The agency’s Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa and Business Traveller TV solutions are nominated in the “Best Use of Artificial Intelligence” and “Best Native/Sponsored Content Program” categories, respectively.

London | October 19, 2018– Global content agency Spafax was nominated this week for two B2B Brave Awards, an initiative hosted by global media platform and Europe’s largest marketing website: The Drum. The B2B Brave Awards celebrate excellence in B2B campaigns produced for digital and Out-of-Home as well as strategic initiatives in data, artificial intelligence, PR, social media and more. The awards are judged by a panel who have extensive experience in the B2B industry, including representatives from Stein IAS, LinkedIn, IBM, Momentum Worldwide, Adobe, MRM McCann, Ogilvy and more.

Spafax is a finalist in the following two categories:
1. Best Use of Artificial Intelligence: Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa for American Airlines
2. Best Native/Sponsored Content Program: Business Traveller TV

In its announcement revealing this year’s finalists, The Drum noted the panel of judges were particularly impressed with the submissions in the “Best Use of Artificial Intelligence” category. Adobe’s Senior Strategic Business Development Manager, Creative Agencies, Creative Cloud Enterprise, Chris Duffey said:

“The brands and businesses that embrace the complexity of this new reality differentiated themselves by conducting a magical orchestration of creativity, data and media.”

Chair of the judging panel and Director of North America Agency Relations at LinkedIn, Lynn Badler said:

”Beautiful, emotional, provocative. These are not the adjectives we typically use to describe B2B creative. Many of this year’s entries pushed aside the notion that B2B brands are dull and boring. The bar was raised, the work across all categories was outstanding. I was inspired by the strategic plan for many of the programs, the engaging creative direction and the strong results. Was hard to choose winners in many of the categories.”

Niall McBain, Chief Executive at Spafax said:

“We’re thrilled to be listed as finalists in two categories for The B2B Brave Awards alongside industry leaders including Ogilvy, MediaCom and IBM. It’s a great honor to achieve this recognition and both nominations represent our commitment to deliver the best passenger experience through innovation.”

A full list of the nominations can be found here. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony held in New York City on November 15, 2018.

Survey reveals younger travellers want virtual reality tours, AR board games, high tech viewing and booking for tourist attractions, VR boxing matches, hologram clothes shopping and robotic medical help – before they even get on the plane. Older travellers are not so keen.

London | August 21, 2018–

An online YouGov poll commissioned by leading inflight entertainment and passenger engagement company Spafax published today reveals that younger travellers want airports to use technology to enhance their airport experience – but older travellers are more wary*:

The poll, of 2,110 respondents (gen UK adult population of 18+), asked about their wishlist for ‘an airport lounge of the future’ revealed:

  • 37% of people aged 18 to 34 would play augmented reality (AR) board games with other passengers but only 9% of of 55 and overs would
  • 17% of 18-24-year-olds would like to try on hologram clothes at an airport, while only 6% of 55 and overs would.
  • 36% of women would choose, when in an airport lounge, a virtual reality (VR) preview of tourist attractions at their destination, along with the opportunity to pre-book tickets once they’d browsed

Similarly, a second GB survey**, which asked respondents to envisage an upcoming long haul flight from London to New York  showed that 38% wanted artificial intelligence to help with speeding up the airport process and 35% wanted it to give information on news in their destination whilst on-board the flight.

Regional differences

A YouGov survey* regarding choices for the airport lounge showed a sharp difference in both ages and regions – given the option of taking a virtual reality ‘Great Wall of China’ experience in an airport lounge where the passenger would walk on a treadmill and in real-time experience the sights of the Great Wall of China – people from Wales were the most enthusiastic, with 31% saying that they would, while people from the North East of England were the least enthusiastic (16%).

Passengers from the South East were most likely to choose to test-drive the latest luxury sports cars using virtual reality headsets and sitting in real car seats at an airport (25%), while people in the North East were less enthusiastic at 16%.

Eleven per cent of people in the South West would like a VR experience that recreated their own sitting rooms in the airport lounge, the highest in the UK.

The second survey, where respondents were asked to think specifically about a hypothetical upcoming trip from London to New York, went on to confirm these regional differences**:

People in the South West (45%) were most likely to want technology to help them speed up the journey through the airport.

People in the South East (42%) and Scotland (39%) were the most likely to want AI to give them information on the latest news in the area they were going to.

Sharp difference in what the young and old want from airport experience

A recent survey* proved that retired passengers were possibly the most relaxed passengers, with only 2% of them saying they’d like to take part in a virtual reality boxing match to let off steam before the flight, while 17% of full-time students chose this option.

When comparing the working status of these groups, we can see that a full 44% of full-time studentssaid that they would choose to do the full China Wall experience while only 23% of retired peoplewould.

Nearly a half (48%) of retired people did not want any sort of personalized experience at an airport compared with a quarter (25%) of full time students.

Similarly, a second YouGov survey** confirmed these age differences in relation to AI for a hypothetical upcoming flight from London to New York:

Twenty-seven per cent of all respondents would not like artificial intelligence to assist them with anything for their trip with over 55s most resistant to AI in airports at 33% saying they would not like it to assist them, while only 17% of 18-24-year-olds didn’t want help from AI.

Students were most likely to want to use AI to teach them a new language or skill with 38% choosing this option.

