Today’s image is ANA’s A380 with the Orange Honu Livery. It made us smile and thought our readers would enjoy seeing it as well.

PXCOM

PXCom luanches Sanitized Travel-dedicated apps for IFEC platforms. It is a proven fact that keeping the middle seat empty is nonsense both economically speaking and from an overall hygiene standpoint. It has been widely debated over the past few weeks.

However, inflight social distancing can be organized. Once again, PXCom brings to the market evidence that inflight servers can be used far beyond plain entertainment, by launching the In-Cabin Mobility Management (IC2M by PXCom) software suite dedicated to dramatically improve the inflight social distancing.

Such suite is formed of 4 modules that the airline can choose either separately or in a bundle:

  • Toilets Queuing Management to avoid passengers gathered around the restrooms,
  • Overhead bin access regulation to ensure minimum distance as a passenger wants to access to its personal belongings
  • Disembarkation Process, to organize a guaranteed social distance as the passenger leave the aircraft.
  • Muti-chat: Passenger chat to avoid passengers from different rows physically connecting to discuss and also, passenger to cabin crew chat to minimize surface contact.

“Our customers are really excited about these capabilities, as we anticipate a 60% drop down of unmanaged in-cabin movement” states Cyril JEAN, PXCom CEO, “Of course all these digital services are fully customizable in order to integrate each of our customer’s management rules in consistency to its product experience.”

Empty the seat back pocket

Earlier in 2018, Marketplace analyzed over 100 samples on 18 flights, finding mold, staph and potentially harmful pathogens. It is not about proven or non-proven contagion threat; it is all about the trust factor and passenger’s concern for their health and safety.

To respond to this passenger expectation, PXCom has also launched the digitized safety & hygiene card.

Upon his first connection, the passenger is displayed a swipeable safety and hygiene card, in his desired language, which content is directly bound to the aircraft he is seating in. Thanks to PXCom technology, the content of this interactive card is managed from the cloud-based back office and can be updated as often as the hygiene measures evolve, through the media content update process.

At the end of the swipe, the passenger can either acknowledge and be redirected to the homepage of the IFE GUI or jump into the destination airport’s specific hygiene measures.

This innovative offering complements solutions from PXCom that are already flying for inflight mag digitization, interactive meals menu cards and onboard shopping catalog, that are also ancillary revenues generators.

Of course, air regulations still require the safety card to be physically present onboard the aircraft, but thanks to PXCom solution, cabin crew can be informed in real time about which passenger has not been through the card, offering such passenger to be provided with printed copies.

Trust is the new currency

Among the airline community, everybody has been largely informed that flying is still highly secure when it comes to contamination risks whenever passengers and cabin crew wear masks. But beyond the airline professionals, casual passengers are widely frightened by the idea of being contaminated during their flight.

As a result, PXCom Post-Covid solutions not only bring new capabilities for inflight hygiene, but they are also highly valuable assets that help airlines in regaining passenger confidence.

Easy to roll out on the w-IFE/IFC platforms, as any PXCom solutions, these new digital services are compliant with any seatback screens platform.

Definitely, an important differentiating marker in an ever-tougher period.


GOGO

Gogo Business Aviation hit 3,000 daily flights late last week, showing strong signs of recovery from the COVID-19 related single-day low-point of 378 daily flights in mid-April.

“I’m encouraged because we’re seeing several positive trends taking shape in the market,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “We’ve strived to be a good partner with our customers to get through a very difficult time together, and we’re now in the midst of a measurable recovery as flight activity increases.”

Business aviation hit a low point in mid-April when many aircraft owners chose to park their aircraft and 30 percent of Gogo Business Aviation’s accounts chose to reduce their spending through either account suspensions or service-plan downgrades.

Since that time, however, nearly 60 percent of Gogo’s suspended customers have reactivated their service, with approximately 80 percent reverting to their original service plan.

The number of flights flown with active Gogo service onboard has continued to increase, reaching 3,039 flights last Thursday, close to Gogo’s pre-COVID average of 3,500 flights per day. Gogo is actively working with customers to reactivate service quickly as flying activity increases, and installations of new AVANCE L5 and L3 are on the rise.

“I’ve been amazed with the level of productivity and engagement our employees have delivered to help our customers, and the company, get through this unique and challenging time,” Aguirre added. “And from an innovation standpoint, we have several positive developments that will be released in the coming weeks that will make your Gogo inflight experience even better.”


SITA

The global air transport industry is grappling with one of the single biggest challenges it has ever faced: how to recover from a historic decline in air travel, caused by COVID-19. While travel restrictions are starting to ease, and the ATI is beginning to remobilize, no-one knows exactly what the next few months will bring. What is clear, however, is that the industry will need to be able to adapt to a new – and changeable – operating environment; one that requires operators to keep passengers feeling safe and reassured, keep flights to time, and meet sustainability targets – all on a tightened budget.

Digitalization is vital here. Airlines and other businesses are going to need the flexibility, adaptability and automation offered by digital transformation to ride out the pandemic’s fall-out, adjust their business models and succeed into the future. To help them do it, they’ll need the right mix of solutions and expertise on their side – digitalizing to adapt to the needs of the future.

Many airlines are facing restart with a scaled back and more scattered workforce. They are also weighing up a lot of big unknowns: which routes should be reopened and when, depending on country restrictions? How many passengers will return, and how quickly? Which aircraft should fly or be grounded? And what size flight and cabin crew will they need to serve them?

Airlines are facing all these questions, while knowing the rules could change from one day to the next. Digitalizing technologies and innovations enable enhanced air/ground connectivity, communications and operational efficacy, and pool the latest real-time information, to support informed and timely decision-making. These prime resources help airlines flex and adapt to changing needs. While ideally being fast and simple to deploy, and intuitive to use, digital tools can also streamline routine tasks through automation to minimize workload.

Such solutions are very much the remit of SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, SITA’s connected aircraft domain of expertise.
Digitalizing to work smarter and leaner is the key. SITA has developed a suite of connected applications and services, and technological capabilities that help airlines work in this more flexible, adaptive, automated and collaborative way. They help bring enhanced operational- and cost-effectiveness, while giving greater visibility over the ‘live’ nose-to-tail operation – whether that’s around situational weather events or restrictions, identifying the least cost-routing channels available for ACARS messaging, the status of passenger, cargo and aircraft health, or fueling requirements.

With the SITA crew applications, airlines can ensure passenger safety and satisfaction onboard, while alleviating paper-based processes to make flights more sustainable.
Their cabin connectivity solutions, meanwhile, give passengers the low-touch autonomy they desire, enabling them to use their own devices to surf, stream, and pay and verify, contact-free.

And, for all of SITA’s solutions and services, they strive to work closely with customers to develop flexible business models that can readily adapt to reflect needs as they change.
“We’re here to help you through.”

SITA FOR AIRCRAFT is proud to play a part in advancing the flexible, agile solutions that can support their customers through this challenging time. They are 100% dedicated to the industry and its success and are here to help it navigate the right path to recovery.

Find out more by exploring their website.


AIRBUS

Following an extensive two-year flight test program, Airbus  successfully concluded its Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off and Landing (ATTOL) project.In completing this project, Airbus has achieved autonomous taxiing, take-off and landing of a commercial aircraft through fully automatic vision-based flight tests using on-board image recognition technology – a world-first in aviation. In total, over 500 test flights were conducted. Approximately 450 of those flights were dedicated to gathering raw video data, to support and fine tune algorithms, while a series of six test flights, each one including five take-offs and landings per run, were used to test autonomous flight capabilities.

The ATTOL project was initiated by Airbus to explore how autonomous technologies, including the use of machine learning algorithms and automated tools for data labeling, processing and model generation, could help pilots focus less on aircraft operations and more on strategic decision-making and mission management. Airbus is now able to analyze the potential of these technologies for enhancing future aircraft operations, all the while improving aircraft safety, ensuring today’s unprecedented levels are maintained.

Airbus will continue research into the application of autonomous technologies alongside other innovations in areas such as materials, alternative propulsion systems and connectivity. By leveraging these opportunities, Airbus is opening up possibilities for creating new business models that will transform how aircraft are developed, manufactured, flown, powered and serviced.

The rapid development and demonstration of ATTOL’s capabilities was made possible due to a cross-divisional, cross-functional, global team comprising of Airbus engineering and technology teams, Airbus Defence and Space, Acubed (Project Wayfinder), Airbus China and ONERA under the leadership of Airbus UpNext.

Also From Airbus:

Airbus plans to further adapt to COVID-19 environment. Airbus announced plans to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This adaptation is expected to result in a reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021. The information and consultation process with social partners has begun with a view to reaching agreements for implementation starting in autumn 2020.

The commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by close to 40% in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis. Commercial aircraft production rates have been adapted accordingly. Airbus is grateful for the government support that has enabled the Company to limit these necessary adaptation measures. However with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post COVID-19 industry outlook.

Following the in-depth analysis of customer demand that has taken place over recent months, Airbus anticipates the need to adapt its global workforce due to COVID-19 by approximately:

● 5,000 positions in France
● 5,100 positions in Germany
● 900 positions in Spain
● 1,700 positions in the UK
● 1,300 positions at Airbus’ other worldwide sites

These figures include the Airbus subsidiaries Stelia in France and Premium AEROTEC in Germany. However, they do not include approximately 900 positions stemming from a pre-COVID-19 identified need to restructure Premium AEROTEC in Germany, which will now be implemented within the frame of this global adaptation plan. The details of this COVID-19 adaptation plan need to be finalized with social partners.
While compulsory actions cannot be ruled out at this stage, Airbus will work with its social partners to limit the impact of this plan by relying on all available social measures, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers. To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures. Our management team and our Board of Directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation. We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry. The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”


OTHER NEWS

What You May Encounter The Next Time You Fly

All of us know that we will experience many changes in the travel process as ‘non-essential’ air travel opens again. But what will it look like? And what are the airports and airlines doing to make the process safer? And is it sustainable over time? These are all questions that we have asked ourselves and have heard voiced from other industry pundits as well. So, let’s take a look at what has been, and or is being, implemented throughout the travel journey in the U.S.A. at this time.

Airports:

The safety, health and well-being of travelers is always a priority at any airport. But with COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting have certainly been stepped up. For example, at our local airport, Seattle Tacoma International, they have increased the frequency of cleaning with medical-grade products with an emphasis on high-touch areas and over 250 hand sanitizer stations have been added throughout the terminal. The Seattle Port Authority says that they have spent 5,270 hours cleaning and disinfecting each week and have “spritzed, sprayed, and dispensed over 1,010 gallons of hand sanitizer, more than 4,500 ounces of disinfecting spray and 1,135 containers of sanitizer wipes. “And we are certain other airports are following similar safety and disinfecting procedures.

Airports are also working on quickly converting bathrooms that aren’t already touch less to new fixtures for paper towels and automatic soap dispensers, as well as, faucets that are sensor-based and toilets with automatic flush features.

Every two hours the security checkpoints are being cleaned while deep cleaning and sanitizing TSA bins occurring after hours. Airports are also adding electrostatic sprayers that dispense a mist onto surfaces for an even coating of disinfectant that kills germs, such as COVID-19, in an effort to disinfect surfaces more often.

Plastic protective barriers that buffer interactions between travelers and airport employees are also common place, much like what we are experiencing in grocery stores, drug stores, etc.

In an effort to observe social distancing, decals are found on the floor throughout the facility at check-in counters, self-serve kiosks, baggage drop, baggage claim and throughout the TSA process. Travelers are also expected to wear a face covering throughout any touch points, to meet Center for Disease Control (CDC) requirements.

The Gate:

There are decals to remind people to observe 6 feet (2 meters) of social distancing during interactions with customer service representatives and other passengers. Seats in the gate area may be blocked in an effort to adhere to social distancing.  Overhead monitors and screens often contain reminders about this as well. And plastic barriers are in place at customer service desks.

