This week in IFExpress we are covering a broad spectrum of IFEC and airframer topics. You can certainly tell that we, as an industry, are spooling up for AIX. Let’s get started on the road to Hamburg!


IFPL

IFPL, the innovative inflight peripheral specialist, will be demonstrating award-winning integrated peripherals solutions and power products at AIX Hamburg in April 2019, ranging from innovative USB Power Delivery solutions to integrated audio and USB technology. They have delivered over 2.5m products to date.

In case you didn’t know, IFPL is an award winning company specializing in the design and manufacture of passenger interface solutions to the global In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity industry (IFEC). Founded 20 years ago by CEO Geoff Underwood, IFPL today enjoys the largest portfolio of proven IFEC products and services in its sector. As a proud and dedicated supplier of the world’s leading in-flight entertainment manufacturers and airlines, IFPL continues to inspire and enhance aircraft passenger experience by delivering innovative product design with proven reliability. IFPL is based on the Isle of Wight, just off the South Coast of England, in modern offices which house an award winning manufacturing facility that boasts extensive product design, R&D and manufacturing capabilities.

During AIX Hamburg they will be showcasing ‘Charge to Charge’, the smart way to monetize USB power. Powering passengers’ Personnel Electronic Devices (PEDs) is now an important requirement in support of the passenger experience.

With consumer devices increasingly adopting USB-C as standard, visitors can experience IFPL’s USB-C and USB-A units that provide high speed data and power for passengers’ portable devices. These units seamlessly integrate within the seat.

When you stop by their booth you will also be able to see the IFPL innovative integrated seat concept that supports the design language, aesthetics and ergonomics required for true IFE and seat integration.

Further, IFPL is leading the industry with its fresh approach to peripheral integration, with design and technology innovation and they have supplied over 2.5m innovative products to date. Be sure to see:

  • Innovative inductive charging solution – delivers wireless charging at the seat
  • MagSignal audio jack – solves the problem of broken headphone sockets for passengers and airlines
  • Charge To Charge: Is one of the latest IFPL solutions and is the smart way to monetize USB power
  • High Power and data USB-A outlet: In-service
  • 2020 USB-A outlet: This ‘line fit’ unit provides seamless integration within the seat while delivering an economic, ergonomic and aesthetic advantage over traditional outlets enhancing the passenger’s experience
  • Inductive charging unit: these units have been designed to enable seamless integration and deliver wireless charging at the seat. IFPL will show design concepts for seatback PED holders and trays that provide USB and/or inductive charging. Through working with leading seat vendors, IFPL will be demonstrating successful integration of inductive charge units within the seat
  • Latest audio jack technology: IFPL is the world-leader in audio jack technology, enhancing the customer experience while providing a total cost of ownership advantage to the airline. The audio jack is a critical component of any IFE system. Quality sound with high unit reliability and minimizing Customer Induced Damage (CID) is vital in maintaining passenger satisfaction.

IFPL has also developed proprietary technology and products that differentiate their audio solutions within the market. These include:

  • Long Life Range: Delivers a highly robust and reliable audio jack that minimize the effects of CID
  • Rapid Fit Range: Technology delivers a solution to allow rapid on wing maintenance
  • INCAM Range: The Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module cancels noise in the jack rather than the headset, reducing initial and replacement headset costs
  • Breakaway MagSignal Range: Patented MagSignal technology virtually eliminates CID

The IFPL booth is on stand 4B20 at Hamburg Messe, Germany, from Tue 02/04/2019 to Thur 04/04/2019.


ASTRONICS

Here are some highlights from their press release:
• Fourth quarter sales up 18.4% to $203 million; full year sales up 28.6% to $803 million
• Achieved record Aerospace segment sales in fourth quarter and full year 2018
• Record Aerospace backlog of $326 million at year-end
• Earnings per diluted share for 2018 of $1.41 compared with $0.58 in the prior year
• Strong cash flow from operations of $39.5 million for the quarter and $54.9 million in 2018


GOGO

Gogo, a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced its financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.

  • Q4 2018 consolidated revenue of $217.2 million, up 16% year over year, with a net loss of $59.7 million
  • Q4 2018 Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $19.4 million, leading to full-year 2018 Adjusted EBITDA of $71.2 million, exceeding the recently updated financial guidance
  • BA Segment Profit reached $35.6 million in Q4 2018, up 33% year over year
  • More than 1,000 2Ku aircraft at 14 global airlines as of December 31, 2018, with 109 2Ku aircraft placed online in Q4. 2Ku backlog of approximately 1,000 aircraft as of December 31, 2018(2)
  • Delivered excellent 2Ku performance with 98% availability in the month of December
  • Q4 2018 Cash Flow from Operating Activities of $9.6 million and Free Cash Flow of $2.3 million(1)
  • Projecting $100 million improvement in Free Cash Flow in 2019 versus 2018

THALES

A first-of-its-kind Engineering Competence Centre in India to focus on civil and defense activities, serving Thales’ global needs.

The Centre to significantly contribute to job creation and skill development in India; Thales seeks to hire 3000 people in next 3-5 years for this Centre.