Difference between men and women

One survey* suggested that women seem to be keener on a real-world sensory experience, involving direct human interaction – for the question “You will be served an array of small luxury handmade chocolates and a pink cider. The staff serving you will explain how each is made” it was a thumbs up from 21% of men while 30% of women chose the option.

Twenty-seven per cent of men would test drive a new luxury car in VR, while only 17% of women would.

A second survey**, about a potential future London to New York trip, similarly proved that women were significantly more likely at 33% to want a personalized guide to their destination than men (25%). Menwere more likely to want to AI to teach them a new skill or language (21%) than women (16%).

Most passengers are open to help and guidance from AI, but not with medical issues**

People in the East of England (14%) and full-time students (18%) are most likely to welcome on-board medical help driven by artificial intelligence, while those in the North East (4%) are less keen.

Charles Vine, Head of Brand Alliances at Spafax said:

“We commissioned this research to find out what the British public actually wants out of their airport and airport lounge experiences. Airport lounges in particular are evolving from faceless waiting rooms with chairs and a coffee machine to being providers of an experience in their own right. The results send a clear message to us that people want the introduction of technology, but only in a way that enhances their trip, entertains or is enjoyable.

“27% were against being helped by AI for a hypothetical upcoming trip, whereas a resounding 68% of the British public did want artificial intelligence AI to help them get the most out of their time at the airport – whether that be assistance navigating the airport terminals or speeding up the check in process. ”

The Spafax IQ Data Analytics Platform provides airlines with one view of their passenger engagement across all IFEC systems – an industry first.

London, UK | April 9, 2018– Global entertainment and media agency Spafax today announced the launch of Spafax IQ, a service designed to help airlines optimize their investment in entertainment across the passenger journey.

As aircraft connectivity rises and advertisers expect quality metrics for targeted campaigns, airlines are grappling with how to leverage the multitude of inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) data they have access to. Spafax is launching Spafax IQ to help solve this challenge for airlines.

The new data service provides insights in the following areas including but not limited to: IFEC content performance, passenger engagement with IFEC product, cost per engagement metrics and audience profiling.

Spafax Chief Executive Officer, Niall McBain said: “Spafax IQ is built to provide our airline clients with the insights they need to drive future IFEC product strategy and development. We use the latest research methodologies to build a detailed view of passenger behavior with entertainment while travelling and their expectations for richer, more valuable content experiences across every stage of the journey.”

Making its debut at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg this month, the Spafax IQ Data Analytics Platform is the first product to give airlines one view of their passenger engagement across all IFEC systems. Additionally, the platform helps airlines enhance the passenger experience through predictive analysis and increase revenue from advertising and brand partnerships.

Spafax Vice President of Entertainment, Henry Gummer said: “We’re always looking for ways to help our clients get the most of their entertainment investment. Our Spafax IQ Data Analytics Platform is designed to improve ROI for entertainment and provides an easy-to-use-tool that allows our clients to run reports and generate insights for evidence-driven content strategies.”

Spafax IQ also provide insights on content performance against airline competitors. The service includes regular analysis and support from a Spafax team of data experts.

Here we go again! The next few issues of IFExpress will update you on what we saw at AIX 2017 – and there was a lot. We should note that while we received no show data from the PR/AIX troops, we can tell you it was BIG. Again this year, there was an IFEC Zone  that was dedicated to everything inflight entertainment and connectivity related. So here we go!

SIE & Dassault Systemes
Summary: Dassault Systemes and SIE have teamed to facilitate the development of “License-to-Fly” (LTF), a software development tool that greatly accelerates the design and certification process.  As many people know, Dassault Systemes is the provider of the aerospace industry standard 3D engineering tool CATIA, and SIE is the highly-regarded Aircraft Engineering & Certification firm responsible for numerous TC & STC projects.

LTF allows engineers, on an ongoing basis, to integrate the design development with the certification requirements thereby speeding up the Aircraft Certification process and reducing the overall cost by as much as 15%.  Known within Dassault as “Collaborative Innovation”, there is a continuous feedback loop between the design and the certification database verification that reduces error and rework in the development process.

LTF is a software design tool that enhances the standard CATIA 3D design process and aids the design engineer in understanding if their design meets certification – the key here is it tells them when they make the change with the License to Fly software if the design change is compliant with regulations, thus saving time.

Historically, designers were forced to develop drawings then check the final product/result against certification standards and by removing the “check” step days are saved in the design development process. The net result is time and labor savings and assurances that redesigns will not be required after drawing submissions. Furthermore, License to Fly permits cost efficiencies to customization. Today everyone is pushing for standards because the process of certifying custom design is so expensive, this product recognizes that customization is key and makes it affordable and efficient while doing so. The Dassault/SIE team makes a lot of sense – Dassault knows the software (CATIA) development side of the equation while the SIE folks are certification experts and the combined product will greatly improve the quality and time to market of the aircraft interiors components/assemblies that they design. Readers, expect to see a lot more written about this “smart” software.

“License-to-Fly is quite simply a huge game-changer.  LTF is the design/certification tool that moves the historically separate activities of aviation design engineering and subsequent certification work from a serial process to an integrated flow.  The result:  lower costs, shorter development time, higher quality design packages, and comprehensive compliance to regulations.  It’s an enterprise win-win for everybody,” stated John Courtright of SIE.