Boarding Procedures:

Currently, many airlines have already started testing new methods of boarding in an effort to reduce the amount of cross passenger contact and observe social distancing.  Passengers are asked to stay seated until their row is announced, and many airlines are boarding in smaller groups, back –to-front.

But compared to the aircraft itself, which has well circulated air as long as the engines are running, the boarding procedure and area is poorly ventilated with passengers in close proximity to one another. Boarding is the riskiest part of air travel right now, at least from a COVID-19 perspective. Just think back to the crowded queue where we have historically been smashed together like sardines at the gate, on the jetway, and en-route to our seat prior to take-off.

There are some deceptively simple solutions that in the long run may change the way we board. Over the years, boarding order has typically started with anyone needing extra assistance (small children, the elderly, etc.), followed by higher status flyers on down to those of us traveling in steerage. It is not only an inefficient and time-consuming process, but it is a stressful one as well. Passengers lined up like they are on a commuter train, bumping into one another, hoisting bags into overhead bins, or walking up and down looking for available bin space is something we have all witnessed and experienced. Let’s face it; this is a COVID-19 droplet cross contamination haven.

In a poorly ventilated area like the jet bridge, packing people in close proximity even while wearing facemasks is a highly risky scenario and is needlessly dicey when there are better ways to accomplish the boarding procedure.

A few changes could include the following: boarding from the back of the aircraft forward; boarding window seats first, followed by the middle seats, then aisle seats. Organizing these sections in small groups in the gate area before sending them down the jetway takes time and space but could definitely lead to a new and improved boarding process. Another scenario that could reduce the number of people each traveler comes into contact with is boarding from both the aircraft nose and the tail of the aircraft, but this has its own set of organizational issues and would require a group of passengers loading from the tarmac via a set of mobile stairs, etc. Whichever changes to the boarding procedure an airline elects to implement there will assuredly be a learning-curve by both the ground crew and the passengers themselves, so it may be a good thing that load factors aren’t too high as these new strategies are put into place.

A total 180-degree approach to carry-on luggage could also make the process far more efficient and reduce the number of touchpoints as well. By promoting and rewarding checked luggage there would be fewer gate-side check-ins, less shifting and shuffling of overhead bags, and a faster loading process overall.

As biometrics become more prevalent the use of scanners to match your face with your identity will further reduce the contact between ground staff and travelers. This will also speed up the process as the amount of time spent fumbling for boarding passes and/or mobile phones will be eliminated. The biometric software needs some tweaks, but it is well on its way as it is already being utilized for some border control entry points.

The Aircraft:

Planes are equipped with hospital-grade HEPA filters that typically remove 99.95% of airborne particulates.

The air flows from the ceiling to the floor and creates completely new air in the cabin 20 to 30 times an hour so the air filtration systems cycle outside air onboard every 3 minutes. If you want more filtered air, be certain to open your personal air vent after you’re seated – that air is filtered for your seat only. Studies have shown that due to the frequency of air circulation, cabin air filtration is comparable to what is found in hospitals.

Airlines are requiring their guests to wear face coverings throughout any touch points and during the flight experience except when consuming food or drink. Most airlines have masks available for passengers in case they don’t have them.  If travelers refuse to wear a face mask they will be denied boarding and, in many cases, given the opportunity to reschedule their flight. Details about these requirements are provided to passengers in their pre-trip communications.

For the time being, some airlines are providing travelers more space and flexibility in order to achieve social distancing onboard by blocking off all middle seats on large aircraft and aisle seats on smaller aircraft.

In the U.S.A. all airline employees and business partners who cannot maintain six feet of social distance during interactions with travelers or co-workers, including pilots, flight attendants, and customer service representatives.

Aircraft Cleaning:

Airlines are continuing to use disinfectants that use high-grade, EPA registered disinfectants to sanitize critical touch points like tray tables, seat belts, overhead bins, armrests and lavatories, etc.

New cleaning techniques and equipment are being implemented by many airlines to reduce the already low risk of onboard transmission often include the following: 1) Electrostatic disinfectant sprayers, which emit a safe, high grade EPA cleaning solution that sanitize the overhead bins, armrests, tray tables, seatbelts, lavatories, etc. 2) between flights, dedicated cleaning crews cover the most critical areas using the high-grade EPA disinfectant. They also clean the pilot/flight attendant spaces. 3) Individual hand sanitizer wipes are available onboard.

With all of the procedures in place, it is beginning to feel like air travel is perhaps safer than it ever has been – at least from a COVID-19 perspective! One thing is for certain, these changes will continue to be tailored over time and they are most likely here to stay for the foreseeable future.


Other News

Honeywell working to protect people returning to work and public places with individual personal protective equipment kits

Phoenix, AZ | June 2, 2020–Honeywell is helping provide a safer and healthier travel experience with new Honeywell Safety Packs designed to better protect airline passengers and crew while flying.

The kits — which come in sealed packets containing gloves, masks and hand wipes — are a part of Honeywell’s comprehensive efforts to help protect people as they return to public spaces and workplaces. These efforts include new technology to detect elevated body temperature, monitor air quality in buildings and determine if people in large groups are social distancing properly. Beyond use for air travel, the Honeywell Safety Packs will also be available for use in office buildings, warehouses, retail stores, sports arenas, schools and other public spaces.

“We strive to provide airlines with products and systems that help keep their passengers and employees safer,” said Mike Madsen, president and CEO, Honeywell Aerospace. “That goal of making safety simple and accessible remains the same, but the solution has evolved. Through collaboration with other Honeywell businesses, we acted quickly to develop a brand-new solution for aircraft hygiene.”

A recent informal survey conducted by Honeywell found that frequent flyers desire personal protective equipment, and that an array of solutions will help give them peace of mind to travel again.

“Health and safety are at the core of everything we do at Honeywell, and we’re bringing new solutions to the market that build on our long legacy of safety innovation,” said Will Lange, president of Honeywell’s personal protective equipment business. “From body temperature monitoring systems powered by artificial intelligence to N95 face masks, we’re helping improve safety for workers and workplaces.”

Honeywell offers two versions of the safety packs for air travel: one for passengers and one for the flight crew. The passenger version is designed for single use and contains latex-free gloves, a safety mask and hand wipes. Kits for crews and airline employees are available for single or longer-term use, with an option for a reusable version that has a mask with interchangeable filters, reusable safety glasses and hand wipes.

Both versions of the safety kits come in resealable bags for easy transportation and are available for airline, cargo and business aviation aircraft. The kits’ packaging can also be branded by the airline.

Honeywell Safety Packs are part of a strategic initiative among Honeywell’s businesses to come together to quickly develop solutions that are helping important sectors of the global economy recover. In addition

to this product family, Honeywell is also developing a full line of products to help airlines manage new protocols for cleaning, screening and social distancing.

From the check-in line to the cockpit, Honeywell’s experience in air travel, spanning components, airport management systems, personal protective equipment and building management technologies, makes it uniquely positioned to craft innovative solutions for the individual needs and challenges of airlines, airports and aircraft operators worldwide. In addition to air travel, across Honeywell, the company offers similar products for buildings, workers, manufacturing, entertainment, health care and supply-chain solutions.

Frequent flyers want more personal protective equipment, technology to improve cabin cleanliness

Phoenix | May 26, 2020–An informal Honeywell (NYSE: HON) survey taken by more than 700 frequent business and personal air travel passengers indicates the types of guidelines and health-related equipment passengers may be looking for while flying during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The anonymous online survey showed that a majority of travelers (72%) were more concerned with the environment on an airplane than in an airport (28%). Nearly 60% of respondents cited social distancing as their top priority during travel, while about half of respondents cited air quality (51%) and personal protection equipment such as masks (47%) as top priorities. Passengers’ most-desired safety items during travel were masks, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes.

Cleanliness validation via technology was by far (60%) the most important way to provide confidence in seating-area-related cleanliness, according to the informal survey. Other considerations included providing cleaning supplies directly to the passenger (23%), followed by being informed and updated by the cabin crew (12%).

“This survey demonstrates that passengers want high-tech solutions to best validate the entire travel experience as it relates to health and safety,” said Kevin Suits, vice president, user experience, Honeywell Aerospace. “Honeywell offers a variety of relevant solutions today that we can bring forward to support travelers. We continue to speak with airline executives and transportation leaders about the types of new products and services that would support their efforts to further clean and monitor the cleanliness of their aircraft. We are quickly bringing to market new offerings that would be a win-win for our industry and all of us who love to fly.”

From an airport perspective, survey respondents were most concerned with the cleanliness of common areas, followed by the ability to social distance and fellow travelers’ use of protective equipment.

This informal and anonymous online survey, captured via SurveyMonkey, had 732 respondents split nearly evenly between North America and Asia, with a small number from elsewhere. The majority, 75%, were ages 25-44. Surveyed travelers fly equally for business and pleasure, mostly on domestic routes.

About Honeywell

Honeywell Aerospace products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft. The Aerospace business unit builds aircraft engines, cockpit and cabin electronics, wireless connectivity systems, mechanical components and more. Its hardware and software solutions create more fuel-efficient aircraft, more direct and on-time flights and safer skies and airports. For more information, visit www.honeywell.com or follow us at @Honeywell_Aero.

Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 technology company that delivers industry-specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywell.com/newsroom.

In response to COVID-19, procedure changes rolling out nationwide by mid-June

Washington | May 21, 2020– With the Memorial Day holiday weekend kicking off the start of summer, the Transportation Security Administration is preparing a very different travel season given the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. TSA has implemented changes to the security screening process that reduce the potential for cross-contamination at the security checkpoint in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. TSA has already begun implementation of these changes – with more to be implemented at airport checkpoints nationwide by mid-June.

“In the interest of TSA frontline workers and traveler health, TSA is committed to making prudent changes to our screening processes to limit physical contact and increase physical distance as much as possible,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We continue to evaluate our security measures with an eye towards making smart, timely decisions benefiting health and safety, as well as the traveler experience.”

Over the past couple of weeks, TSA has experienced a steady growth of travelers coming through airport checkpoints. As procedure changes begin to rollout in the coming weeks, travelers should expect to:

Keep possession of their boarding passes. Instead of handing their boarding pass to a TSA officer at the travel document podium, travelers should now place their boarding pass (paper or electronic) on the boarding pass reader themselves. After scanning, travelers should hold their boarding pass toward the TSA officer to allow the officer to visually inspect it. This change reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a passenger’s boarding pass thus reducing potential for cross-contamination.

Separate food for X-ray screening. Passengers should place their carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin. Food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process; separating the food from the carry-on bag lessens the likelihood that a TSA officer will need to open the carry-on bag and remove the food items for a closer inspection. This requirement allows social distancing, reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a person’s container of food and reduces potential for cross-contamination. TSA Precheck members do not need to remove items from their bags.

Pack smart. Passengers should take extra care to ensure that they do not have any prohibited items, such as liquids, gels or aerosols in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces, in their carry-on bags (water bottles, shampoo). In response to COVID-19, TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers are required to remove the hand sanitizer from the carry-on bag before being submitted for X-ray screening. If a bag is found to contain a prohibited item, passengers may be directed to return to the divestiture table outside of security with their carry-on bags to remove the item and dispose of the item. The passenger may also be directed back outside of security to remove, items that should have originally been divested (such as laptops, liquids, gels, and aerosols, and large electronics) and resubmit their property for X-ray screening. By resolving alarms in this manner, TSA officers will need to touch the contents inside a carry-on bag much less frequently, reducing the potential for cross-contamination.

Practice social distancing.  Passengers should allow for social distancing to reduce direct contact between employees and travelers whenever possible without compromising security. Noticeable adjustments leading up to the security checkpoint include, increasing the distance between individuals as they enter the security checkpoint, placing visual reminders of appropriate spacing on checkpoint floors and staggering the use of lanes where feasible. No two airports are alike, so this could look a little different at each airport.