Localization of R&D activities in India will enable a closer day to day work with our Indian Supply Chain Partners, which will favor the competitiveness of manufacturing in India.
Thales continues its development in India by today announcing the launch of its Global Engineering Competence Centre (ECC) in Bengaluru. The centre aims to accelerate innovation and digital transformation to serve the needs of both the Indian market, and the Group’s global objectives.


IMMFLY (see image above)

On February 20, 2019, Iberia Express surprised passengers on its Madrid-Copenhagen-Madrid flight with a showing of the Oscar-nominated film Bohemian Rhapsody via its free inflight entertainment Platform – Club Express Onboard – provided by Immfly.

In addition to being given headphones and support stands for their viewing devices, passengers were also provided with popcorn, making it a truly cinematic experience.

Bohemian Rhapsody, one of the favorites for the Oscars 2019 with 5 nominations, was the chosen film for this “blockbuster” flight in which passengers were gifted with headphones, disposable stands to support their viewing devices while they watched the film and tubs of popcorn.

This debut welcomed the blockbuster as one of the latest films available completely free of charge on ​Club Express Onboard, the inflight entertainment platform provided by Immfly. ​The platform’s Movie Channel offers a wide variety of premieres in multiple languages ​​including Spanish, English, and French.
The continual updating of the content on ​Club Express Onboard reflects the committed effort on the part of both companies to offer a service with a difference, a service which is ​highly valued by customers as ​reflected in the airline’s latest satisfaction surveys.​ ​A significant share of respondents (31.6%) gave the platform a top score (scoring the service an 8, 9 or 10 out of 10), and are considered “Platform Lovers.”
Paloma Cabañas, Head of Customer Experience and Inflight Services at Iberia Express said: ​”We strive to offer an exclusive travel experience to our passengers throughout the entire customer journey, and it is a proven fact that the Inflight entertainment platform provided by Immfly, is a key contributortooursuccess”.​

Cabañashighlighted,”Moreover,ourattractiveentertainmentofferis paired with very selective catering, both in tourist and business class”.

Julia Maruny, Head of Content at Immfly added: “​With this event, we wanted to offer passengers a truly unique and immersive experience so they could sit back, relax and enjoy the best cinema on board while flying to their destination.”


AIRBUS

  • Airbus inaugurates its Innovation Centre in China at an office opening ceremony in Shenzhen, China, one of the world’s leading innovation hotspots. Airbus China Innovation Centre has been operating since early 2018 and currently focuses on designing, testing, and certifying new technologies relating to five areas: Hardware Lab, Cabin Experience, Connectivity, Manufacturing Innovation and Urban Air Mobility. With its full operation, ACIC commits to identify the next big change to transform the aerospace sector while tapping into the local talent, technology and partner pool and will further enhance Airbus’ innovation capabilities to shape the future of flight. At the ceremony, Airbus also signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Shenzhen Municipal Commerce Bureau to exlplore Urban Air Mobility (UAM) solutions in Shenzhen. The two parties will cooperate closely on accelerating the R&D, application and industrialization of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in Shenzhen. With extended regional partners, Airbus aims to further develop the local mobility ecosystem and promote the UAM solutions fitting the local transportation needs. As Airbus’ first innovation centre in Asia and second worldwide after A3 in Silicon Valley, Airbus China Innovation Centre’s mission is to fully leverage local advantages including talents, enterprises and ecosystem, combining it with Airbus expertise in aerospace, to identify, explore and accelerate breakthroughs in technologies, business models and new growth opportunities.
  • Air Vanuatu, the national flag carrier of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, signed a firm order with Airbus for four A220s (two A220-100s and two A220-300s). Air Vanuatu’s first ever order with Airbus makes it the launch customer of the A220 in the Pacific region. Based at Bauerfield International Airport in the capital Port Vila, Air Vanuatu operates to 26 domestic airports and internationally to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and New Caledonia. It began services in 1987, and has played a vital role in establishing Vanuatu as a tourist and investment destination. Currently the airline operates a Boeing 737 and ATR 72 fleet. With an order book of over 530 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market, estimated to represent at least 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

OTHER NEWS

Paris, France | February 25, 2019– Interactive Mobility released at the Aviation Festival Asia a pioneering technology that makes using its portable W-IFE solution easier and safer for airlines.

Flymingo Box now includes automatic passenger announcement pause. This feature allows to pause the IFE streaming system for PA announcements without crew or pilot intervention.

This evolution, which uses a proprietary technology is available on any Flymingo box connected to the aircraft electrical network. This industry-first solution works by picking up signals from the passenger announcement system.

“This is a long awaited product feature. Airlines came to us because they wanted a fully automatized way to comply with passenger announcement regulations. Flymingo Box now enables our customers to address safety standards while offering streaming for up to 100 passengers” said Tanguy Morel, CEO at Interactive Mobility.

A crew-friendly service

This development highlights Flymingo’s expanded capability and the value of options for airlines striving to allow smooth usage for crew members whilst deploying a flexible IFE service.

“Flymingo is a hassle-free IFE solution which improves both passenger and crew experience on board” said Tanguy Morel.

Flymingo Box can be entirely monitored via a dedicated mobile application. Crew members can access a dashboard on their electronic device to oversee and control the service. The application allows for example flight attendants to view the Wi-Fi status, check the number of connected devices, and even receive orders.

