organization in its next phase of growth and we wish him much success in this new role.”
- Connectivity upgrade for improved passenger experience
Preview APEX Asia Conference/FTE Asia EXPO | November 9, 2015– Singapore Airlines will deploy SITAONAIR‘s next-generation passenger high-speed broadband connectivity services (Wi-Fi and mobile phone text and data services) on its long range fleet, using Inmarsat’s GX Aviation satellite network.
Singapore Airlines and SITAONAIR have been at the forefront of inflight connectivity innovation. The airline was an early adopter of connectivity, on its A340s, as well as one of the first to provide connectivity on the A380. Recently, it has been providing free Wi-Fi sessions to the passengers in First and Business Class cabins through promotional sponsorship.
The airline’s priority has always been to provide the very best inflight experience and knows passenger connectivity solutions have a central role in that.
The third GX Aviation satellite was successfully launched at the end of August, completing the constellation that provides consistent global coverage. GX Aviation provides data speeds of up to 50MBps to the aircraft: for the very first time, there really will be no difference between being in the air and being on the ground. The onboard Wi-Fi will reflect what most people are used to at home. It will also provide Singapore Airlines with greater capabilities to personalize its services.
“Singapore Airlines is one of the most respected carriers in the world. By choosing SITAONAIR services, it clearly demonstrates the superiority of GX Aviation in terms of passenger experience, reliable and global coverage,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of SITAONAIR. “What is particularly exciting is that this is only the beginning of what we can do with connectivity. We already provide connectivity solutions for airline operations, from flight tracking to crew tablets, and from electronic flights bags to air traffic control AIRCOM services. The introduction of GX Aviation opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the connected aircraft.”
The installation of the first GX Aviation system powered by Honeywell’s JetWave satellite communications hardware is scheduled for the second half of 2016.
The first aircraft type to be equipped will be Singapore Airlines’ B777-300ER aircraft, followed by A380-800s and A350-900s.
As well as being the Wi-Fi Internet and mobile phone service provider, SITAONAIR will also manage the certification process of the GX Aviation system for the B777-300ER fleet, and provide the airborne GX Aviation systems for both the Boeing and the A380-800 fleets. Thales will provide the airborne connectivity system for the A350-900s with SITAONAIR providing the Wi-Fi Internet and Mobile phone service. Zodiac Inflight Innovations will provide the JetWave GX Aviation Satcom for the A380-800 and B777-300ER retrofit programs.