Wear facial protection. TSA officers at checkpoints are now using facial protection. Travelers are encouraged to wear face protection to the checkpoint as well. Please note, however, passengers may need to adjust it during the screening process. Travelers are also encouraged to remove items such as belts, and items from their pockets, like wallets, keys and phones, and put them directly into their carry-on bags instead of into the bins to reduce touch-points during the screening process.

Travelers who have not flown since the pandemic are also likely to notice some other changes. They include:

  • Reduced security lane usage due to the reduction in passenger volume.
  • All TSA officers at checkpoints wearing masks and gloves.
  • TSA officers optionally wearing eye protection and clear plastic face shields at some locations.
  • TSA officers will continue the practice of changing gloves after each pat-down.
  • Plastic shielding installed at many travel document checking podiums, divest, bag search and drop off locations.
  • TSA officers practicing social distancing.
  • Routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the screening checkpoint area.

Many airlines and airports are also providing specific COVID-19 related guidance to travelers; please check with your airline prior to your trip. Travelers are encouraged to arrive at the airport early as COVID-19 has affected staffing and operations across the airport environment. This will allow adequate time for checking bags, completing security screening and getting to the departure gate. Individuals who were traveling in the early months of the pandemic became accustomed to arriving at the security checkpoint shortly before their flight departure time. TSA recommends that travelers no longer do so (or arrive well in advance of their flight) since more people are flying and new procedures such as social distancing have been implemented in airports, potentially adding time to the pre-flight experience.

For more information on the TSA security screening process during the pandemic, visit www.tsa.gov/coronavirus.

If there is one word that aptly describes the future right now it is change. Strangely, the Coronavirus has been on of the biggest drivers we, as change receivers, have seen in recent decades. However, the shift in lifestyle as a result of this pandemic will both facilitate and accelerate some major changes for all of humanity. Frequently, unexpected disruptions result in dynamic shifts that drive both economic and political change, which lead to dramatic lifestyle changes. More importantly, if humanity does not or cannot adjust to a global crisis does it represent an evolutionary step backwards? Over the past 100 – 200 years, we as a species have learned how to quickly address potential changes that threaten our existence, which has resulted in an increased life expectancy, rapid rates of population growth and population density. For example compare the duration of the Bubonic Plague (peaked in Europe between 1347 – 1351 killing an estimated 25 million and still exists today) to the duration of the Spanish Flu pandemic (1918 – 1919 estimated to have infected 500 million or 1/3 of the world’s population and to have killed roughly 50 million). At the time of the Spanish Flu there were no influenza vaccinations. If you read articles that describe the circumstances, conditions and preventative measures taken during the Spanish Flu they could be describing today’s newspaper articles about measures to battle COVID-19: no vaccine to protect against influenza, no antibiotics to battle or treat secondary infections, isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, limitations on public gatherings, citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues. Does this all sound eerily familiar?

The first flu vaccine was developed in the 1940s and soldiers fighting in WW11 were the first to receive vaccinations. Today an annual flu shot is widely available. Society no longer panics or is driven into isolation during the annual flu outbreak – even though it kills thousands every year. And COVID-19 will most likely follow the same route. But the real question is how much time will this take and what path do we take in the interim?

In recent days and weeks are are beginning to see what the path forward may look like:

TRAVEL – An increase in LOCALISM is not only obvious during these times, but the question is: What impact on lifestyle and travel will be brought about by the future of medical demands and safety needs? While the value of not being influenced by a neighbor’s health are important where people spend most of their time (home & work), the changes that improve the safety and security of future lifestyle will be part of the future changes. This means your future work and travel may have new baselines and tools. For example, your next job visit just may be designed to give you less time near workers, but improve tools to facilitate better connectivity and communication. Similarly, airplane travel will have to change equivalently. If the demand for “6 foot spacing between humans to prevent contagion” is a passenger demand, the price of travel and the design of the aircraft interiors will probably have to change. The other change will be the printed materials in the seatback pocket: the safety brochures and the magazines are touch points that are impossible to clean and harbor germs and bacteria – in other words: high cross contamination points. These items will need to be quickly migrated to electronic formats. Additionally, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see seat fabrics that are antibacterial and easier to clean than the cloth fabrics of many aircraft seats in today’s jetliners. Passengers may well demand and/or expect many of these safety measures to be put into place in the near term.

IFE – And while we are on aircraft travel, IFE and entertainment solutions will probably have to change as well. For example, embedded IFE systems with touch screens or control PCUs will need to be better sanitized between each flight segment – this will take time. Moving forward to next generation systems, the industry may look toward voice or motion control options instead of touch screens or PCUs, making for quicker plane sanitization and less contact points between airline customers. No doubt, inflight entertainment itself will need to be refocused to deliver subject matter to meet new requirements of passenger desire and need, content that matches on-ground entertainment competition, increase subject matter that focuses on health related communication, travel focus on new/safe travel destinations, and on and on. Finally, as travelers carry better audio/video quality delivery devices on products like personal computers and entertainment hardware, aircraft entertainment and communication hardware and content will probably eventually need to be improved to compete – but our industry has been talking about this for years. In the near and long term, this will also increase the demand for wireless inflight entertainment systems transmitted to passengers’ own electronic devices (streaming content, safety briefings, etc.).

COMMUNICATION – And while we are discussing IFEC, airlines will, no doubt, see a need for improved communication and relationship requirements with travelers. Why? As passenger interaction with their family and audio/video connectivity increases, the other world of interaction with airline ticketing, airport cost and experiences, crew interaction and aircraft interfaces will need some adjustments. Change to make the experience better, more helpful, and a better interface with lifestyle based on the impact of COVID-19 issues – and it certainly needs to be safer to use. Who knows, localism just may be the best and safe solution for travel needs in the short term? Also, there is much talk about the need for contact tracing and retaining that information for upwards of 30 days. From an airline perspective, this is where AI and Big Data need to come into play. For the past few years our industry has been addressing the concept of the seamless travel experience, where a passenger will be able to use whichever frequent flyer portal they prefer across alliance members. The resident IFEC systems would be able to recognize that traveler, know there preferences, etc. This type of connection with the passenger before, during and after the flight has the potential for greatly facilitating the requirements of contact tracing.

TRAVELER NEEDS -Presently, what the traveler needs most is confidence and assurance that the travel process is as safe as it possibly can be from a health safety standpoint. The airports, airlines and possibly the hotels need to work in tandem to increase their processes and communication to build back the travel industry. The need for clear requirements regarding the traveling public need to be established: temperature tests, immunity cards, airport procedures, etc. Communication regarding the sanitization efforts both on the ground and in the plane: what is being done to assure the health of those that are traveling. An increase in the number of self-check-in kiosks, as well as, self bag drops, are required. Also, baggage claim needs a procedure to allow for social distancing and a luggage sanitization process – we all know what a zoo this process currently can be! Boarding procedures, mask wearing, etc. all need to be communicated and it would be most helpful if there were some consistency across the airlines and airports on a global scale. The more consistent and familiar the process is for the passenger the quicker the build up of the industry will be.

TRAVELER RISK AVERSION: Some airlines, like Lufthansa, are promoting bookings through December 31, 2020 by offering the ability for travelers to change their ticket one time with no change fee regardless of class of service or ticket type. The rescheduled travel must be for the same route and be completed in 2021. This offer provides the traveler with some assurance that their money wont be wasted if there is a 2nd wave, etc. We expect other airlines to take this route as well.

Lastly, let me finish by saying that the path forward for the airline industry will only be successful through knowing your passenger demographic and better communication with that passenger. This also applies to the IFEC supplier and airline relationship as well. As always, communication is the key!


SITA (this week’s image)

SITA has stepped up its commitment to developing a permanent digital identity for air travel by becoming a Premium Donor of the Sovrin Foundation, the international non-profit organization focused on the advancement of self-sovereign digital identity.

The Sovrin Foundation is a decentralized, global public utility for self-sovereign identity. Self-sovereign means a lifetime portable identity for any person, organization, or thing that allows the holder to present verifiable credentials in a privacy-protecting way. These credentials can represent things as diverse as a passport, an airline ticket or simply a library card.  SITA’s expanded role is key to speeding up the development of a permanent digital identity accepted by governments, airlines or airports globally for use during air travel yet ensuring privacy and protection of the user’s digital identity.

SITA has successfully deployed its Smart Path technology at airports to streamline the departure process through the use of a single biometric token, where a passenger’s face is their passport at each step of the journey across an individual airport – from check-in to boarding. However, the shift in focus in the next few years will see Smart Path integrated with self-sovereign identity, controlled by the individual and usable across governments, airports and airlines, streamlining the travel process even further.

Gustavo Pina, Director of the SITA Lab, said: “We expect in the coming years that the development of a universally accepted digital identity will replace the traditional passport. This will allow travel across borders with any airline or airport while ensuring that you, as the passenger, remain in full control of your identity while providing actionable, trusted data only to appropriate parties such as border agencies.”

“The benefits include a reduced arrivals infrastructure, providing new opportunities to increase existing airport throughput by design and not expansion. Our work with the Sovrin Foundation will play an important role in unlocking that potential.”

Having joined the Foundation as a Founding Steward in 2018, SITA will now take a more active role in supporting Sovrin in the global adoption of self-sovereign identity.

Phil Windley, Chairman of the Sovrin Foundation Board of Trustees, said: “SITA continues to lead the discussion around the adoption of self-sovereign identity in the travel industry. The Sovrin Foundation provides the ideal forum to drive this agenda forward both with the fellow Sovrin Foundation members across the wider economic spectrum but also with key stakeholders in the air transport industry such as IATA, ICAO and Airport Council International.

The Sovrin Foundation seeks to transform the current broken online identity system which is open to misuse and fraud. Using self-sovereign identities could lead to lower financial transaction costs, protect people’s personal information, limit opportunity for cybercrime, and simplify identity challenges in a variety of fields including travel, healthcare, banking, IoT and voter fraud.

In addition to its engagement with the Sovrin Foundation, SITA is working with governments, airlines and airports to develop and deliver the benefits of travel using a permanent digital identity.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has been selected by Virgin Orbit to provide inflight connectivity for its airborne rocket launch platform. Panasonic’s latest generation high speed inflight connectivity system has been installed on Cosmic Girl, the modified Boeing 747-400 that serves as the carrier aircraft for Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system. Virgin Orbit is currently undergoing final rehearsals for an orbital launch demonstration expected soon.

The inflight connectivity service will enable Virgin Orbit to monitor the health of the launch system over land and sea. The high bandwidth capacity of Panasonic’s connectivity network will ensure Virgin Orbit’s mission control center can quickly and easily communicate with the rocket prior to launch.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says, “Virgin Orbit is set to deliver an exciting step forward in satellite launching technology, and we are thrilled to support their vision with our inflight connectivity.”

“Panasonic Avionics’ proven inflight connectivity services are used by airlines around the world to provide operational connectivity for not just passengers, but aircraft and their systems, and we look forward to supporting Virgin Orbit by providing a critical live link between air and ground.”

Virgin Orbit builds and operates the most flexible and responsive satellite launcher ever invented: LauncherOne, a dedicated launch service for commercial and government-built small satellites.

LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and will be air-launched from Virgin Orbit’s modified Boeing 747-400 carrier aircraft – allowing it to operate from locations all over the world in order to best serve each customer’s needs.

“We designed LauncherOne to be more mobile and flexible than any other platform out there, and that’s required us to implement innovative, cutting-edge solutions throughout the system. We’re grateful to Panasonic Avionics for their support — helping us keep eyes on our flight crew, Cosmic Girl, and the rocket as we fly out to our launch point. We’re certainly looking forward to having this technology in action during our upcoming launch demo,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart.