Flymingo Crew Application is available on any electronic device, and has an Apple Watch version.

Flymingo Box : An Aircraft-Powered Device

Earlier in 2018, Interactive Mobility set up a partnership with a DOA partner to develop a new version of Flymingo Box as an aircraft-powered portable wireless solution, offering an option to connect to the aircraft power system.

This connected option for Flymingo Box, involves the bracing of the streaming unit in a certified cradle. Developed with Interactive Mobility’s engineering partner, which will be responsible for any required minor-mod certification and fitting of the combined cradle and power supply to Flymingo Box, the solution ensures the wireless device offers a solution that is cost-effective and flexible but that can also accommodate an airline’s appetite to ease operations significantly.

Interactive Mobility was selected to provide this new featured IFE equipment to four European airlines. Flymingo Box will be installed on thirty A320 and A321 aircrafts by mid 2019.

Interactive Mobility is attending the Aviation Festival in Singapore (27-28th Feb 2019) and will discuss these product developments at booth #B08.

This Hot Topic is about a new inflight network technology that the Galgus (galgus) folks are developing. The product is called Wireless Intrusion Detection System and it is a software that “watches” the Wi-Fi network in an airplane by checking for Rogue access points that a bad actor might bring aboard an airplane and transmit to unsuspecting passengers via their wireless reception on their computer. The definition of a rogue access points is as follows: Any Wi-Fi access point that is used on a network that is not authorized to do so – It is definitely under that airline network administrator – It routes user traffic thru its Access Point. Basically, the bad actor makes you think you are connected to the Wi-Fi system on an airplane. They do so by using their own equipment and software to basically trick you into thinking it is the airline “talking” to you – but you aren’t!
Security is the issue here in this week’s issue of IFExpress and we asked the folks at Galgus about their recent developments, specifically on the Wireless Intrusion Detection and they told us: “Security is seen as one of the most important problems today. In fact, wireless communication has inherent vulnerabilities as the signals share the electromagnetic spectrum.” They went on: “This year we will introduce the WIDS (Wireless Intrusion Detection System) and WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Protection System) features. As you can imagine, (the industry is) quite focused on aspects related to security around WiFi environments, an increasingly growing concern and to which we intend to add value with these new features.”
Next, let’s look into the problem a little bit and as you can see in the above illustration (today’s rectangle) a simple description of the problem. Galgus writes: “Security is seen as one of the most important problems. In fact, wireless communication has inherent vulnerabilities as the signals share the electromagnetic spectrum. For network owners and system integrators, ensuring the secrecy and privacy of communications is a major concern when operating a Wi-Fi network. Public networks with high user density, such as those present in convention centers, trains or airports, are the most vulnerable, as they are quite attractive for those who want to make malicious use of Wi-Fi. The most common attacks, such as RougeAP or man-in-the-middle, are very easy to carry out with free tools, and are the easiest to deceive unwary users.”
“A RougeAP is a wireless access point able to fake one of the legitimate AP’s on your network. It does so by either cloning the SSID announced by your teams, the MAC address of one of them (BNSSID), or even the beacon frames and the web applications used (especially critical with captive portals). These rogue AP’s are deployed instantly by people who want to use your users’ devices to connect to them, thus allowing access to sensitive data (from user login passwords, to credit cars).”
“In this context, Galgus has developed and patented Cognitive Hotspot(trademarked) Technology (CHT), an embedded software that is installed within AP’s of a wide range of manufacturers. CHT has modules to optimize the network, to reduce the energy consumption or to locate devices, but also has modules to mitigate the outbreak of security problems such as rogue AP’s.”
Galgus went on: “Security is seen as one of the most important problems today. In fact, wireless communication has inherent vulnerabilities as the signals share the electromagnetic spectrum. Further, security is on everyone’s minds. A concern which led Galgus to incorporate two new features in its technology: WIDS (Wireless Intrusion Detection System) and WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Protection System).
Next we asked about the system and any testing:
Q. Have you tested it on an airplane?
A: “We have run a pilot with a major Rail Operator in the US and another one in UK. Now this feature is available on the nMAP2 access point from VT Miltope to be tested and used in the Aviation industry. The aforementioned financing from the European Commission will be a turning point in the history of our company. It will help us to improve our products and it will allow us to carry out pilots in many complex environments. It will also allow us to get more directly involved in your own  projects.”
Q. Can you tell us and our readers why this is important?
A: “The European Commission recognizes Galgus as one of the most disruptive startups in the EU and supports our growth with EU funding. This is important because over 93% of the startups supported by the EU has been successful and therefore, this endorses Galgus technology with the EU seal of quality.”
Q. Will you have a demo of this in Hamburg?
A:”We will demo this in Hamburg this April.”
IFExpress also asked the folks at VT Miltope who carry Galgus products and they told us: ”VT Miltope is discussing this Galgus offering and how it might be incorporated into VT Miltope products along with RazorSecure solutions.”
So there you have it, Stay Tuned for this technology in Hamburg.

Mike Hettich Named CEO of Satellite Startup LeoStella

Smart satellite manufacturer LeoStella of Tukwila, Washington named the affable Mike Hettich as its new CEO. LeoStella is a joint venture company owned by Spaceflight Industries and Thales Alenia Space. Congratulations, Mike!


