Thales, Nokia and SkyFive

Following successful rollout across Europe, Thales in the UK, Nokia and SkyFive are launching a new 4G LTE Air to Ground (A2G) solution to a global market. Delivering a fibre like connectivity experience, A2G significantly improves the inflight access to web, streaming and on-line games to passengers. In addition to improved passenger experiences, aircraft operators will benefit from significantly shortened installation times, minimizing the time aircraft are out of operation.

Improved connectivity, enhanced experience

Offering seamless connectivity with speeds up to 100Mbps and latency of less than 50ms, this 4G LTE solution connects aircraft to high-speed Wi-Fi from the ground up. Utilizing existing 4G technology, A2G connects aircrafts with the nearest purpose-built on-ground towers, seamlessly handing over between masts mid-flight to create consistently fast 4G connectivity throughout journeys. The high speeds and reduced latency are achieved through the impressive 4G LTE performance, combined with the short distances between the aircraft and towers, which are densely grouped to prevent aircrafts sharing bandwidth. The network’s design also means A2G has greater capacity per km2 than current satellites.

Aboard A2G enabled aircraft, the experience for passengers will be comparable to using a 4G mobile phone service on the ground. The easy-to-access connection will make it possible for passengers to make uninterrupted video-conferencing calls, watch live TV or stream the latest series in HD from their own handset.

Easy installation, savings for airlines

As the aviation sector emerges from its biggest challenge yet, A2G presents an opportunity for carriers to make significant savings, improve customer experiences and increase ancillary revenues. Compared with SATCOM systems, the compact nature of the 4G antenna reduces CO2 emissions and cuts installation times down to just 12 hours, meaning aircraft spend less time out of operation while technology is installed.

Once installed, new 4G enabled in-flight capabilities will create an aircraft environment for an Internet of Things in which operational efficiencies such as engine offload data can be viewed in real time, customer experience can be measured and targeted advertising can be introduced. Better connectivity can also support the facilitation of new COVID-19 safety protocols as they are implemented.

Collaborating to create a safe, global network

The technology is being rolled out in regions around the world where domestic and international carriers will be able to use the 4G masts on land. It has been developed through a collaborative partnership with Thales providing the onboard terminal (modem+RF) and antenna; Nokia responsible for on-ground infrastructure and SkyFive’s patented software algorithms ensuring that aircraft can reliably connect at high speeds, high altitudes and across long ranges. With 30 years of experience in connecting airlines and proven European Aviation Network success, Thales has leveraged its expertise to ensure the benefits of the faster speeds do not come at the expense of a secure platform.

Andy Humphries, Managing Director, Flight Avionics at Thales in the UK, commented: “For airlines, passenger connectivity and operational efficiency have been strategic imperatives in the past and are even more pronounced in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. At Thales, we have used our expertise to deliver proven fast and reliable aircraft hardware and software solutions underpinned by a robust worldwide support network. Combined with SkyFive’s specialism in A2G services and Nokia’s mobile network infrastructure, the project will bring industry disrupting performance for passengers and airlines alike, with reliable Wi-Fi and low transmission latency delivered with low upfront investment and operational costs. We believe A2G will help to expedite the recovery of the sector by transforming the air travel experience while reducing costs as people start flying again.”


Air Travel Consumer Report: July 2020 Numbers

The U.S. Department of Transportation on October 23, 2020 released its September 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on reporting marketing and operating air carrier data compiled for the month of July 2020.  The full consumer report and other aviation consumer matters of interest to the public can be found at http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has resulted in significant changes to airline schedules and operations, contributing to airlines’ on-time performance and cancellation statistics in July 2020.

The 10 marketing network carriers reported 370,859 scheduled domestic flights in July 2020 compared to 237,264 flights in June 2020 and 717,684 flights in July 2019. Of those 370,859 scheduled flights, 0.8%, 2,926 flights, were canceled. As a result of schedule reductions and cancellations, the carriers reported operating 367,933 flights in July 2020, compared to 236,234 flights in June 2020, the all-time monthly low of 180,151 flights in May 2020 and 194,390 flights in April 2020.

A flight is listed as canceled if it was listed in a carrier’s computer reservation system during the seven calendar days prior to scheduled departure but was not operated.  Canceled flights are included in calculations of on-time arrival performance.

July On-Time Performance

In July 2020, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 90.5%, down from the 92.7% on-time rate in June 2020 but up from the 76.9% rate in July 2019.  See July Data Spotlight for scheduled, canceled, and operated flights by marketing network by month.
Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates July 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

1.    Southwest Airlines – 94.5%
2.    Alaska Airlines Network – 92.5%
3.    Hawaiian Airlines Network – 91.7%

Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates July 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

1.    JetBlue Airways – 85.4%
2.    Allegiant Air – 85.5%
3.    Frontier Airlines – 87.0%

July Cancellations

In July 2020, reporting marketing carriers canceled 0.8% of their scheduled domestic flights, a higher rate than 0.4% in June 2020 but a lower rate than 2.1% in July 2019.

Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights July 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

1.    Spirit Airlines – 0.1%
2.    American Airlines Network – 0.6%
3.    Southwest Airlines – 0.7%

Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights July 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

1.    Hawaiian Airlines Network – 4.1%
2.    Frontier Airlines – 3.2%
3.    JetBlue Airways – 2.8%

Tarmac Delays

In July 2020, airlines reported 39 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in June 2020 and 58 tarmac delays reported in July 2019.  In July 2020, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in June 2020 and three tarmac delays in July 2019.  Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

July Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours (ATCR Table 8)

  1. American Airlines flight 4912 (operated by Piedmont Airlines) from Mobile, Ala. (MOB) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 51 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte
  2. American Airlines flight 3862 (operated by Envoy Air) from Charlottesville, Va. (CHO) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 40 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte
  3. American Airlines flight 5075 (operated by PSA Airlines) from Syracuse, N.Y. (SYR) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT) 7/21/20 – delayed 4 hours and 36 minutes on the tarmac at Charlotte

July International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours (ATCR Table 8A)

There were no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights in July.


This Is A Big Deal and a Great Article!

“Specifically, FAA has not assessed its oversight program to determine the priority of avionics cybersecurity risks, developed an avionics cybersecurity training program, issued guidance for independent cybersecurity testing, or included periodic testing as part of its monitoring process,” GAO said in the report.

Another key finding in the report is more guidance on independent testing to be integrated into the way the agency certifies new airplanes. GAO’s six recommendations include the following:
Here are the recommendations:

  • Identify the “relative priority of avionics cybersecurity risks compared to other safety concerns and develop a plan to address those risks.”
  • Implement new training for agency inspectors “specific to avionics cybersecurity.”
  • Include independent testing in new guidance for avionics cybersecurity testing of new airplane designs
  • Develop procedures for “safely conducting independent testing” of avionics cybersecurity controls in the deployed fleet
  • Coordinate a tracking mechanism for ensuring avionics cybersecurity issues are resolved among “internal stakeholders.”
  • Review oversight resources the agency has currently committed to avionics cybersecurity.

This is a good article: GAO Report Says Airlines Need New Cybersecurity Testing Policy for Avionics Systems – Aviation Today


Boeing

Check out this link for a very good ‘big picture’ of Boeing, especially the top executive and it also includes the recent additions.


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