Other News

  • A total of 106 destinations will be flown to in June 
  • Mallorca, Sylt and Crete back in the program
  • “Great desire and longing of people to travel again,” says Harry Hohmeister

Germany | May 8, 2020– Starting in June, Lufthansa, Eurowings and SWISS will be offering monthly restart schedules to significantly more destinations in Germany and Europe than in the past few weeks. The repatriation schedules will thus end on 31 May.

A total of 80 aircraft will be reactivated with the “June timetable”. This means that a total of 106 destinations can be served in the coming month. From 1 June, 160 aircraft will be in service with the Group’s passenger airlines. The previously valid repatriation flight schedule was calculated to be flown with only 80 aircraft.

The Lufthansa Group’s airlines are thus responding to the growing interest of customers in air travel, following the gradual easing of restrictions and limitations in the German federal states and entry regulations of other countries in Europe.

“We sense a great desire and longing among people to travel again. Hotels and restaurants are slowly opening, and visits to friends and family are in some cases being allowed again. With all due caution, we are now making it possible for people to catch up and experience what they had to do without for a long time. It goes without saying that the safety and health of our guests and employees are of the highest priority,” says Harry Hohmeister, Member of the Executive Board of German Lufthansa AG.

Geneva | April 7, 2020– The International Air Transport Association has released  new analysis showing that some 25 million jobs are at risk of disappearing with plummeting demand for air travel amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Globally, the livelihoods of some 65.5 million people are dependent on the aviation industry, including sectors such as travel and tourism. Among these are 2.7 million airlines jobs. In a scenario of severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, IATA research calculates that 25 million jobs in aviation and related sectors are endangered across the world:

  • 11.2 million jobs in Asia-Pacific
  • 5.6 million jobs in Europe
  • 2.9 million jobs in Latin America
  • 2.0 million jobs in North America
  • 2.0 million jobs in Africa
  • 0.9 million jobs in the Middle East

In the same scenario, airlines are expected to see full year passenger revenues fall by $252 billion (-44%) in 2020 compared to 2019. The second quarter is the most critical with demand falling 70% at its worst point, and airlines burning through $61 billion in cash.

Airlines are calling on governments to provide immediate financial aid to help airlines to remain viable businesses able to lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. Specifically, IATA calls for:

  • Direct financial support
  • Loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market
  • Tax relief

“There are no words to adequately describe the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the airline industry. And the economic pain will be shared by 25 million people who work in jobs dependent upon airlines. Airlines must be viable businesses so that they can lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. A lifeline to the airlines now is critical,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Looking Ahead: Re-booting the Industry

Alongside vital financial relief, the industry will also need careful planning and coordination to ensure that airlines are ready when the pandemic is contained.

“We have never shuttered the industry on this scale before. Consequently, we have no experience in starting it up. It will be complicated. At the practical level, we will need contingencies for licenses and certifications that have expired. We will have to adapt operations and processes to avoid reinfections via imported cases. And we must find a predictable and efficient approach to managing travel restrictions which need to be lifted before we can get back to work. These are just some of the major tasks that are ahead of us. And to be successful, industry and government must be aligned and working together,” said de Juniac.

IATA is scoping a comprehensive approach to re-booting the industry when governments and public health authorities allow. A multi-stakeholder approach will be essential. One initial step is a series of virtual meetings—or summits—on a regional basis, bringing together governments and industry stakeholders. The main objectives will be:

  • Understanding what is needed to re-open closed borders, and
  • Agreeing solutions that can be operationalized and scaled efficiently

“We are not expecting to re-start the same industry that we closed a few weeks ago. Airlines will still connect the world. And we will do that through a variety of business models. But the industry processes will need to adapt. We must get on with this work quickly. We don’t want to repeat the mistakes made after 9.11 when many new processes were imposed in an uncoordinated way. We ended up with a mess of measures that we are still sorting out today. The 25 million people whose jobs are at risk by this crisis will depend on an efficient re-start of the industry,” said de Juniac.

Summit dates are being confirmed in the expectation of a start before the end of April.

Geneva | April 2, 2020–The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic data for February 2020 showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) fell 14.1% compared to February 2019. This was the steepest decline in traffic since 9.11 and reflected collapsing domestic travel in China and sharply falling international demand to/from and within the Asia-Pacific region, owing to the spreading COVID-19 virus and government-imposed travel restrictions. February capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) fell 8.7% as airlines scrambled to trim capacity in line with plunging traffic, and load factor fell 4.8 percentage points to 75.9%.

“Airlines were hit by a sledgehammer called COVID-19 in February. Borders were closed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. And the impact on aviation has left airlines with little to do except cut costs and take emergency measures in an attempt to survive in these extraordinary circumstances. The 14.1% global fall in demand is severe, but for carriers in Asia-Pacific the drop was 41%. And it has only grown worse. Without a doubt this is the biggest crisis that the industry has ever faced,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

International Passenger Markets

February international passenger demand fell 10.1% compared to February 2019, the worst outcome since the 2003 SARS outbreak and a reversal from the 2.6% traffic increase recorded in January. Europe and Middle East were the only regions to see a year-over-year traffic rise. Capacity fell 5.0%, and load factor plunged 4.2 percentage points to 75.3%.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ February traffic plummeted 30.4% compared to the year-ago period, steeply reversing a 3.0% gain recorded in January. Capacity fell 16.9% and load factor collapsed to 67.9%, a 13.2-percentage point drop compared to February 2019.

European carriers’ February demand was virtually flat compared to a year ago (+0.2%), the region’s weakest performance in a decade. The slowdown was driven by routes to/from Asia, where the growth rate slowed by 25 percentage points in February, versus January. Demand  in markets within Europe performed solidly despite some initial flight suspensions on the routes to/from Italy. However, March data will reflect the impact of the spread of the virus across Europe and the related disruptions to travel. February capacity rose 0.7%, and load factor slipped 0.4 percentage point to 82.0%, which was the highest among regions.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 1.6% traffic increase in February, a slowdown from the 5.3% year-over-year growth reported in January largely owing to a slowdown on Middle East-Asia-Pacific routes. Capacity increased by 1.3%, and load factor edged up 0.2 percentage point to 72.6%. 

North American carriers had a 2.8% traffic decline in February, reversing a 2.9% gain in January, as international entry restrictions hit home and volumes on Asia-North America routes plunged 30%. Capacity fell 1.5%, and load factor dropped 1.0 percentage point to 77.7%.

Latin American airlines experienced a 0.4% demand drop in February compared to the same month last year. This actually was an improvement over the 3.5% decline recorded in January. However, the spread of the virus and resulting travel restrictions will be reflected in March results. Capacity also fell 0.4% and load factor was flat compared to February 2019 at 81.3%.

African airlines’ traffic slipped 1.1% in February, versus a 5.6% traffic increase recorded in January and the weakest outcome since 2015. The decline was driven by around a 35% year-on-year traffic fall in the Africa-Asia market. Capacity rose 4.8%, however, and load factor sagged 3.9 percentage points to 65.7%, lowest among regions.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Demand for domestic travel dropped 20.9% in February compared to February 2019, as Chinese domestic market collapsed in the face of the government lockdown. Domestic capacity fell 15.1% and load factor dropped 5.6 percentage points to 77.0%.

Chinese airlines’ domestic traffic fell 83.6% in February, the worst outcome since IATA began tracking the market in 2000. With the easing of some restrictions on internal travel in March, domestic demand is showing some tentative signs of improvement.

US airlines enjoyed one of their strongest months in February, as domestic traffic jumped 10.1%. Demand fell  toward the end of the month, however, with the full impact of COVID-19 expected to show in March results.

The Bottom Line

“This is aviation’s darkest hour and it is difficult to see a sunrise ahead unless governments do more to support the industry through this unprecedented global crisis. We are grateful to those that have stepped up with relief measures, but many more need to do so. Our most recent analysis shows that airlines may burn through $61 billion of their cash reserves during the second quarter ending 30 June 2020. This includes $35 billion in sold-but-unused tickets as a result of massive flight cancellations owing to government-imposed travel restrictions. We welcome the actions of those regulators who have relaxed rules so as to permit airlines to issue travel vouchers in lieu of refunds for unused tickets; and we urge others to do the same. Air transport will play a much-needed role in supporting the inevitable recovery. But without additional government action today, the industry will not be in a position to help when skies are brighter tomorrow,” said de Juniac.

Read the full report for February 2020 (pdf)

Today’s Rectangle: AirFly Pro


PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Times are tough! Depression just may be around the corner. Read this: Deutsche Bank Economists forecast “severe recession” due to Covid-19 – Newsroom And as of Saturday, 3/21/20, the US numbers jumped up. Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Are Growing Faster In The United States Than Any Other Country In The World  I guess the message here is: As this virus grows, airline and travel news will dwindle, so IFEC news just might be a bit reduced!

The Farnborough Airshow – this year’s largest aerospace expo and a showcase for tens of billions of dollars of business deals – has become the latest major event to be canceled because of the coronavirus crisis, organizers said last week.

Editor’s Note: To give you an idea of how exposed the airline industry is to the impact of Coronavirus, the folks at Moodys Investor Service categorized it a 100% – the biggest exposure to financial risk!


AIRFLY

Despite the current state of air travel, we thought it might be  time to present an article about wireless earphone solutions for travel. The product for review is from the folks at AirFly – a Bluetooth wireless transmitter/receiver for your wireless entertainment earphones, in the case of the Pro version, a device that will receive Bt audio entertainment from an iPod/iPhone/or most Bt enabled devices and send it to a receiver/amplifier in your car, train, plane, or whatever mode of transport you choose.

This is an incredible product that amazed us with quality, small size (57 mm x 25.5 mm x 11 mm & weighs 15.5 grams – about the size of a pack of chewing gum), long life battery and a lot of functionality. Our product review should not only give you an idea about the value of the AirFly Pro, but IFExress feels this is the missing link between wireless headphones and wired headphone jacks because it it creates the wireless Bluetooth link between the audio source and your wireless earbuds or headphones on airplanes. We note, that there are Bt audio jacks being supplied in the industry (IFPL’s is a great product), but not all aircraft have it installed, especially the older jetliners that have not been recently refurbished.

AirFly offers four product variations:  AirFly Classic (one headphone), AirFly Duo (2 headphones & USB-C), AirFly USB-C (2 headphones & charges via USB-C with pass through power), and AirFly Pro (connects 2 headphones & has a receive mode that provides audio input to a device like a car radio). We tested the Pro and it delivered audio to two Bluetooth headsets – like it would do in an airplane; you and your seat mate could hear the same audio. Check out their website if you have questions or want to see more data on this clever product – AirFly Pro | Bluetooth transmitter connects wireless headphones to wired audio jacks – Twelve South Here’s how works:

  1. Be sure to charge the AirFly Pro module before you leave on a trip via a USB charge jack in the back. The company says you will be able to get some 16 hours of use out of it so virtually all of your flights will be supported.
  2. Setting up the device with your earphones or headphones is easy. We plugged in the AirFly jack to our signal source (iPod) and when we figured out how to put our Bose earphones in the “connect” mode the earphones and the AirFly paired immediately with a fixed light on each when connected. You will be surprised at the quality – it sounds as good as your earphones can deliver.
  3. So, when the movie begins on your next long flight, plug AirFly Pro into your seat’s headphone jack to listen to the movie with whichever premium noise cancelling wireless headphones you employ.

The company lists some of the usable headphones on their website (and there are a lot) but it worked with every Bt stereo headphone we tested. We need to also say the audio was really unbelievable and now we can take that hike with the iPod, without the wires – smooth! We also tried sending a Bt signal from our iPod with music on it through the device when it was plugged into the car radio input port – and it was great. Also, the unit can operate while charging if plugged into the USB power connection.