(Editor’s Note: IFExpress really believes that this product will change the design process. Further, we firmly believe this will be one in the many steps in the future of computer aided design in aviation. Think about this: future software technologies in almost every part of the airplane business will probably be seeing change within the next 5 years and this CATEA design development will improve and speed the design process. Additionally, the SIE people will most likely be undertaking an entirely new business sector as well.)

“Alexa, is my Lufthansa flight on time today?” If you think your Amazon Alexa is just for your home and ground-based information – think again. Spafax demonstrated their launch of a new Alexa skill as an IFE industry first – and IFExpress LOVED it! To give you a better idea here is what their press release says:  Global content, entertainment and media agency Spafax announced its new Spafax Profile Skill for Alexa, Amazon’s revolutionary voice-activated personal assistant. This fun, interactive service will be the latest addition to Spafax’s successful Profile entertainment personalization platform. Set to debut at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, the Spafax Profile Skill combines Spafax’s proprietary entertainment technology and Amazon’s open APIs to create a dynamic voice-activated personal assistant with complete knowledge of an airline’s entertainment offering. Passengers will be able to ask Alexa about what movies, television shows and music will be available on their upcoming flight, get detailed information about individual programs and more. “The Spafax Profile Skill will further enhance the pre-flight experience, a key point of contact between airlines and their customers,” said Kevin Birchmore, Director Sales, Technical Products & Solutions, Spafax. “We’re always looking for ways to evolve our digital products and the Alexa Skill is very much in line with our vision for passengers to interact with an airline brand across multiple platforms and services.” The Spafax Alexa program is divided into 3 phases. Phase 2 will allow the passenger to view the airline entertainment content pre-flight and create a playlist after login. Phase 3 will sync with the passenger’s personal device at the seat. Presently, the service allows the passenger to view the entertainment content pre-flight and ask specific questions regarding flight status, etc.

(Editor’s Note: If you are an airline and you want to improve your airline profile skill you probably want to get a demo of the Spafax Alexa feature and consider adding this to your passenger app! More importantly, IFExpress cannot wait until this feature becomes available and we can test and use it on our Apple Watch!!)

Here is a summary of the updates we received from the Gogo team at AIX
• Gogo has line fit for the A320, A330 and A380 for 2Ku we believe.
• Gogo is using the MODMAN (modem manager) from Kontron.
• Live television will be enabled in 3Q/4Q of 2017 and the first customer for the product will be Delta Air Lines.
• Presently, Gogo is running a 90 day 2Ku test in conjunction with Lufthansa Systems BoardConnect on Virgin Australia. The test is on a 737-8 and if all goes well it will go on the rest of the fleet.
• Currently there are 13 2Ku customers, two of which are Delta Air Lines and American Airlines.
• Gogo has recently partnered with SES for more transponder capacity.
• The company is targeting 200 installs of 2Ku by yearend 2017 and currently has a backlog of 1500 aircraft. Gogo states their focus right now is on the 2Ku product.
• Gogo is focusing moving their services beyond the passenger and now has 50K+ flight attendants connected. Their system also offers real-time credit card validation. Delta Air Lines will have their EFB’s connected via Gogo, as well as, their real-time weather service. The company noted that weather services are a key component of their cloud sourced data.
• ATG Next Generation is expected by year-end with a flight test in early 2018. The service will use a new antenna on the aircraft and new ground-based hardware as well. The hardware within the aircraft will mostly be the same but potentially with a new modem. Gogo states that the cost of upgrading to the ATG Next Gen will be relatively low because of this.

Lufthansa Systems
The following headlines sum up the news from Lufthansa Systems at AIX:

1. Surfing above the clouds: Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines going online on short haul and mid-range flights too

• Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines starting next phase of testing to include free
service to passengers
• Internet access also on inner-European routes
• Product launch in the first quarter, initially on 10 Airbus aircraft from the A320
• Three service packages available in future, priced at EUR 3, EUR 7 and
EUR 12.
• In the first quarter of 2017, the number of Lufthansa aircraft fitted out with Internet access will rise to around 20. One by one, the entire Lufthansa A320 fleet is to be equipped with the latest advanced technology by the middle of 2018. The re-fitting of all 31 aircraft at Austrian Airlines is planned to be completed before the end of April 2017. As well as Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, Eurowings also has plans to bring the Internet on board its
aircraft – estimated launch is to be by the end of the first quarter 2017. A total of 69 Eurowings aircraft are to be fitted with the systems by the summer of 2017.