INMARSAT

Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications, has been named winner of Inflight Middle East’s Connectivity Enablement Award for the second consecutive year. The prestigious accolade was announced in Dubai yesterday, after an independent panel of industry experts voted for Inmarsat’s GX Aviation as the inflight broadband solution of choice for airline passengers in the Middle East and beyond. GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight connectivity service delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of high-throughput satellites. It enables airline passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with a wi-fi experience comparable to mobile broadband on the ground. The ground-breaking service is currently being offered to passengers by a growing list of airlines across the world, including Qatar Airways, Singapore Airways, Norwegian, Air New Zealand, Avianca and Lufthansa Group. Global take-up shows no signs of slowing over the course of this year, with a healthy pipeline of aircraft due to be installed with the service. In addition to retaining Inflight Middle East’s ‘Connectivity Enablement’ Award, Inmarsat has been named ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’ at the World Travel Awards for two consecutive years. These recent accolades are the latest in a series of industry recognitions for Inmarsat’s world-leading inflight Wi-Fi services in the last year.


SITAONAIR

Air Senegal selected SITAONAIR to deploy its best-in-class high-speed inflight connectivity (IFC) on its new-generation A330neo fleet – making Air Senegal the first airline on the African continent to activate GX Aviation passenger connectivity onboard.

With a growing demand for connectivity from Africa’s young population and a change in the overarching aviation landscape, Air Senegal’s new inflight connectivity offering comes at a crucial moment for economic growth. SITA Air Transport IT Insights figures show that 90% of the world’s airlines plan to have major wireless inflight connectivity programs in place for enhanced passenger experience by 2021, indicating a prominent shift towards global connectivity as standard. Senegal’s new flag carrier is ambitious to expand its footprint by connecting 2 million passengers on routes between Dakar and Paris, and drive innovation in the West African market. Air Senegal appointed SITAONAIR as the inflight connectivity service provider best-placed to support its goal by pioneering its connected passenger experience.

Under the deal, SITAONAIR is activating its market-leading Mobile ONAIR and Internet ONAIR inflight connectivity solutions – via Link ONAIR over Inmarsat’s GX Aviation network – across Air Senegal’s new A330neo. Following the launch of its first commercial flight in February 2019, passengers can now enjoy cutting-edge cabin connectivity across Air Senegal’s Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy offerings, on routes connecting West Africa with Europe. Further, with SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR solution over GX Aviation, Air Senegal passengers can access a personalized and seamless inflight connection, keeping them connected with their digital lives, business and loved ones as they fly. In another breakthrough deal for the African market, Mobile ONAIR will give passengers a seamless mobile connectivity experience, providing them with the opportunity to make calls and send texts from the air, just as they would on the ground.


AIRBUS

Emirates, following a review of its operations, and in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies, Emirates is reducing its A380 orderbook from 162 to 123 aircraft (39 ). Emirates will take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years. As a consequence and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus will cease deliveries of the A380 in 2021.

Emirates has also decided to continue growing with Airbus’ newest generation, flexible widebody aircraft, ordering 40 A330-900 and 30 A350-900 aircraft. Airbus will start discussions with its social partners in the next few weeks regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years. However, the ongoing A320 ramp-up and the new widebody order from Emirates Airline will offer a significant number of internal mobility opportunities.


OTHER NEWS

As promised, this week we have some predictions about this crazy industry, as well as, news and reported airplane deliveries for 2018. Included in the predictions section are a few that were submitted by several of our readers and we want to thank them for their contribution. Patricia Wiseman | Editor, Publisher & Co-Founder

2019 Predictions

1. If the US government shutdown continues for a marked length of time, the 2019 airplane travel growth in the USA could be poorer than anticipated with reduced profits. Obviously. travel will be more difficult, as well, while governmental security folks struggle to stay at work and somehow make a living. Here is a related quote from SKIFT on the anticipated passenger revenue prior to the shutdown: “We expect U.S. passenger revenue to reach $171.4 billion in 2019, up 2.6 percent from 2018.”

2. Climate changes driven by humans will no doubt increase the costs of flying due to worsening weather in various locations, greater weather change (both hot and cold), and reduced weather prediction accuracy/capability. Extreme weather just may finally effect flying and possibly travel costs will rise. In either case, extreme weather events are on the way! And yes, we probably can’t blame anyone but ourselves.

3. “The commercial aviation market will continue to see an increase in adoption of PED power for both line-fit and retrofit aircraft.  Airlines will personalize their offering between 110 Volt AC, USB Type A, USB Type C, and wireless charging.  Many airlines will install combinations of multiple charging options for the convenience of their customers.  With recent technological advancements, the PED Power systems are weighing less, taking less space, and lowering the total cost of ownership.” – Mike Hettich, VP, Cabin Electronics, Astronics AES

4. A massive incident of data fraud or theft will potentially cause an aviation incident, which will drive big changes in aviation security. And yes, Artificial Intelligence just might play a role in the solution. (What!? You don’t know what AI is? – What is AI? Everything you need to know about Artificial Intelligence | ZDNet)

5. With worldwide spying getting out of hand, the sale of “second use, plain” phones (aka “burner phones”) will take off for travelers. It may eventually apply to laptops as well.