Lastly, we contacted AirFly and we asked their Marketing Director, Marlee Luttrell if the device was universal, and she said: “Absolutely! AirFly can pair any device with a 3.5m audio jack to almost any Bluetooth-enabled headphones (even hearing aids!). There are so many uses for AirFly beyond in-flight entertainment. A few of my favorites:- plugging into an amp or record player audio jack to listen to your guitar or records wirelessly- pairing Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids with your TV- Listen to your Nintendo Switch with your wireless headphones”

Beyond the auto or airline application this great little invention can be used in the gym, used in gaming, or on your boat. We even tried a wireless remote speaker and the sound was great!

Editor’s Note: Here is what might be happening to Bluetooth Audio – Bluetooth’s LE Audio allows better audio quality, hearing aid support – CNET


AIRBUS

Airbus SE announced that it expects production and assembly work to partially resume in France and Spain on Monday, 23 March following health and safety checks after the implementation of stringent measures. In addition, the Company is supporting efforts globally to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with its social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while securing business continuity. The implementation of these measures required a temporary pause in production and assembly activities at the French and Spanish sites for a period of four days. Work stations will only re-open if they comply with the new health and safety measures in terms of hygiene, cleaning and self-distancing while improving the efficiency of operations under new working conditions.

The same measures are being deployed across all other sites without full interruption.

For other non-production activities globally, Airbus continues to support home-working where possible. Some employees will be asked to return to support business continuity following the implementation of these new measures. In February, the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Tianjin, China, reopened following a temporary production stoppage related to the coronavirus outbreak and is now operating efficiently.
Airbus is supporting those in the health, emergency and public services that rely on its aircraft, helicopters, satellites and services to accomplish their critical missions. In addition, in the past days, the Company has donated thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe and has started to use its test aircraft to obtain larger quantities from suppliers in China. A first flight with a test A330-800 aircraft has this weekend transported approximately 2 million masks from Tianjin back to Europe, of which the large majority will be donated to the Spanish and French authorities. Additional flights are planned to take place in the coming days.

  • “Health and safety is our number one priority at Airbus so the work stations at our sites in France and Spain will only re-open if they meet the required standards. I’d like to salute the strong commitment from our employees to ensure business continuity in close cooperation with our social partners and other stakeholders. At the same time we are doing all we can to support those on the frontline to fight the coronavirus and limit its spread. We try to live up to our values, humbled by the complexity of the situation, and contribute as much as we can to society in these very difficult times,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury.

Airbus is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its people while maintaining delivery capability for its products and services to its customers

Also, Airbus SE announced measures to bolster its liquidity and balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to assess the ongoing situation and the impact on its business, customers, suppliers and the industry as a whole.

Reflecting the Company’s prudent balance sheet policy and to ensure financial flexibility, Airbus’ management has received approval from the Board of Directors to: secure a new credit facility amounting to 15 billion Euro in addition to the existing 3 billion euro revolving credit facility; withdraw the 2019 dividend proposal of  1.80 euro per share with an overall cash value of approximately 1.4 billion euro; and suspend the voluntary top up in pension funding. Given the limited visibility due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the 2020 guidance is withdrawn. Operational scenarios, including measures to minimize cash requirements, have been identified and will be activated depending on the further development of the pandemic.

With these decisions, the Company has significant liquidity available to cope with additional cash requirements related to the coronavirus. Liquidity resources previously standing at approximately 20 billion euro, comprising around 12 billion euro in financial assets at hand and around 8 billion euro in undrawn credit lines, were further bolstered by converting an existing 5 billion euro credit line into a new facility amounting to 15 billion euro. Available liquidity now amounts to approximately 30 billion euro.

By maintaining production, managing its resilient backlog, supporting its customers and securing financial flexibility for its operations, Airbus intends to secure business continuity for itself even in a protracted crisis. Safe and efficient air travel is a key backbone of global economic development and cultural exchange. Airbus therefore highly welcomes governmental efforts around the globe to stabilize this industry by supporting the financial health of its airline customers and its suppliers. Airbus continues to monitor the overall health of the industry.

Airbus has convened its 2020 Annual General Meeting in Amsterdam on 16 April. Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, Airbus discourages physical attendance and strongly encourages shareholders to vote by proxy in line with public health and safety measures.


BOEING

Boeing announced several decisions to support the company as it navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring the company is positioned for the industry’s recovery. Decisions include:

  • CEO Dave Calhoun and Board Chairman Larry Kellner will forgo all pay until the end of the year.
  • The company will suspend its dividend until further notice.
  • Boeing will extend its pause of any share repurchasing until further notice. The company previously suspended its stock buyback program in April of 2019.
  • Boeing is drawing on all of its resources to sustain operations, support its workforce and customers, and maintain supply chain continuity through the COVID-19 crisis and for the long term.

Boeing announced a temporary suspension of production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities in light of the state of emergency in Washington state and the company’s continuous assessment of the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region. These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers. Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity today and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations. During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work.
“This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. “We continue to work closely with public health officials, and we’re in contact with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who are affected by this temporary suspension. We regret the difficulty this will cause them, as well as our employees, but it’s vital to maintain health and safety for all those who support our products and services, and to assist in the national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Calhoun added.

Production employees should continue to report for their assigned shifts today and will receive guidance on their role in the suspension shutdown process. Puget Sound area-based employees who can work from home will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for the initial 10 working days of the suspension – double the company policy – which will provide coverage for the 14 calendar day suspension period.

“We will keep our employees, customers and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess the evolving situation,” Calhoun said. “This is an unprecedented time for organizations and communities across the globe.”
When the suspension is lifted, Boeing will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality and meeting customer commitments. This will be a key step to enabling the aerospace sector to bridge to recovery. Boeing is working to minimize this suspension’s impact on the company’s ability to deliver and support its defense and space programs, and ensure the readiness of our defense customers to perform their vital missions. Boeing will work closely with those customers in the coming days to develop plans that ensure customers are supported throughout this period. Critical distribution operations in support of airline, government, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) customers will continue.


OTHER NEWS

London | January 24, 2020–Technavio has been monitoring the global travel technologies market and it is poised to grow by USD 6.4 billion during 2019-2023, progressing at a CAGR of 9% during the forecast period. The report offers an up-to-date analysis regarding the current market scenario, latest trends and drivers, and the overall market environment.

Adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) has been instrumental in driving the growth of the market. Request a free sample report

Travel Technologies Market 2019-2023: Segmentation

Travel Technologies Market is segmented as below:

Product

  • GDS
  • Airline and hospitality IT Solutions

Geographic Segmentation

  • Americas
  • APAC
  • EMEA

To learn more about the global trends impacting the future of market research, download a free sample: https://www.technavio.com/talk-to-us?report=IRTNTR30318

Travel Technologies Market 2019-2023: Scope

Technavio presents a detailed picture of the market by the way of study, synthesis, and summation of data from multiple sources. Our travel technologies market report covers the following areas:

  • Travel Technologies Market size
  • Travel Technologies Market trends
  • Travel Technologies Market industry analysis

This study identifies widening application of AI in the Travel Industry as one of the prime reasons driving the travel technologies market growth during the next few years.

Travel Technologies Market 2019-2023: Vendor Analysis

We provide a detailed analysis of around 25 vendors operating in the travel technologies market, including some of the vendors such as Amadeus IT Group, Dolphins Dynamics, Expedia, Sabre and Travelport. Backed with competitive intelligence and benchmarking, our research reports on the travel technologies market are designed to provide entry support, customer profile and M&As as well as go-to-market strategy support.

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Travel Technologies Market 2019-2023: Key Highlights

  • CAGR of the market during the forecast period 2019-2023
  • Detailed information on factors that will assist travel technologies market growth during the next five years
  • Estimation of the travel technologies market size and its contribution to the parent market
  • Predictions on upcoming trends and changes in consumer behavior
  • The growth of the travel technologies market
  • Analysis of the market’s competitive landscape and detailed information on vendors
  • Comprehensive details of factors that will challenge the growth of travel technologies market vendors

Tourist interest in sporting events in new markets is increasing rapidly and Sports Events 365 has signed agreements with incoming travel operators in order to tap into the huge potential.

November 19, 2019–Sports Events 365 (www.sportsevents365.com), the provider of tickets for sports and music events worldwide, is expanding its reach beyond the company’s traditional markets to encompass countries where there is growing interest of tourists in sporting events. At the recent World Travel Market in London in early November Sports Events 365 signed agreements with incoming travel operators that represent around 20 different countries in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The countries include Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Croatia, Greece, the three Baltic states, Slovenia, Qatar and Morocco. The entry into these new markets is part of the company’s ongoing expansion beyond its main 11 traditional markets: the U.S., Spain, Italy, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Turkey and Serbia.

“There is growing interest by tourists to take in a football match or other sporting events in countries that are outside of our traditional markets,” said Sefi Donner, founder and CEO of Sports Events 365. He noted that countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Croatia, which have produced some of the world’s top players like Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Neymar, Roberto Firmino and Luka Modric, have witnessed a sharp increase in demand by tourists to attend matches. This is also the case with other countries taking part in the Champions and Europa Leagues matches.

The new markets are expected to make a substantial contribution to the company already in 2020. “We’re looking for increased sales next year and a further expansion going forward,” predicted Donner. In addition to football, there is interest in basketball and tennis matches in these new markets.

November 6, 2019–Through AlphaWise, we conducted a global survey of 200+ corporate travel managers responsible for airline negotiations. Overall, 2020 budget and demand growth are expected to step-up moderately.

We highlight the following key takeaways:

  1. Global Corporate Volumes and Pricing are Decelerating for Air Travel. Respondents in our survey anticipate ~3.4% global passenger volume growth (response-weighted), which is below last year’s ~5.1%. And on the airline pricing side of the equation, it is seeing a similar step-down with growth of ~1.3% versus the previous year at ~1.8% (both response-weighted).
  2. Travel Budgets Should Grow Slower Into 2020. Over the past year, corporate travel revenues have remained steady despite the volatile backdrop. That said, growth in budget expectations for air and hotel are set to be lower with respondents expecting ~4.0% growth into 2020 compared to last year’s forecast of ~5.7%.
  3. North America Domestic Remains the Leading Region. Global volume and pricing expectations vary quite a bit across the relevant regional exposures for US airlines. Specifically, North America Domestic is the strongest region again this year given its volume and pricing expectations at ~2.3% and ~1.9%, respectively, followed by LatAm, Transatlantic, then Asia Pacific.
  4. Premium Policies are Becoming More Stringent, But with Discounts Steady. Along with lower budget expectations, premium travel policies are becoming more conservative with a ~2x increase in managers pointing to more stringent policies in 2020. And on discounts, they remain steady and within the historical range of 10-15%.
  5. Delta is Still Best-in-Class. DAL has consistently screened as the preferred airline amongst corporate travel managers and again held this position based on performance across all polled categories. As such, we expect the airline to hold off any material share shift in the near-term, though note that UAL has made some gains in its relative positioning.
  6. Declining LCC Corporate Share Reversed. This year found corporate travel managers reversing the trend of decreasing LCC use with an up-tick YoY. Specifically, the travel budget allocated for low cost carriers increased to ~12% from the prior year’s ~9%. Overall, we view this trend as a potential disrupter for the Legacies over the long-term.

Read more here.

  • Runzheimer Report Reveals Insights on Business Travel Expenses; Hawaii Ranks Most Expensive State for Business Travel

Boston | October 3, 2019–Runzheimer, the premier relocation and living costs intelligence solution, powered by Motus, today released its 2019 Cost of Business Travel Report, which helps organizations and professionals understand the expenses associated with business travel across the U.S. The report revealed that business travel costs have increased steadily in recent years and predicts that this trend will continue in 2020. Specifically, airfare is anticipated to increase between a half of a percent and one percent, ground transportation is expected to rise two percent and hotel prices are likely to jump two to three percent.

Motus found that the average business trip costs $1,293, and although many people think of airfare as the most expensive part of a typical business trip, it only makes up 34 percent of the cost. Lodging (28 percent), meals (19 percent) and ground transportation (18 percent) combine to make up the majority of a business traveler’s expenses today.