2. More than in-flight entertainment: The digital BoardConnect platform from Lufthansa Systems

•  Lufthansa Systems presents BoardConnect 5.0 as the perfect platform for digitalization in the aircraft / mCabin enhanced with new features and apps

BoardConnect enables passengers to stream content from an airline’s entertainment offering to their own tablets or smartphones during a flight. The BoardConnect product suite is available in three hardware versions. In addition to the permanently installed classic BoardConnect IFE solution, there is also the flexible BoardConnect Portable version. It combines all of the technical components in a single device which can be installed quickly and easily on any aircraft. BoardConnect Portable received the Crystal Cabin Award at AIX 2016. The third option available is the BoardConnect Plus connectivity solution. Lufthansa Systems is responding to the growing demand for new on-board digital services by further developing its software – with the new BoardConnect 5.0, which runs on all three versions of the system. BoardConnect 5.0 features a fresh design with a new user interface and an open platform architecture.
“Our digital BoardConnect platform is far more than just a pure IFE solution. Airlines can use it to significantly improve their passengers’ digital experience and further personalize their services. It is also part of our company strategy to share our expertise so that our customers can achieve their digital transformation goals,” said Norbert Müller, Senior Vice President BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems.
The core of the digital BoardConnect platform is its open architecture. New technologies have turned BoardConnect into a kind of cloud provider above the clouds. It enables airlines to run their own applications in the aircraft on the basis of BoardConnect. This also applies to applications from an airline’s external partners, and it supports use cases for crews and passengers. The solution makes it easier for passengers to use on-board services as well. They simply have to connect to the on-board WiFi to access all of the connected services via a standardized user interface. The layout can naturally be adapted to the individual corporate design of each airline. BoardConnect 5.0 gives airlines numerous options for integrating new offers and generating additional revenues. The platform is designed for fast and easy technical integration.
Connectivity is the future of IFE, because on-board Internet is the prerequisite for real-time communication, streaming live events and additional services from external partners. Connectivity thus remains a focal point at Lufthansa Systems – for airlines both inside and outside of the Lufthansa Group. Among other things, the aviation IT specialist is currently working with its partners Inmarsat and Lufthansa Technik to install broadband Internet on the short- and medium-haul fleets of Lufthansa, Eurowings and Austrian Airlines.

3. Lufthansa Systems and Waves Audio demonstrate Waves Nx 3D Audio and Head Tracking for inflight entertainment systems at AIX

Lufthansa Systems and Waves Audio ltd are collaborating to bring a superior and immersive 3D Audio & Surround Sound experience to airline passengers.
•  Waves Nx is a high-end 3D audio solution that works with any grade of standard stereophonic headphones, offering tremendous sound quality improvements using preexisting hardware.
• Waves Nx greatly reduces ear-fatigue, allowing users to listen to audio content over headphones for prolonged periods of time with no discomfort.
• Waves Nx enables listening to 5.1 and 7.1 content over regular headphones, bringing an unprecedented cinematic experience to in-flight entertainment systems.

4. Lufthansa Systems – the right IT partner to help airlines go digital

Everyone is talking about digitalization. Many companies are wondering how to future-proof themselves in the digital world. Lufthansa Systems turned this vision into reality a long time ago. For years, the aviation IT specialist has been advising and supporting airlines in their digital transformation, demonstrating what sustainable airline processes can look like and helping customers implement concrete projects. The spectrum includes solutions and consulting services for improving the efficiency and differentiation of all aspects of an airline as well as for optimizing the entire travel chain for passengers.

5. Lufthansa Systems acquires new customers for its digital BoardConnect platform

• Use cases at Azul Linhas Aéreas, EL AL, Air Dolomiti and Lufthansa Group airlines demonstrate the flexibility of the BoardConnect product suite

Azul Linhas Aéreas (Azul) is the first American customer for BoardConnect Portable, EL AL has opted for the portable version in addition to BoardConnect Classic, and the installation of the connectivity solution for Austrian Airlines, Eurowings and Lufthansa is progressing. BoardConnect Portable has also been successfully implemented for Air Dolomiti. This wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution from Lufthansa Systems will soon be in use on more than 300 aircraft worldwide. The corresponding app has been downloaded over 5 million times. Lufthansa Systems is therefore heading into the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg this week (April 4–6) with a series of success stories as well as numerous new features to present for its BoardConnect and mCabin product suites.

Trade media veteran will provide editorial leadership to award-winning team; Caroline Ku promoted to Managing Editor

London, UK and Orange County, CA | April 3, 2017– Spafax, publisher of Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Media, is pleased to announce that Maryann Simson has been named as Director, APEX Media. In her role, Maryann will oversee the award-winning editorial team responsible for APEX Experience Magazine and its multi-channel platform.

Most recently, Maryann served as Director of Commercial Partnerships at noted industry outlet Runway Girl Network, where she created several highly visible integrated media campaigns. Prior to Runway Girl, Maryann was the Managing Editor at PAX International in Toronto. In addition, Maryann has worked as an expert freelance journalist in the Passenger Experience industry.

Spafax SVP and APEX Media Publisher, Al St. Germain said, “I have known Maryann for almost a decade, and I am thrilled that she will be leading this dynamic and creative team. Her expertise and industry relationships will be vital assets as we expand APEX’s information network.”

APEX CEO Joe Leader added, “Maryann is highly respected in the world of passenger experience with a level of depth incredibly beneficial to the expansion of both APEX and the International Flight Services Association (IFSA). I look forward to working with her as we continue to work on behalf of our member airlines and vendors around the globe.”

Maryann will be based in Spafax’s London Office, starting April 24, 2017. Caroline Ku, who most recently served as Acting Editor, has been promoted to Managing Editor and will provide additional leadership for the APEX Media team in Montreal.

Launch of the new Amazon Alexa Skill from Spafax marks an IFE industry first.