6. “Enabled by the basic utilities of wireless data transmissions and easy power solutions, the aircraft cabin is becoming a huge playground for solutions we are not even thinking about yet.” – Unattributed

7. Watch for airlines to reduce meat offerings in food service as vegan and non-meat lifestyles affect offerings. And, it will save the airlines money too.

8.  “What this industry needs is a standard way for airlines to measure their passengers’ experience with the connectivity onboard – and this year our APEX Connectivity Working Group (CWG) will come through with that standard method.” – Rich Salter, IFEC Consultant, The Salter Group

9. Unfortunately rogue drones will continue to present a greater risk to aviation in troublesome flight areas. Watch for some new rules if/when these incidents continue to occur.

10. Quantum computing will be a big deal in aircraft design this year and in the future because of its ability to present and analyze more data on airflow issues.

11. “PED’s are making passengers more insular. Unless the airline is on there early and with several different touch points, any flight will be just a minor event on the huge network of the passenger’s connected lives.” – Unattributed

12. Fuel costs look to be more stable this year, hopefully helping airlines to retain profits. Of course, this assumes the the world remains sane about fuel and peace solutions.

13. Large scale cyber attacks to passengers are a huge potential. Watch out, a big change is coming and it may well be driven by an airline security breach of major proportions.

14. A big political change and disruption will cause troubles in the US that may affect many areas including aviation.

15. Lastly, the AVIATION SAFETY NETWORK reports there were 15 fatal airliner accidents (556 fatalities), or one fatal accident per 2,540,000 flights, in 2018 vs 10 (44 fatalities) in 2017, which was safest year ever.


NEWS

digEcor
On 18 January 2019, digEcor officially acquired the commercial In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) business from Collins Aerospace. The deal originated with Rockwell Collins, which was acquired by United Technologies in 2018.

The closing of this transaction, and digEcor’s integration with this significant business, marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for digEcor— now rebranded as Burrana.
“Burrana is an indigenous Australian word, meaning “to fly”, which aligns to our purpose of helping airlines create extraordinary passenger experiences,” said David Withers, Burrana CEO. “It is the history of innovation that is the common thread that binds these two organizations together as Burrana, and the main driver for the acquisition.” Withers continued. “This thread stretches back over 50 years to the Hughes Avicom and Sony Transcom days, when IFE was in its infancy, and the passenger experience came into focus for airlines. Then came the days of Microair Avionics radios and digEcor’s portable players, through today when the market demands innovative cabin technologies for their passengers – and this is where Burrana will deliver.”

The acquisition brings together the former Rockwell Collins’ PAVES family of seat back and overhead solutions, as well as PAVES On-demand, Total Entertainment System (TES), Enhanced Total Entertainment System (ETES) and content services, with digEcor’s GLIDE, Engage, Power, PSS and Lighting products. The combination will enable Burrana to now offer best-of-breed solutions for airlines seeking to deliver an extraordinary passenger experience.

Withers went on to say, “Burrana’s global employee base will deliver innovative cabin technologies reliably and affordably to the market, serving an installed base of more than 1,400 planes and 300 customers, positioning us as the #3 player in the IFE market – and we are not stopping there. We will achieve our vision of taking the passenger experience to the next level by collectively bringing the right new technology to market and leveraging our engineering expertise and proven ability to rapidly develop and certify new products. We pride ourselves on listening to our customers, understanding their vision and requirements and developing new solutions to deliver on these needs.”

JW Hill Capital, a Newport Beach, California-based private equity firm, supported digEcor in this transaction.


Thales
Thales invests 20% of its annual revenues in R&D. After the first Thales Media Days dedicated to cybersecurity, which is an essential component of the digital transformation, Thales is now demonstrating specific examples of the impact of Artificial Intelligence in decisive moments. The event isn’t being held in Montreal, Canada and simultaneously in France, the UK, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and the Middle East.

Since 2014, Thales has invested nearly 7 billion euros in digital technologies, particularly in the areas of connectivity, Big Data, cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Artificial Intelligence and its opportunities in the aerospace, space, ground transportation, defense and security sectors will be the theme of the second Thales Media Day event in Montreal.

Professor Yoshua Bengio, Founder and Scientific Director of MILA (Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms), and Patrice Caine, Chairman & CEO of Thales, will speak at this global event, which will be broadcasted live on the Group’s YouTube channel.


Inmarsat
Inmarsat, a leader in global mobile satellite communications, announced that its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution is now available to passengers onboard Indonesian low-cost airline Citilink’s first aircraft. The milestone was achieved only six months after Inmarsat signed a contract with Mahata Aero Teknologi (MAT), an Indonesia wireless technology provider, to deploy GX Aviation across Citilink’s fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, in partnership with Lufthansa Systems, Lufthansa Technik and GMF AeroAsia. GX Aviation is the world’s only global, high-speed inflight internet service, allowing Citilink passengers to browse the internet, stream content, check social media and more during flights free-of-charge using personal devices. Citilink will continue to rollout the service on their aircraft during 2019.