“Travel is one of the most difficult expense categories to control. By understanding the costs of business travel in detail, organizations can gain deeper insight into their T&E expenses,” said Ken Robinson, market research analyst for Motus. “These insights can be extremely valuable to a wide range of professionals. For example, finance professionals can forecast more accurate travel budgets, event planners can understand the true costs of the locations they choose and government officials can make sure that their cities are competitive destinations to attract business travelers.”

The report also reveals location-specific insights for business travelers and their organizations to keep in mind as they plan business travel, as high cost areas can range as much as 55 percent higher than the U.S. average, due to price variations related to lodging, meals, airfare and ground transportation.

The top ten most expensive states for business travel, ranked from most to least expensive, are:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Massachusetts
  3. California
  4. Vermont
  5. Washington
  6. Rhode Island
  7. New Jersey
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Connecticut
  10. New York

The cities of New York, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and San Jose are the top five most expensive cities to travel to, in order. These cities are likely to cost up to 55 percent more than the average destination when compared to cities such as Denver and Cleveland. Many of these cities are expensive for business travel because of high hotel costs, but other costs can make a trip pricey. For example, New York City has higher meal and hotel costs, but below average car rental costs. Boston has above-average costs in all categories.

To access the full report, please visit: http://in.motus.com/2019-business-travel-costs-report

Micro vacations and trips planned with shorter notice are on trend for 2019

Riverwoods, IL | May 24, 2019–More Americans will pack their bags for a summer vacation this year, but most are keeping their trips short, according to a new national survey from Discover. The survey found 71 percent of consumers plan to take a vacation this summer (from May through September), compared to just 58 percent in 2018.

The survey found that most consumers plan to take micro vacations (shorter trips of one to three days) this summer. Fifty-five percent of respondents said their summer trips will last one to three days, compared to 21 percent who said four to six days, 12 percent who said one week, 6 percent who said 8 to 13 days and 5 percent who said their trip will last two weeks or more.

In addition, consumers are planning their summer vacations with relatively shorter notice. Forty-six percent of respondents said they plan their trips three months or less in advance, compared to 26 percent who said four to six months, 11 percent who said seven to nine months, 10 percent who said 10 to 12 months and 8 percent who said more than one year in advance.

Younger Generations Travel Differently

While more consumers plan to travel overall, younger generations are more likely to take a vacation this summer than older generations, as 77 percent of Gen Z and 76 percent of millennials are planning summer trips, compared to 67 percent of baby boomers and 60 percent of the Silent Generation.

When it comes to accommodations, younger generations, 21 percent of Gen Z and 16 percent of millennials, are more open to staying in home rentals compared to other generations, 8 percent of baby boomers and 5 percent of the Silent Generation.

Younger generations also have different priorities about what they want most out of their vacations. Twenty-five percent of Gen Z and 25 percent of millennials are looking to spend time with their friends and family, while 41 percent of baby boomers want to relax on their trips.

Younger consumers are also most likely to splurge on activities while on vacation (36 percent of millennials and 30 percent of Gen Z), whereas older consumers said they would rather splurge on food and dining (43 percent of the Silent Generation and 37 percent of baby boomers).

Consumers Prefer to Use Credit Cards When Traveling

Credit cards are the leading form of payment while on vacation, with 39 percent saying they prefer to use their credit card to other forms of payment when traveling.

More consumers plan to cash in credit card points for their summer vacations, as 18 percent will use points entirely to pay for their trips, up from 13 percent in 2018. Younger generations are more likely to use points for their vacations than older generations – 38 percent of millennials and 35 percent of Gen Z, compared to 28 percent of Gen X, 18 percent of baby boomers and 15 percent of the Silent Generation.

There is a knowledge gap when it comes to booking trips with points, as 41 percent of consumers feel they do not know what they are doing when they book trips with credit card points. When asked how they feel about doing so, 29 percent of Gen X and 27 percent of millennials said they feel restricted in their ability to book because points dictate their airline and hotel choices.

“The core value of a travel credit card should be simplicity, especially in earning rewards while traveling, or redeeming your rewards to take a road trip or fly cross-country to visit family and friends,” said Laks Vasudevan, vice president of card programs, strategy and marketing at Discover. “That’s why our Discover it® Miles card offers a simple rewards structure – 1.5x Miles on every dollar spent on purchases. Plus no airline restrictions or blackout dates. You can easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases, all without an annual fee1.”

It’s that time of year again! From 02 to 04 April, the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2019 is being held in Hamburg // Crystal Cabin Award ceremony on 2 April

Hamburg, Germany | March 28, 2019– For the international aviation industry, it is one of THE high- lights in the annual calendar: the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, the leading global trade show for everything to do with aircraft cabins, passenger experience and on- board products. And in 2019, the event is celebrating its 20th birthday. Thousands of airline managers, manufacturers, suppliers and journalists from all over the world will gather in the German city from 02 to 04 April, to view and discuss the latest trends in aircraft seats and in-flight entertainment at more than 500 stands. The absolute vanguard amongst the innovative concepts this year will be crowned by an international expert jury on the evening of 2 April at the Crystal Cabin Awards, an initiative of Hamburg Aviation.

Hamburg’s First Mayor to visit the Aircraft Interiors Expo for the first time

This year, Hamburg’s First Mayor, Dr Peter Tschentscher, will be visiting the Aircraft Interiors Expo for the first time. During a tour of the event on the morning of Wednes- day 3 April, he will get an overview of Hamburg’s participants in the world’s biggest aircraft interiors show. The northern German metropolitan region is considered the world’s most important site for this rapidly growing segment. It is not just major corporations such as Airbus and Lufthansa Technik that have concentrated their world- wide activities in the field here. Dozens of suppliers of all sizes, research institutions, such as the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research and, on the university side, the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences have a focus on aircraft interiors here.

Hamburg’s First Mayor, Dr Peter Tschentscher, comments: “The final assembly and delivery of one in every six airliners worldwide takes place in Hamburg. More than 40,000 highly qualified specialists work in the civil aviation industry in Hamburg. Some 3,000 of them are in the field of cabin development. The Aircraft Interiors Expo underlines our status as an important location for this field. The Customer Definition Center at Airbus has contributed to this development by allowing the airlines to tailor their cabins with the latest technology. And the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research also plays a role with innovative developments that optimise cabins and associated technologies.”

Boom industry: the growing importance of aircraft interiors

Worldwide, air transport is growing rapidly, and already, around the globe, more than 120,000 flights take off every day, carrying over 10 million passengers. The atmos- phere and services on board are increasingly serving the role of a “business card” for airlines, especially in the premium segment. At the same time, every square centimeter of space is precious. If the aircraft cabin were an apartment, the monthly rental would equate to some 1,400 euros per square meter. Just how to increase passenger comfort in a tightly packed Economy cabin therefore continues to be one of the most important areas for products at the show.

Crystal Cabin Award crowns the best concepts of the year

The leading international innovations and concepts this year will be selected at the Crystal Cabin Awards, to be presented in eight categories at a formal ceremony in the Great Stock Exchange Hall of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, on the evening of 2 April. The independent industry prize, an initiative of Hamburg Aviation, is one of the most coveted honours in the aviation industry for airlines, manufacturers, suppliers and universities alike, and it is closely watched by media from all over the world. The guest list for the evening event this year is full of famous names, too. Alongside political heavyweights such as Hamburg’s First Mayor, Dr Peter Tschentscher and the Coordinator of Aerospace Policy for the Federal German Government, Thomas Jarzombek, there are also several CEOs from the aviation industry,y along with top stars such as model Toni Garrn and Emirates President Sir Tim Clark. On Wednesday 3 April, at 2:30 p.m., all victors will be at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in person to present their concepts in the Cabin Space LIVE Auditorium on the 1st floor of Hall B4. Throughout the Expo, the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery is located here, displaying all of this year’s finalists.

Strong Hamburg presence amongst the exhibitors

The Aircraft Interiors Expo may be highly international, but Hamburg is all the more present. At its stand in Hall B5 (5A20), Airbus is focusing on matters including long-haul comfort, using the A320 range of aircraft as an example. A major portion of the final assembly for these best-selling aircraft takes place in Hamburg. The A320 family was conceived as a short and medium-haul airliner. However, the new A321LR (“Long Range”) version can serve lower-volume long-haul routes without passengers having to sacrifice comfort. The Airbus Airspace cabin concept incorporates additional elements to improve well-being on board, for example with customised lighting scenarios and more spatial depth.

The Aircraft Interiors Expo is an important event for Lufthansa Technik (Hall B6, 6B80), too. The company, headquartered in Hamburg, now provides maintenance support for 20 percent of the world’s airliners, giving it plenty of experience of where there is room for improvement in the cabin. Examples include the galley area, where flight attendants regularly get chilled feet and colds because of the unheated floors, or the lack of USB ports for passengers to charge their smartphones in flight. The Lufthansa subsidiary has solutions for both of these concerns.

Amongst this year’s biggest exhibitors, once again, is Diehl Aviation, a supplier active in the Hamburg market (Hall B7, 7D20). Alongside a walk-through cabin model that brings innovative lighting scenarios and digital assistant systems to life, Diehl’s booth is focused on the essential matter of water on board. A retrofit antibacterial filter for the lavatory, the UV-LED Water Disinfection Unit, uses ultraviolet light to ensure that for the first time, passengers can safely drink tap water.

Krueger Aviation and zweigrad Design present a complete re-invention of the on- board lavatory in their multicultural aircraft toilet. The re-thought lavatory can be used in a sitting position or, in line with Asian cultures, squatting. The diverse utility of the room is completed with a seating area for getting changed prior to landing and a large baby changing table with animated figures. (Hall B6, Stand 6B70). Pretty much right next door, but with a very different focus, Airbus partner Altran will for the first time be demonstrating its Printed Electrics technology that won a Crystal Cabin Award in 2018, with live printing of electronic wiring for the cabin. Hamburg companies Silver-Atena and jetlite are presenting the jetlite Controller in Hall B1 (1A58). The device uses scientific algorithms and current flight data to calculate the optimal lighting scenario for the cabin. This has been proven to reduce the sense of jetlag.

The first point of contact for all Hamburg businesses and organisations this year is once again the Hamburg Aviation stand in Hall B6, 6B90, a shared presence with the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research. This is part of the “Hanse Pavilion”, the largest joint stand at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, organised by the Hanse-Aerospace supplier association. The Hamburg Aviation cluster is also politically active and will be holding a reception during the trade fair for a delegation of Canadian aerospace representatives, including the Minister of Economy for Québec, Pierre Fitzgibbon. The delegation is spend- ing the entire week in northern Germany.

Aircraft Interiors Expo celebrates its 20th birthday

The Aircraft Interiors Expo, organised by Reed Exhibitions, is celebrating its 20th birthday in 2019. It has become part of the larger Passenger Experience Week, which begins on Monday 1 April with the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) and continues with “AIX” and two other parallel trade shows, the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS). All these events are taking place at at the Hamburg Messe trade fair site.

 

January 23, 2019– Starting Jan. 23, on Delta flights around the globe boarding zones will be renamed to reflect the branded fare purchased, while still prioritizing customer loyalty.

The new branded boarding order introduces additional boarding groups, encouraging fewer customers to line up in the gate area at any given time and easing crowding during the boarding process. This marks the latest evolution in Delta’s multi-year work to bring consistency, simplicity, clarity and less stress to the gate and boarding experience, efforts that have driven all-time high customer experience scores.

Here’s what customers can expect on day one:

Previous mobile boarding pass

On boarding passes:

  • Customers will see the branded fare purchased, or Sky Priority, on their mobile or printed boarding pass – this indicates their boarding group.