London, UK | April 4, 2017–Global content, entertainment and media agency Spafax announced today its new Spafax Profile Skill for Alexa, Amazon’s revolutionary voice-activated personal assistant. This fun, interactive service will be the latest addition to Spafax’s successful Profile entertainment personalisation platform.

Set to debut at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, the Spafax Profile Skill combines Spafax’s proprietary entertainment technology and Amazon’s open APIs to create a dynamic voice-activated personal assistant with complete knowledge of an airline’s entertainment offering. Passengers will be able to ask Alexa about what movies, television shows and music will be available on their upcoming flight, get detailed information about individual programs and more.

“The Spafax Profile Skill will further enhance the pre-flight experience, a key point of contact between airlines and their customers,” said Kevin Birchmore, Director Sales, Technical Products & Solutions, Spafax. “We’re always looking for ways to evolve our digital products and the Alexa Skill is very much in line with our vision for passengers to interact with an airline brand across multiple platforms and services.”

“We believe conversational technology represents a powerful tool to reimagine the customer experience and we’re thrilled to offer our clients this new and exciting way to engage with their passengers,” said Tony Taverner, Chief Technical Officer, Spafax.

Hollywood, CA | May 10, 2016– Paramount Pictures has selected The Hub, Spafax’s state-of-the-art facility located in the heart of Hollywood, as its exclusive non-theatrical post-production lab. The Hub will provide a full array of technical services, including editing, subtitling, closed-captioning and encoding of feature films for non-theatrical exhibition.

“The Hub is a world-class facility boasting the latest technology required for delivering high quality Paramount content to in-flight and other non-theatrical markets,” said Joan Filippini, Paramount’s SVP, Non-Theatrical Distribution. “The ways in which we all enjoy content have changed drastically in the past few years. The Hub is at the forefront of important consumer and technological trends while maintaining a proven track record of delivery. Furthermore, our Worldwide Technical Operations team is thrilled to have an important partner located so close to our lot here in Hollywood.”

Spafax Chief Technical Officer, Tony Taverner added, “We’re honored to be selected by Paramount. Paramount’s award-winning content is crucial to our clients’ entertainment offerings, and we look forward to being their exclusive non-theatrical post-production facility.”

The Hub is located at the historic Sunset-Gower Studios in Hollywood and currently delivers over 15,000 audio and video files each month. Equipped with a fully automated and digital workflow from file release to delivery, The Hub offers flawless content delivery to any platform, including embedded and wireless in-flight entertainment systems, streaming and mobile.

The facility also provides Spafax’s technical services team with access to additional world-class production amenities within the lot, including 23 stages and over 700,000 square feet of production support space, recording studios and viewing theaters

  • Marks live debut of Spafax’s ICON family of digital products

Frankfurt, Germany | March 3, 2016– The Lufthansa Group, along with global content and media agency Spafax have launched an innovative new entertainment personalization platform. Using technology developed by Spafax, will provide Lufthansa passengers with a wealth of information about the programming on upcoming flights via a highly interactive experience.

The new site features a full listing of all movies, television programs, music and games onboard, and the site’s design allows for easy navigation of content, equal to what passengers would find on leading entertainment portals. Visitors can view trailers of films, as well as access an electronic program guide to learn which sporting events will be available via Lufthansa’s live television feed Sport24 (on all Intercontinental flights). Dedicated feature articles provide background on Lufthansa’s unique approach to entertainment, and children’s content is given a special focus for those passengers traveling with their families.

“Last year we successfully completed an extensive upgrade in cabin interior, inflight entertainment and connectivity on all of our long haul aircraft. Today we are excited to take our web based entertainment platform to the next level, too,” noted Dr. Alexander Feuersänger, Director, Product Management Cabin Interior and Inflight Entertainment. “And this launch only marks the beginning: interesting features will be added over time for our guests to have an even more personalized entertainment experience.”

Spafax CEO, Niall McBain added, “We are always trying to help our clients use both content and technology to improve their customer experience. The launch of Lufthansa’s new entertainment platform using our digital expertise is a natural extension of their industry-leading onboard product.”

Future releases of the site will feature additional exciting features, including the ability to personalize content recommendations based on passenger preferences. The site is based on Spafax’s PROFILE platform, part of the company’s ICON family of digital products, designed to help airline clients take full advantage of new personal technology to provide an immersive entertainment experience that is not limited by the need for new hardware.

“PROFILE” personalization tool to debut with leading global carrier, Lufthansa
APEX EXPO, Portland, Oregon | September 29, 2015– Global content and media agency Spafax will be unveiling ICON this week at the Airline Passenger Experience Association Annual EXPO in Portland. ICON is a newly-designed family of digital products meant to create personal, effortless entertainment experiences for airline customers everywhere.

ICON will provide airlines with a powerful platform that ties together entertainment, media, and advertising to create meaningful customer engagement. The initial ICON launch will feature two innovative solutions: PROFILE and VOYAGE

PROFILE is an entertainment personalization platform that utilizes a custom algorithm to deliver wide-range of entertainment recommendations for customers and build excitement pre-flight. PROFILE will also track the most popular shows across different routes, cities and countries to create passenger-generated recommendations, taking full advantage of a full suite of social media integration tools to make the IFE experience more contemporary and collaborative. Moreover, PROFILE provides increased revenue opportunities with its ability to feature pre-roll advertising, takeovers and other media possibilities.