The fast-paced introduction of onboard connectivity is part of the airline’s efforts to offer passengers a modern, world-class onboard experience. Citilink, a subsidiary of Indonesian national airline Garuda, was named Asia’s Best LCC at the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards 2018 and has a four-star rating by Skytrax.


Airbus
Acropolis Aviation of the UK has taken delivery of the first ACJ320neo, which features new-generation engines and Sharklets to deliver a leap forward in range and economy.
The aircraft will now undergo cabin-outfitting by AMAC in Basle, Switzerland, receiving a VVIP cabin designed by Alberto Pinto. Its current ACJ livery will also be replaced by Acropolis Aviation colors.

SMBC – Leading aircraft lessor SMBC Aviation Capital has boosted its total order book for the A320neo Family to 181 aircraft after signing a firm order for an additional 65 A320neo Family aircraft (15 A321neo and 50 A320neo). The order was finalized in 2018 and included in the year-end order figures. In addition the agreement includes an upsizing of 15 A320neo from a pre-existing order to 15 of the largest member of the single aisle, the A321neos, taking SMBC Aviation Capital’s total for the type to 30. With its unbeatable seat mile cost, longer range and wider cabin, the A321neo offers airlines the flexibility to expand their networks using wide-body cabin products on new longer haul routes which were not previously possible with a single aisle.

Here’s an Airbus/Facebook story you might want to read:
Facebook and Airbus hold secretive drone tests in the Australian bush – netzpolitik.org


Boeing
Boeing delivered the first of ten 787 Dreamliners to WestJet, marking the start of the airline’s global expansion. Having long operated a fleet of Boeing single-aisle jets, WestJet will use the super-efficient, long-range 787-9 Dreamliner to profitably serve new international routes. This spring, WestJet will use the 787-9 – the longest-range Dreamliner that can fly 7,635 nautical miles (14,140km) – to offer the first-ever flight connecting Calgary and Dublin. The airline will also offer non-stop Dreamliner service between Calgary and London Gatwick and Calgary and Paris. WestJet’s 787-9 will accommodate 320 passengers in a three-class configuration. The Dreamliner’s passenger-pleasing interior, which includes large windows, lower-cabin altitude and smooth-ride technology, complements WestJet’s all-new business cabin featuring the carrier’s first lie-flat seats.

In preparation for its new Dreamliners, WestJet recently added digital solutions powered by Boeing AnalytX, to optimize its operations. These include Airplane Health Management, which provides predictive analytics to optimize WestJet’s 787 fleet operations, as well as Toolbox, which delivers real-time information for technicians to quickly resolve maintenance issues and keep airlines on schedule.


Others News

  • Airline security breach big deal! Over 140 International Airlines Affected by Major Security Breach
  • Interested in the economy of airline seat sales? The Economics of Airline Class – YouTube And, here is the low cost airline story, How Budget Airlines Work – YouTube
  • Hey! Drones might now inspect your aircraft! Can Drones Be Good?
  • Sadly, Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch terminated its rocket engines and launcher programs. One story reader (marklincoln1@aol.com) in Aviation Week noted: “Paul Allen had a dream and money. He was willing to risk exploring that dream — The acquisition was a matter of profit and loss. Which viewpoint is correct? Perhaps neither. Or perhaps both.” That just about says it all.

Barcelona, Spain | January 22, 2019– Iberia Express, the first partner to launch Immfly’s Inflight Entertainment (IFE) & Digital Services platform, has released statistics showing how the partnership has positively impacted its Net Promoter Score (NPS).

In 2014, Immfly’s IFE and Digital Services platform was installed on the first Iberia Express aircraft, and launched with the name Club Express Onboard (CXO). The system has since installed in the full Iberia Express fleet.

Users of the system complete an online survey after the flight. Results from the past three years have been analyzed to provide insights into how Immfly’s platform has influenced the evolution of passenger satisfaction.

In 2016, Iberia Express asked passengers a general question to verify platform use and overall satisfaction with Immfly’s IFE and Digital Services platform. From the beginning, a significant share of respondents, 31.6%, gave the platform a top three score (scoring the service an 8, 9, or 10 out of 10), with a Perceived Level of Quality (PLQ) of 5.4 out of 10.

In marketing-speak, passengers giving the CXO system a Top 3 score are described as platform “fans”. Within 12 months, 2017 survey results showed platform fans were on the increase, up to 35.5%, and PLQ scoring rose to 5.8. The survey was also expanded to include questions on usability and content.

By 2018, the survey grew to include responses from over 10,000 passengers, and the positive trend in the share of highly satisfied platform fans continued, with 44.5% now giving Immfly’s platform top marks and PLQ reaching 6.1. In addition, both usability and content metrics saw significant percentage-point increases with differences of up to +15ppts in a single year, following continuous improvement efforts in partnership with Iberia Express. Perhaps most interestingly, the overall NPS of platform users is higher than those who don’t log into the platform, which is reflected in their positive qualitative feedback that flights seem shorter when they can enjoy a movie or keep up-to-date with daily news.

“Passengers are very happy with the increased content available on the platform, and their customer scores reflect that improvement. As a consequence, they are spending an average of 50 minutes per flight on the platform, an increase from the previous 30 minutes. In particular, our customers love the selection of films and TV shows”, added Paloma Cabañas, Head of Customer Experience and Inflight Services in Iberia Express.