At the gate:

  • Instead of featuring numbered zones on gate screens and signs, and in boarding announcements, customers will see and/or hear the branded fare they purchased or Sky Priority, letting them know it’s time to board.
  • For most customers, their place in the boarding order doesn’t change – the new name simply makes it easier to recognize. SkyMiles Medallion Members* and eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Card Members will continue to receive priority boarding.
  • Gate area boarding screen

    Customers will also see new color accents distinguishing each of Delta’s fare products and Sky Priority on screens and signage at the gate.

On the Fly Delta app and delta.com:

  • Those same new colors associated with each branded fare will be visible to a small number of customers in the digital shopping experience to start. A gradual roll out to all customers on delta.com and the Fly Delta app in 2019 is in accordance with best practices for large digital changes. And, this phased approach will allow Delta to gather customer feedback for continuous improvements.

Delta.com mobile

Branded boarding builds on Delta’s latest boarding enhancement, the addition of zone 4 in 2018 for Basic Economy customers. This change resulted in better customer satisfaction scores in every zone, with dramatic improvement for the reduced number of customers in zone 3 and double digit improvement for Main Cabin zones.

Delta continues to put boarding under the microscope, looking at new ways to organize and test concepts – such as the use of digital screens instead of static boarding signage, like pillars. To help keep customers informed, the airline has also been a leader in adding larger display screens above the door to Jetways and pushing boarding notifications from the Fly Delta app.

Traffic growth in the region will generate demand for over 1200 new aircraft

Moscow | November 20, 2018– According to Airbus’ Global Market Forecast, unveiled at the Wings of the Future conference in Moscow, Russia & CIS’s airlines will need some 1220 new aircraft* valued at US$175 billion in the upcoming 20 years (2018-2037). This means that the passenger fleet in the region will almost double from 857 aircraft in service today to over 1700 by 2037. Over the next 20 years, passenger traffic in Russia & CIS region will grow at the average rate of 4.1% annually with Russia being the major contributor to this growth. By 2037 the propensity for air travel in Russia will more than double.

In the Russia & CIS region, in the Small segment typically covering the space where most of today’s single-aisle aircraft compete, there is a requirement for 998 new passenger aircraft; In the Medium segment, for missions requiring additional capacity and range flexibility, represented by smaller widebodies and longer-range single-aisle aircraft, Airbus forecasts demand for 140 passenger aircraft. For additional capacity and range flexibility, in the Large segment where most A350s are present today, there is a need for 39 aircraft. In the Extra-Large segment, typically reflecting high capacity and long range missions by the largest aircraft types including the A350-1000 and the A380, Airbus forecasts demand for 44 passenger aircraft.

Airbus’ GMF foresees that in the next 20 years airlines in the Russia & CIS region will continue to renew their fleets by introducing more new fuel-efficient models, while gradually phasing out previous generation aircraft.  The doubling in the fleet will require over 23,000 new pilots and 27,960 additional technical specialists.

“We see growth in the air transport sector in Russia & CIS. Tourism and business remain the key drivers resulting in an increased demand for new generation and more fuel-efficient aircraft. For over 25 years Airbus has been supporting its Russia & CIS customers in their fleet development needs, offering the most advanced, efficient and comprehensive aircraft family. We look forward to seeing more new Airbus deliveries in the upcoming years, including the A220, our bestselling A320neo Family and the A350,” said Julien Franiatte, Head of Country Russia, Airbus.

The passenger traffic growth in terms of Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) to, from and within the Russia & CIS region is forecast to increase at 4.1% per year on average over the next 20 years. The region’s highest traffic growth is expected to be on international routes to Latin America (+5.9%), Asia-Pacific (+5.4%), Middle East (+5.1 %) and North America (+4.5%).

As of end October 2018, almost 400 single-aisle and widebody aircraft were in operation in Russia & CIS, with over 330 of these in Russia alone.

 

Panama City | November 20, 2018– Latin American air travel is expected to double in the next two decades thanks to anticipated growth of the region’s middle class from 350 million people to 520 million by 2037, and evolving airline business models making travel more accessible.

Passenger traffic in the region has more than doubled since 2002 and is expected to continue growing over the next two decades — increasing from 0.4 trips per capita in 2017 to nearly 0.9 trips per capita in 2037. Historically, domestic traffic was the fastest growing segment, but in 2017 intra-regional traffic grew faster. Less than half of the region’s top 20 cities are connected by one daily flight, creating a great potential for the region’s airlines to build intra-regional traffic.

According to the latest Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF), Latin America and the Caribbean region will need 2,720 new passenger and freighter aircraft to meet this rising demand. Valued at US$349 billion, this forecast accounts for 2,420 small and 300 medium, large and extra-large aircraft. This implies that the region’s in-service fleet will almost double from the 1,420 aircraft in-service today to 3,200 in the next two decades. Of these aircraft, 940 will be for replacement of older-generation aircraft, 1,780 will be accounted for growth, and 480 are expected to remain in service.

“We continue to see growth in the region’s air transport sector, despite some economic challenges. With two of the world’s top 13 traffic flows expected to involve Latin America, and traffic expected to double, we are very optimistic that the region will continue to be resilient. Also, with intra and inter-continental demand rising, Latin American carriers will be in a very strong position to increase their footprint in the global long haul market segment.” said Arturo Barreira, President of Airbus Latin America and Caribbean, at the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum.

 

In 2017 Panama City joined Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Santiago and Sao Paulo in the list of aviation megacities in Latin America. By 2037 Cancun and Rio de Janeiro are expected to be added to the list. These aviation megacities will account for 150,000 long-haul passengers daily.

Airbus has sold 1,200 aircraft, has a backlog of nearly 600 and nearly 700 in operation throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, representing a 56 percent market share of the in-service fleet. Since 1994, Airbus has secured nearly 70 percent of net orders in the region.

Leveraging India’s Aadhaar system will create the world’s most efficient travel system

Air Transport IT Summit, Jaipur, India | March 22, 2018– With its leading Smart PathTM biometric solution for ID management now rolled out globally, air transport IT provider SITA is well poised to deliver a seamless, paperless travel experience for passengers across India.

SITA has already shown the benefits of using biometric technology to automate passenger identity checks at airports across the world – from the USA to Australia – and is well positioned to help unlock the full benefits of seamless, biometric travel across India.

Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa, speaking at the Air Transport IT Summit in Jaipur, said: “Leveraging India’s national Aadhaar biometric identity system – one of the biggest in the world – together with our proven common-use and Smart PathTM technology, SITA will be able to deliver a seamless biometric experience across all airlines and airports – both domestic and international – in India. This would allow passengers to use their biometric identity no matter where they travel.”

SITA is already successfully helping airports and airlines incorporate biometrics into their existing infrastructure and government systems. According to Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution, a SITA report published this week, airlines and airports are increasingly investing in various forms of biometric technology. Over the next three years, 63% of airports and 43% of airlines plan to invest in biometric ID management solutions.

In the USA, SITA is using facial biometrics to help passengers flying with British Airways from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to London Gatwick to quickly board where all that is needed is a photo – no passport, no boarding card. The system integrates the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) and airline’s IT systems to authorize boarding while completing necessary US exit checks in a single process. SITA is providing a similar solution to JetBlue at Boston’s Logan Airport.

At Australia’s Brisbane Airport, SITA has introduced its Smart Path™ technology which allows passengers to register their biometric details at a self-service kiosk at check-in and then, when ready to board, use an automated boarding gate to be verified using face recognition technology to access the aircraft.

SITA’s vision for the future strongly supports India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation’s decision to work with the air transport industry to create a “digitally unified flying experience”. Citizens’ national biometric identification cards and foreigner’s passports could be linked with the databases of airlines, airports and other stakeholders to deliver a seamless, secure travel experience at every step in the journey.

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa, said: “In many respects, India is leading the way with the use of biometrics in all walks of life. We feel this presents an opportunity for the Government of India to work with the air transport industry and lead the way to drive new efficiencies in passenger processing and establish India as the world’s most efficient travel system.”

Aadhaar, India’s biometric identity system, has over one billion enrolled members. Indian passengers have shown greater willingness to use biometrics to speed up their journey through the airport. Research published in SITA’s  2017 Passenger IT Trends Survey showed that 70% of passengers in India said they would definitely use biometrics if given the option, removing the need to show a passport or boarding card at key points in the airport. This was well above the global average of 57%.

Maneesh Jaikrishna, said: “Many travelers are comfortable with the use of biometrics and see the benefits of using them throughout their journey. This aligns perfectly with the need to find more efficient ways to manage rising passenger numbers. There is little doubt that this technology is the key to resolving India’s constraints on airport infrastructure.”

India is expected to see passenger numbers grow by 337 million over the next 20 years to 2036, more than tripling from the 141 million passengers in 2016, according to IATA’s 20-year Air Passenger Forecast.

SITA automated boarding gates speed passengers through boarding using secure biometrics

Orlando, Florida | March 8, 2018– Passengers flying with British Airways from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to London Gatwick are enjoying a secure and seamless departure with new biometric boarding at the gate. A quick photo is all that is needed to board the international flight – no passport, no boarding card – thanks to innovative technology. SITA, the global air transport IT provider, integrated automated boarding gates with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and airline’s IT systems to allow the necessary checks and authorize boarding.

This is a joint initiative by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), British Airways and CBP to incorporate the US biometric departure (exit) check for passengers as smoothly as possible. SITA, using its extensive airline and airport expertise, has ensured fast and easy implementation for the airport and airline. By merging the usual boarding procedures with the CBP biometric exit check, SITA is delivering a smooth experience for passengers.  A quick photograph taken at the gate is used to confirm passengers’ identities and authorization to travel.

John Newsome, Chief Information Officer, GOAA, said: “This innovative boarding process is already proving popular with passengers. They simply look at the camera and within seconds the gate opens and they can board the flight. It is easy, fast and most importantly, secure. While we are currently using SITA’s gates for biometric exit with British Airways, they are common-use boarding gates so they can be easily used by other airlines at MCO.”

Raoul Cooper, Digital Airport Design Manager, British Airways, said: “Our customers are always our first priority and we want to make their journey as smooth as possible. Working closely with SITA at Orlando has allowed us to explore various ways of incorporating the US biometric exit check.  Together we have designed a really smooth and secure departure process for our customers, including children, as they leave Orlando. This complements the learning and insight we have gained in Los Angeles where a similar technology trial is under way.”

The option to board at Orlando by simply looking into a camera is available now to British Airways passengers on flight BA 2036 to London Gatwick. The trial will run for up to 90 days. Participation is optional and passengers can choose to provide their passport and other documents to an agent to board the flight. During the early days of the trial, the response from passengers has been very positive with nearly 100% of passengers opting to simply look in the camera and board the plane.

Diana Einterz, SITA President, Americas, said: “We are working closely with the US CBP, airlines and airports to test different ways of doing the US biometric exit check. This includes our recent award-winning work with JetBlue at Boston Logan International Airport, and British Airways at Los Angeles International Airport. We have designed this solution to meet the needs of all parties. It is based on industry-standard common-use gates so it can be used by any other airline at Orlando and by airlines at any other common-use airport.”

The use of biometrics is growing globally and SITA is a world-leader using biometrics to deliver secure seamless journeys for airline passengers. SITA Smart Path, which is in use in Brisbane Airport, Australia, provides a walkthrough experience from check-in to the aircraft door helping passengers fast-track through the airport.

SITA provides self-service solutions at every step of the passenger journey from check-in to boarding at airports across the world. More than 165 airlines use SITA’s passenger processing applications while its common-use systems board more than 100 million passengers per year. Today, SITA provides border management solutions to more than 40 governments across the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Einterz added: “SITA is the global provider to the air transport industry and we develop our solutions for airlines and airports so that they are scalable and work in multiple environments worldwide. Our integration of the automated boarding gates is being investigated with US CBP, British Airways and Orlando International Airport for speed and efficiency of passenger processing as they do accurate border checks. Our performance analysis of this trial will help all our partners evaluate how best they can use biometrics to meet their individual operational needs.”