Leading international airline and long-time Spafax client, Lufthansa, will be the launch customer for PROFILE, with an expected debut in early 2016. PROFILE will compliment Spafax’s existing IFE programming and delivery services for the entire Lufthansa Group. The second ICON debut product, VOYAGE, is an exciting collaboration with Piksel, a global leader in the online video business. VOYAGE is a lightweight downloadable IFE app that requires no onboard hardware and enables airlines to go to market with an IFE solution in just three months.

Spafax CEO, Niall McBain commented: “The APEX EXPO showcases the best in airline entertainment and ICON represents the best of Spafax’s content and digital expertise. We looked at the world’s leading streaming TV and music providers and decided we could make an even better experience for our airline customers. We’re thrilled that our client Lufthansa, already a customer-experience leader, will be the launch customer for PROFILE.”

Dr. Alexander Feuersänger, Director Product Management Cabin Interior and Inflight Entertainment also noted: “Lufthansa’s vision is a fully personalized travel chain based on our customers’ preferences. Introducing PROFILE will be an important step for transforming our inflight entertainment product into a personalized experience”

Demonstrations of the ICON product family will be available at the Spafax Booth, #1819, this week at the APEX EXPO. Interested parties should contact Dougal Blennerhasset at +44 79 9008 9455 for an appointment.

London | August 18, 2015– Global content and media agency Spafax is pleased to announce that its Hollywood-based post production lab ‘The Hub’ has partnered with 3D audio provider Dysonics to offer 3D audio encoding as part of an exclusive deal for the travel industry.

As part of their technical offering, the Dysonics 3D audio encoding technology offers an immersive 360 degree surround sound experience. Expanding on The Hub’s impressive technical offerings, this new technology will add to the overall in-flight entertainment experience by adding surround sound to headphones.

“Spafax is delighted to be the exclusive agent for the Dysonics’ 3D surround sound technology to the travel industry,” said Tony Taverner, Chief Technical Officer, Spafax. “This state-of-the-art technology is being used to offer an immersive audio experience and will certainly enhance the customer experience in a meaningful and memorable way.”

“VAA is delighted to be able to showcase this exciting new technology onboard all our aircrafts, enabling our customers to further immerse themselves in the great entertainment on offer,” said Cathy Walters, Senior Manager Onboard Media, Virgin Atlantic.

“This deal sets a new standard,” said Bob Dalton, Chief Technical Officer, Dysonics. “In the fifteen years we spent developing this technology, the airline industry was always one of our key targets. With this partnership, we are now able to deliver our technology at scale via a leading global content and media agency and one of the most respected global carriers.”

Spafax is encoding in-flight content on Virgin Atlantic in order to create a 3D sound experience through headphones that accurately reproduce the effect of being surrounded by speakers. Using any pair of headphones, travelers can hear sounds moving from side to side, from front to back and up and down – and feel like the action is happening all around them.

Under the new deal between The Hub and Dysonics, the leading technology offering will have its Virgin Atlantic launch in August with two films: Fast and Furious 7 (Universal) and Bessie (HBO).

Itasca, IL | March 4, 2015– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading global aero communications service provider and the world leader in wireless in-flight entertainment, will partner with Spafax to support the management and development of content for Gogo’s wireless in-flight entertainment product – Gogo Vision.

Spafax is a global leader when it comes to the management and curation of content for the aero market and currently has partnerships with more than 50 airlines. Gogo Vision is currently installed on more than 1700 commercial aircraft on six major airlines and a growing number of business aircraft.

“Partnering with Spafax is a natural fit. Tapping into their global content experience and leveraging it for our Gogo Vision product will only strengthen what has become the industry leading wireless IFE product,” said Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo’s chief commercial officer. “As we begin to roll out this product globally, having access to content tailored to fit the needs of different cultures and regions around the world will be an incredible asset.”

“We are excited to partner with Gogo as they accelerate the global expansion of their highly successful Gogo Vision Product,” adds Niall McBain, CEO of Spafax. “Content is at the core of our business, and we know that our international team of experts will help deliver an even more appealing and diverse Gogo Vision entertainment offer.”

Spafax currently works with hundreds of original content providers, including all major Hollywood and international studios. In addition to content procurement, Spafax’s world-class operations team will provide assistance to streamline the content delivery and integration process, further increasing speed and reliability for Gogo’s airline clients.

  • Dutch office opening includes appointment of Joost Vosmer to manage regional business

Amsterdam | February 11, 2015–Global content and media agency Spafax further expands operations in Europe with the opening of a new Amsterdam office and appointment of Joost Vosmer as Media Sales Manager.

Spafax The Netherlands is located at Karperstraat 10 in Amsterdam, and marks Spafax’s 15th office globally and fourth in Europe.

Spafax won the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines IFE Media Sales business in September, which marked the beginning of Spafax’s relationship with the leading premium airline.

“Our continued development in the European market demonstrates the confidence airlines have in Spafax to support their consumer-facing programs,“ said Phil Peachey, Media Sales Director, Europe, Spafax. “We look forward to building brand partnerships on behalf of KLM and expanding our team in the Netherlands.”