“Our vision has always been to enhance our reputation as a world-class entertainment and services partner which is recognised for its innovation, dynamism and ability to customise the IFE experience” explained Julia Maruny, Head of Content at Immfly. ” We are constantly seeking new ways to break ground and introduce new entertainment formats to improve passenger satisfaction. Just recently we have added the new Sports channel in Iberia Express which has been well-received by the platform’s users” .

Currently serving passengers on 10 aircraft, and expanding to 39 in April  

Dunfermline, UK | January 14, 2019–Following a trial in late 2018, Jeju Air is now set to deploy Bluebox Wow portable wireless IFE across its fleet of Boeing B737-800s. The new IFE service is currently offered free to passengers on board 10 aircraft, with the total deployment increasing to 39 aircraft in April 2019. Bluebox Wow is currently entertaining passengers flying between Incheon airport and destinations such as: Bangkok, Guam, Saipan, Vientiane, Hong Kong, Macau, Kota Kinabalu and Da Nang.

“We are excited to welcome Jeju Air to the growing list of airlines flying with Bluebox Wow,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “We’ve watched as Jeju Air has expanded its reach across Asia and how they innovate in so many areas, so it is an honour to be part of their growth story, and more importantly, that they’ve put their trust in Bluebox to enhance their passenger experience on board.”
Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content, accessed through any web browser. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit stowed securely in overhead bins.
Bluebox Wow also now boasts the coveted “KC Mark” as all electrical and electronic products entering South Korea are subject to KC Certification, a mandatory scheme which verifies safety as well as Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Radio Frequency (RF) requirements.

Bluebox Wow to be deployed on new Embraer E190-E2 aircraft and Airbus A320s serving domestic and regional routes

Dunfermline, UK | December 20, 2018–The impressive snow leopard livery on Air Astana’s new Embraer E190-E2 wasn’t providing the only wow-factor at the special celebratory launch event at Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport last Friday. The aircraft was also equipped with Bluebox Wow portable wireless IFE boxes which have been selected by the airline to deliver in-flight entertainment to Air Astana passengers on the new aircraft – a first for the new E190-E2.

“All of us at Air Astana are pleased to receive our first E190-E2, and we look forward to a smooth entry into service and a simple transition for our pilots. We know Embraer’s E-Jets well, and have high expectations for their new generation aircraft in terms of economics, environmental impact, and levels of comfort and convenience for our customers,” said Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana.

“I was delighted to be in Astana taking part in the launch of Air Astana’s new E190-E2 aircraft – and have been keen to share the news of another Bluebox IFE innovation Air Astana is delivering for its passengers,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “As a provider of IFE solutions to Air Astana for nearly a decade, we are proud of our role in the evolution of their award-winning passenger experience story, and the launch of another first for the industry – portable wireless IFE on the new E190-E2 aircraft.”

Bluebox Wow will not only be deployed on Air Astana’s five new E190-E2s as they come into service, but also in business class on five Airbus A320s in February 2019. Though this is the first wireless IFE deployment for Bluebox with the airline, Air Astana have been a Bluebox customer since 2009, currently using Bluebox Ai iPads in business class on their Airbus A320, A321, Boeing B757 and Embraer E190 aircraft. With the addition of Bluebox Wow on Air Astana’s A320s, the 850 Bluebox Ai iPads will be upgraded to Bluebox Hybrid, to enable access to both pre-loaded early window content and additional streamed content. The Bluebox Hybrid devices will also be able to connect to existing fixed wireless systems deployed in the Air Astana fleet, offering additional content to business class passengers on those aircraft as well.

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content, accessed through any web browser. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit stowed securely in overhead bins.

Air Astana took delivery of its first of five E190-E2 aircraft on 3 December. The aircraft arrived from Brazil featuring special Air Astana “Snow Leopard” livery, intended to draw attention to the threat of extinction faced by this large wild cat, which is a native of the mountain ranges in southern Kazakhstan. Air Astana has also donated US$10,000 / Tenge 3,800,000 to Kazakhstan’s Wildlife Without Borders Fund, which is taking urgent action to protect the diminishing numbers of Snow Leopards in the country.

Air Astana currently operates a fleet of nine E190s on domestic and regional services within Kazakhstan and Central Asian countries, with the first aircraft having entered service in 2011. The E190-E2s will replace older Embraer E190s in Air Astana’s fleet, which also includes Airbus A320 family aircraft and Boeing 767-300ERs and 757-200s. While the E190-E2 is the same size as its predecessor – fitted out in a 2-2 configuration accommodating up to 114 passengers – the new jet offers significant reductions in various fuel and MRO-related costs in addition to improved environmental credentials.