Greece | March 6, 2018– Responding to the ever-growing expectations and demands of the traveling public, Hermes Airports announces the introduction of a new online system, displaying the routes available to and from Larnaka and Pafos international airports; connecting the Cypriot airports with the rest of the world.

The mentioned service is available on Hermes Airports’ website, under the section “Flight Search” and the direct link:

http://www.hermesairports.com/en/larnakahome/destination-map-lca. Visitors to our website using this new service have the possibility to locate all the available routes offered from/to any destination around the globe, both through direct and connecting flights.

By simply adding the travel dates and desired destination via an automatic research, the system displays all the possible options or routes available to the public and transfers the user directly to the linked airline and its website in order to either to book a ticket or to further explore his/her choices, based on the airline’s specific flight schedule.

With this new service, Hermes Airports website is upgraded, offering a complete platform of information to the public which includes a lot of useful information regarding departures and arrivals, options concerning the airlines and their routes and also a variety of information regarding the services offered by Larnaka and Pafos airports and material regarding the tourism product of Cyprus.

 

Vision-Box has just implemented a paperless biometric self-boarding
solution to expedite passenger flow and improve traveler experience


Princeton, NJ | December 20, 2017–
Los Angeles Airport is trialing an advanced biometric self-boarding solution by Vision-Box to clear travelers flying out of the USA in a contactless, quick and secure way.
The new passenger flow solution allows travelers to board their aircraft in just a few seconds simply by looking into a high-resolution face capture system at the traveler- friendly flow-control gateway. No need to present their travel document or boarding pass anymore. The system deployed by Vision-Box captures a live, high quality image of the traveler’s unique biometric facial traits, for US Customs and Border Protection to match it against the passenger’s file containing the digital facial token captured at the initial immigration process. This process permits as well to virtualize the process of sending the boarding-pass details to the Airline Departure Control System, using face as a token to reconcile the passenger and his flight. After assuring the identity and eligibility of the passenger on that specific flight, the gateway then opens and the traveler can swiftly board the aircraft.

The solution combines an effective human-factor centric design along with key security features, such as biometric data capture of superior quality in a complex environment in seconds. This combination consequently delivers high-performance reliable match against the authorities’ biometric database, pre-processed by Vision-Box anti-spoofing and liveness checks technology. In spite of the fact that the solution is ready to rely solely on biometrics, it accommodates other possible workflows that include boarding-pass scan, seat re-assignment or multiple additional verification modalities.

Security, safety, efficiency, and a unique, traveler-centric experience are the cornerstone of the project developed in the scope of a partnership between LAX and Vision-Box, supported by US Customs and Border Protection Agency under the umbrella of the US Biometric Exit trial program. British Airways was the first airline to begin expediting boarding procedures using the new contactless technology.

Justin Erbacci, chief innovation and technology officer at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the airport oversight and operations department, said, “This industry-first deployment of innovative solutions from the US Customs and Border Protection and Vision-Box, shows the amazing potential of using biometrics to speed up the boarding process while maintaining safety and security. We have been very impressed with the results thus far, and love to see the passengers’ excitement at being some of the first in the world to use facial recognition”.

Miguel Leitmann, Chief Executive Officer and Founder at Vision-Box explained the reasons for success: “Vision-Box made use of state-of- the-art biometric technology, able to deliver high quality data that drastically enhance matching accuracy, sustained by in-house developed Deep Machine Learning engines for superior facial capture. The results present a solution that addresses current security, efficiency and flow-control challenges in a relevant, revolutionary way. We are very proud to have come up with an industry- changing solution that all stakeholders involved in the process rely on. In the end, it’s about collaboratively raising the security and efficiency standards while eliminating obstacles from the traveler’s way, offering frictionless interactions and the best experience to guests until they’re comfortably seating in the aircraft.

The new contactless platform has been installed on three stands of Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles Airport and will be tested by a number of other airlines after New Year’s Eve.

Travelers expect mobile services and biometrics to speed up their journey 

Mumbai | November 23, 2017–As passengers in India become more familiar with the use of technology – particularly mobile – they expect to use it more on their airline journey. This is according to the 2017 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, a global survey released by IT provider SITA and co-sponsored by Air Transport World.

While the use of technology among Indian airline passengers remains high at check-in (87%) and booking (52%), 2017 saw tremendous growth in usage at other points in the journey. The research showed while adoption remains low, self-bag drop usage climbed to 21% from 12% in 2016.

Passengers are also demanding new mobile services with 83% saying that they would definitely use flight updates on their mobile. And they would use their mobile for baggage services too: 82% would report mishandled bags and 79% would track their bags in real-time. This comes as no surprise with more than one billion Indians using at least one mobile device in 2016 of which 300 million are using a smart device[1].

Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa said: “In India, travelers are increasingly demanding the use of self-service and mobile technology in the airport to speed up their journey. This expectation, in many cases, is running ahead of availability in Indian airports today.”

The research shows 54% of passengers would rather opt to use self-bag drop than go to an airline check-in counter, compared to 33% globally and well ahead of current usage.

Jaikrishna said: “This is good news for the industry as it provides airports and airlines the opportunity to fully benefit from technology to speed up the journey and drive operational efficiencies, helping them meet the demands of rapidly growing passenger numbers across the country.”

India is expected to see passenger numbers grow by 337 million over the next 20 years to 2036, more than tripling from the 141 million passengers in 2016.2

Another area that is gaining the attention of passengers is the use of biometrics. India’s national biometric identity system is the largest in the world with over one billion enrolled members and Indian passengers have shown greater willingness to use biometrics to speed up their journey through the airport. In 2017, 70% of passengers in India said they would definitely use biometrics if given the option, removing the need to show a passport or boarding card at key points in the airport. This was well above the global average of 57%.

India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation is working with the air transport industry to create a “digitally unified flying experience” where citizens’ national biometric identification cards and foreigner’s passports are optionally linked with the databases of airlines, airports and other stakeholders to deliver a seamless, paperless travel experience at every step in the journey.

Jaikrishna said: “Many travelers are comfortable with the use of biometrics and see the benefits of using them on their travels. This aligns perfectly with the need to find more efficient ways to manage rising passenger numbers with current resources. There is little doubt that technology is the key to resolving India’s constraints on airport infrastructure.”

The survey was conducted across seven Indian airports, representing 71% of passengers in the country.

As you probably know, the Trump administration is considering banning laptops from the passenger cabins of all international flights to and from the US, and homeland security secretary John Kelly was quoted as saying when asked if he was going to ban all laptops on all flights to and from the US: “I might,” he said. The existing ban set in place earlier this year affects some 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly Middle Eastern, such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey.  Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security introduced a restriction on personal electronic devices in March, mandating anything larger than cellphones or smartphones be sent via the traveller’s baggage – so no tablets either. Clearly this does not affect airline provided tablets for IFEC, as Emirates is loaning tablets to passengers in upper classes, obviously keeping the the folks in front happy as their laptops/tablets ride in their suitcases down below.

Currently, several news outlets report that the U.S. is considering extending the ban to other locations, including Europe. Ostensibly, airlines and countries worldwide could do the same. In fact, IFExpress has heard that Australia is presently considering a ban as well. The folks at Digital Trans noted: “Kelly added that Homeland Security planned to “raise the bar for – aviation security much higher than it is now,” and spoke of “new technologies down the road,” though declined to offer any details.” Furthermore, among the enhanced security measures that will be forthcoming will likely be tighter screening of carry-on items to allow Transport Security Administration agents to discern problematic items in tightly stuffed bags so we all will probably be affected – laptop or not. Hey, this ban could end up way bigger than anyone imagined.

However, not everyone is sold on the restrictions and this was noted recently in Aviation Week – “In a statement May 23, AAPA (Association of Asia Pacific Airlines) director general Andrew Herdman said, “The ripple effects of such measures, and their proposed wider expansion, threaten to disrupt the global economy and impose far greater costs on society with no tangible public security benefits. This would only serve to further the aims of the terrorists, who measure their success by how much society over-reacts to their provocations. Rather than focus on generalized screening of innocent passengers, past experience with evolving threats and terrorist plots repeatedly highlight the critical importance of effective intelligence gathering and analysis.” Screening may be fine, but still one bad device could cause a lot of cabin damage –  and all it takes is one.

Many say that the ban expansion will force a lot of passengers to send their laptop and tablets to their destination via luggage in the hold, or just leave them at home. IFExpress sees several potential issues with this scenario. Firstly,  large quantities of laptop batteries in the aircraft hold could potentially increase the risk of combustibility, which we all know has been an issue – and not just for laptops (think back to last year with the Galaxy 7)! After all, Lithium batteries can fail. But even beyond that some travelers have told us that they won’t ship laptops in luggage because of  the potential for theft – especially in some parts of Eastern Europe, Africa, and other locations. Additionally, if you do carry your laptop in your baggage, you might want to also carry a copy of the PC sales receipt with you as well, because if the bag is “lost”, you need proof of it’s value to get repaid – be sure to check out the rest of the article as it is pretty good as well!

However, not everybody agrees that laptops are the big bad device onboard and a SpaceNews article about inflight connectivity reported: “Right now a laptop is the least-used device in the broadband networks that we are supporting,” Ric VanderMeulen, vice president of space and satellite broadband for ViaSat’s Government Systems Division, said during a Washington Space Business Roundtable panel. “Phones are first, tablets are second, and laptops are about seven percent of the market.”

No doubt, a laptop ban could be a boon to aircraft IFE, but no personal devices, with the exception of smartphones, could potentially benefit the IFEC industry more. In fact, such a scenario would most likely require airlines to select some form of IFEC, especially on long flights. Thales notes in ATW: “The future of IFE will involve seatback monitors that interface with passengers, customize content and generate ancillary revenue,” according to Thales executives at the company’s new IFE final integration and test facility in Irvine, California, May 22. “If you look at the system right now, it’s super static, from top to bottom,” Thales InFlyt Experience CEO Dominique Giannoni said. “How do we move from an in-seat system—where an airline is looking at cost-line—to an in-seat solution coupled with connectivity that moves to a revenue line? We believe it is an untapped area and opportunity for revenue.” Thales InFlyt Experience CTO Fred Schreiner said, “We are going to go into a period where it’s really about engagement – the paradigm has completely shifted – your ability to access the internet, to catch up on social networks, is changing the game.” Yes, and it might also be promoting more laptop usage, however, whether flying folks are willing to trust their secure personal and business email and work on an airline supplied screen, remains unclear.”

But, IFExpress had some questions too:

 

  • If the issue is battery size, what size limit is there or is the issue resolved with no laptops?
  • Will this new security change be a boon to smartphone usage inflight? And if so, portable keyboards (with Apple and Android phones) will be seen a lot more?
  • Or for another solution – can you imagine the cost and hassle of a secure, lockable cabin laptop storage enclosure? And the ensuing mess of storing and retrieving your laptop before and after a flight? Bad idea – rule that one out!

 

 

 

So in the future if this security increase passes and you want to “laptop work” onboard, you might want to consider a good smartphone (perhaps one with the biggest screen possible) and at least 128 Gb of memory, a secure device for storing your data, and a portable keyboard, and a mouse (if that works on a phone). You may want to figure a way to support it while watching some form of entertainment – not to mention power. You will need power either from the plane or brought with you on a “brick”- and that brings up another issue, what size Lithium Ion power device will be allowed? Is this getting crazy, or what? However, with the size of some PC’s getting smaller (credit card size), could this be a possible carry-on computing solution when combined with a small keyboard, portable Li-ion cube and a small screen on an iPod or a phone? Check this out because they are getting smaller as well.

Additionally, here are 10 tips for mobile security that will help keep all that portable stuff safe while you do travel, big laptop or not.

And lastly, since we are on the subject, here is another good link on the potential laptop ban line as well.


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