Joost Vosmer is the local lead contact in Amsterdam, and is positioned to support all aspects of the KLM Media Sales business. Joost’s appointment allows Spafax to have a stronger product offering for advertisers in The Netherlands. Joost brings 14 years of business and sales management experience to Spafax, working across traditional, digital, and mobile advertising channels.

  • Contract marks first partnership between JetBlue and Spafax

New York, NY | September 8, 2014– JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ: JBLU), New York’s Hometown Airline™, is partnering with content provider Spafax to manage its in-flight entertainment (IFE) and Fly-Fi content offerings.

Following JetBlue’s launch of Fly-Fi, its industry leading high speed onboard Wi-Fi product in late 2013, and the launch of its enhanced all new seat back live TV 4 product offering over 100 channels of free live DirecTV™ and over 100 channels of free SiriusXM™ radio in spring 2014, the airline today signed an agreement with Spafax, a leader in the creation of branded content, specialized inflight entertainment management and custom publishing.

Spafax will leverage its global industry connections and expertise to bring JetBlue’s customers the very best in entertainment selections. From premium to independent selections, Spafax’s extensive suite of digital entertainment offerings will compliment JetBlue’s industry leading in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems. The brand-new Live TV 4 platform that is currently available on the airline’s Airbus A321 fleet, and will be rolled out across the entire fleet starting early next year, offers customers more than 100 channels of DirecTV® programming, 100+ channels of SiriusXM® radio and eight movies. Movies range from current Hollywood blockbusters to smaller independent films, as well as multi-language solutions for Spanish-speaking customers. By early 2015, all Live TV 4 platforms on JetBlue aircraft will be touch screens.

“The new partnership with Spafax will help JetBlue offer our customers the best and broadest selection of entertainment onboard, and our new IFE selection and Fly-Fi portal will provide an endless choice of options, no matter what you like,” said Jamie Perry, JetBlue’s director product development.

“We’re excited that JetBlue, which is renowned for its customer focus and innovative in-flight entertainment, has decided to partner with us at Spafax, allowing our teams in New York and Orange County to provide our best in class offering of inflight entertainment,” said Al St. Germain, Senior Vice President USA, Spafax. “Our expertise within the IFE industry gives us the ability to provide leading service which JetBlue customers have come to love about the JetBlue Experience.”

About JetBlue Airways
JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 30 million customers a year to 86 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 850 daily flights. Flights to Curaçao will launch on December 2, 2014; subject to receipt of government approval. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, an overnight stay is never required and the first checked bag is free (subject to weight and size limits and exceptions for itineraries including flights marketed or operated by other airlines). For more information please visit

JetBlue’s Fly-Fi product provides real broadband internet in the sky at speeds of 12Mbps-20Mbps per customer. Fly-Fi is currently available on over 60 aircrafts, and will be fully installed by 2015. JetBlue’s LiveTV 4 platform on its A321 fleet features 100 channels of DirecTV® programming, 100+ channels of SiriusXM® radio and eight movies. The LiveTV2e system offers 36 channels of DirecTV® programming, 100+ channels of SiriusXM® radio and six movies.

  • Beer to lead Spafax’s growing technical team in California

London | July 21, 2014– Global content and media agency Spafax has appointed Andy Beer to Vice President Technical Services.

Beer joins Spafax in this new role in the company’s Orange County office, bringing more than 10 years of experience in the IFE industry. He is also a member of the APEX Technical Committee, and will continue his place as a Spafax representative.

Beer was previously Vice President of Technology for Inflight Productions. He started his career in the music industry, as technical manager at Master Rock Studios and Phoenix Sound Ltd in London.

“We are thrilled to have Andy join Spafax and could not have a better candidate for leading our California operations,”Tony Taverner, Chief Technical Officer, Spafax. “We’re confident in Andy’s ability to grow out the California service offerings and be working on cutting edgetechnologies that support our clients globally.”

Spafax’s technical services team of 25 in Orange County, California is the production and fulfillment hub for our worldwide inflight entertainment (IFE) business. Spafax currently works with over 25 major airline clients to program, license and deliver their IFE content.

  • Contract marks growth in Integration Test and Release for Spafax

London | July 17, 2014– Global content and media agency Spafax has extended its service offering through a new contract with leading airline Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin Atlantic selected Spafax to handle all technical services for their inflight entertainment system, Vera. As part of this role, Spafax will provide integration test and release, encoding plus timeline and metadata management.

“Our continued growth with Virgin Atlantic demonstrates Spafax’s ability to exceed Virgin Atlantic’s expectations and provide best in class services for its customers,” Tony Taverner, Chief Technical Officer, Spafax. “This opportunity is unique as we are able to further our talents with the addition of integration test and release to our offering.”

“Our inflight entertainment is a key differentiator and plays a vital role in the overall Virgin Atlantic customer experience. We know that we can rely on Spafax to provide a reliable service and have selected them for their proactive approach towards streamlining services, creating efficiencies and providing a cost effective service. The Spafax team provide an extremely high level of technical expertise and we look forward to a mutually beneficial long term partnership,” says Reuben Arnold, Brand and Customer Engagement Director at Virgin Atlantic.

Integration test and release is a specialty in the IFE sector and Spafax is proud to now offer this service to its clients.

The Technical Services work will be supported by a new team in London and Spafax’s Orange County, California office, the production and fulfillment hub for our worldwide inflight entertainment (IFE) business. Spafax currently works with over 25 major airline clients to program, license and deliver their IFE content.

This news follows the recent announcement of the summer launch of Spafax-published ruby magazine on Virgin Atlantic’s Little Red UK domestic flights.

London, UK | February 20, 2013– Global content agency Spafax has signed a long-term agreement with Scandinavia’s leading airline SAS to continue to provide video entertainment and for new audio, publishing and production services.

Spafax will continue to provide early-release Hollywood and Scandinavian films and award-winning TV dramas, documentaries, children’s TV, sports and current affairs programmes. Chinese and Japanese films will be aired on flights to and from Asia.

In addition Spafax will provide:

– A new in-flight audio entertainment service including:

business and lifestyle podcasts,
new channel themed around Scandinavian culture,
multi-lingual audio books,
ambient, classical, rock, jazz and pop music channels;
– A revamped in-flight entertainment guide featuring best picks, reviews and listings;

– Branded content marketing promos.

Sue Pinfold, Executive Vice President for IFE, Spafax said:

“We are delighted that after fourteen years SAS continues to trust us with their passengers’ content experience. We are now looking forward to extending how we do this in ever more engaging, new and innovative ways.”

Gunilla Ait El Mekki, Head of SAS Cabin Interior and IFEC said:

“Spafax continues to be our supplier of choice. They have the expertise and knowledge of our passengers, who are discerning and sophisticated, and know what they do and don’t want from their in-flight entertainment experience.

– Spafax is delighted to announce two new appointments to its business development and software development teams:

May 22, 2012– Sam Still has been appointed to the position of Director, Business Planning, based in the Spafax London office. Sam joins the new business team, in which she will play a key role in planning the implementation and delivery of new products and services, in both the core IFE business and in the fast growing digital business areas that Spafax is delivering for new and existing clients.

Sue Pinfold, Executive Vice President of IFE for Spafax says that “I am really delighted to welcome aboard someone with Sam’s wealth of experience and knowledge across so many key areas of the business. At this exciting time in Spafax’s continued growth and development, she will make a great addition to our new business team”.

Before joining Spafax, Sam spent 17 years at Inflight Productions, where she worked as International Licensing Manager and before that in a range of account management positions. This included a number of years as Account Director for Air New Zealand. Her responsibilities ranged from the development of content licensing strategies to the management of key client service and programming activities, for clients as varied as American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways.

Also joining Spafax in London is Dan McInerney, where he recently took up the post of Software Development Manager. Dan was also previously at Inflight Productions, where he spent 12 years leading the team that developed and implemented tools for the efficient online administration of IFE operational procedures and metadata management. He will now be working with the Spafax software team to support the continued enhancement of Spafax’s existing IFE management products and the rollout of even more features to support the integration of future system developments.

Tony Taverner, Group Technical Director and himself a recent addition to the Spafax leadership team, welcomes Dan to the group, commenting that “Dan’s highly specialised understanding of the inner workings of the IFE business will be a great asset to all of us at Spafax and of course to our clients”.

London, UK | April 1, 2012– Spafax is pleased to announce the appointment of Joan Barker, as Group Business Development Director, effective immediately. Joan will be working with the Spafax IFE Management Team on new business development opportunities, as well as leading select initiatives outside the IFE sector.

For many years Joan led Sales & Marketing at Inflight Productions (IFP), forming a crucial part of IFP’s executive management. At IFP, Joan led key client relationships with a number of global airlines, spearheaded the growth of their movie division and launched several new initiatives. After a year away from the inflight entertainment business, Joan returns to the industry refreshed for a role which will utilize her strengths across Spafax’s wide array of services.

Spafax CEO Niall McBain says, “Spafax is more active in development efforts than ever before. With that in mind, it is a tremendous advantage to have Joan join us. Joan’s experience, insights and energy will be a great asset in supporting our IFE team in their current efforts. She will also help us extend and deepen our relationships and opportunities around the world.”

Joan herself adds, “Spafax is a leader in the IFE business, and I look forward to joining a highly experienced team of industry experts. However, Spafax also has aspirations in new media markets, emerging regions and innovative client services. These will make for an exciting new purpose, where my experience, knowledge and skills will be put to the test.”

Joan will report directly to Niall and work out of our office in Dubai. She may be contacted at

October 26, 2011 — Spafax has been selected to provide inflight entertainment content services for China Airlines. Under the multi-year agreement Spafax will develop the creative strategy and manage selections for all Hollywood movies, which comprise the core of China Airlines’ IFE offering. The agreement includes full operational support and technical services, including encoding of Hollywood movies, AVOD management, duplication, quality control and fulfillment.

“We feel honoured to continue our strong partnership and friendly working relationship with Spafax”, states Lucy Lu, Assistant IFE Manager at China Airlines. “With your experience and expertise, we are excited and looking forward to more creative and enriched IFE content onboard our aircraft”.

China Airlines and Spafax have a long and successful history of working together, having recently completed a major content expansion and achieving multiple finalist places at this year’s APEX Passenger Choice Awards. “We are delighted and very proud to continue our 12-year relationship with China Airlines, and look forward on building on our many achievements in the years to come” says Geraldine Lee, Spafax Regional Director for Asia-Pacific.