BOSE QuietControl 30

This week we thought our readers needed a rest from show news so we start off IFExpress with a review about a clever and great new set of earphones from BOSE that use Bluetooth to interact with your personal electronic device and provide the ability to manipulate the level of noise cancellation, depending on the need and circumstances. Lets get started with the latest earphones from the BOSE folks:

They are called “quiet control” for a reason, but we will get to that later. What you probably want to hear right off is: How was the sound? To get that out of the way, the sound was incredible, and by sound, we mean audio quality, we mean wide dynamic range, treble clarity, and bass smoothness and “punch”. Again, as BOSE always does, their QuietControl 30’s are wonderful sound devices and one of “the” most important things to take on an airplane if you want to listen to your own music, carry a lightweight device, while using the smallest sound product. To clear up the differences between the carry-on BOSE products we have reported on, see the following list:

Headphones:

BOSE QC 3 – Wired Noise Cancelling

BOSE QC 35 – Wired/Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling

Earphones:

BOSE QuietComfort 20 – Acoustic Noise Cancelling (wired)

BOSE QuietControl 30 – Wireless Bluetooth Adjustable Noise Cancelling

The one airplane mode that you should be aware of is the ability of your headphones/earphones to physically plug into the aircraft audio system jack. This permits you to not only listen to your devices, it allows the listening of the aircraft audio system as well. However, if you want to listen to both, you can bring along you BOSE QC 35 Headphones or the BOSE QC 20 Earphone. And if you just want to listen to your device’s music on Bluetooth, you can use either the BOSE QC 35 or the BOSE QuietComfort 20 earphones or the BOSE QuietControl 30 earphones (neckband) wireless device, and that is the unit we want to discuss today.

First, if you are not into wires and cabling to your devices, then a Bluetooth solution is for you. We have tested this device on a plane, inside the house while working, and outside while car cleaning and the QC 30 is a dream. As we said, two features stand out: no wires and an adjustable outside noise control. This feature is really of value if you need to hear external noise or even voices. The value of not removing you earphones is obvious – when you are in public adjustable external audio control is a real advantage. And no, we did not use them while driving!

All the BOSE audio earphones and headphones have excellent audio capability and we wanted to note one other thing. With the terrific audio reproduction, it is easy to focus on the sound reproduction and the “new” high and low sounds in your existing music. So much so that while recently waxing our car, the job was not seemingly as long or that repetitive. We guess that while improved listening is very pleasant, it keeps your mind off work and interruption. You can also control how much of the external environment you want to hear and with no wires below the neckband, you don’t tangle your hands or tools in them. Never again will a car be waxed here without the BOSE QC 30 earphones!

The unit does feature a 10 hour battery and noise reduction and great audio were working fine after the 6 hours we tested them. We think if you like to walk, the adjustable noise cancellation is of great value. While where we live auto traffic is limited, in general, cars are a safety problem and adjustable external volume/noise cancellation can be of great value while walking down a road. Actually, it is a safety issue too. The QC 30’s have a precise arrangement of microphones inside and outside the earbuds to continuously measure external noise. The system produces an equal and opposite noise signal to cancel it. Also, the new seal tips are very comfortable and really limit outside noise – the noise cancellation is adjusted by the user and external hearing adjustment if really obvious.

We should also note that the software app easily loaded on our phone and it worked perfectly with the earphones. And the “voice” of the assistant really helps the installation and use process.

The Bose QC 30 is a great product if you don’t want wires and desire to listen to something transmitted around you (like a flight crew announcement), yet listen to your music while reducing the amount of outside noise, this is the way to go. Further, if you move or exercise while using them you can still hear others in the gym. But more importantly, our walking has increased and we can hear cars and external noise. We look forward to using them on our upcoming trips!


INDUSTRY NEWS:

Panasonic
TRT World has teamed up with Panasonic Avionics, the worldwide leader in inflight entertainment and connectivity, to launch in-flight broadcasting. The service is being broadcast via satellite to specially-equipped aircraft. TRT World, the international news platform launched in 2015 and headquartered in Istanbul, offers an alternative viewpoint on global and domestic events, challenging perceived narratives and providing a new perspective on news. With this agreement with Panasonic, TRT World will extend its reach to passengers on airlines around the world.

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), the world leader in inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) provides in-flight connectivity and infotainment content for over 80 connectivity customers around the world. This partnership enables Panasonic to extend TRT World’s live broadcast to many of the world’s leading international carriers, including Turkish Airlines.

“It is important to stay informed and up-to-date on world events. Passengers tune in to different outlets for news and it’s vital to have variety in your sources to have a more well-rounded view of current events. Thanks to Panasonic for making this challenge a lot easier during flight” said Fatih Er, Director of News and Programmes, TRT World “Partnering with Panasonic to deliver our content in-flight is a major achievement to fulfill our promise to offer our service everywhere, whatever platform our audience prefer to receive it.”

Julie Lichty, Head of Digital Solutions and Services at Panasonic Avionics said, “Panasonic is proud to offer the world’s only truly global inflight live television services. Whether it’s the best in current affairs, sports and entertainment from a selection of the world’s premier media brands, our mission is to keep passengers informed and entertained with quality programming. We believe that TRT World is a significant enhancement to our portfolio, and will be a tremendous enhancement to our airline customers’ passenger experience”.


Inmarsat
Inmarsat has expanded its global network of Value Added Resellers (VARs) for its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution with the addition of Honeywell Aerospace. The agreement builds on Inmarsat’s long-standing partnership with Honeywell, who already manufactures the JetWave hardware for GX Aviation and sells Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX inflight wi-fi service for the business aviation market, through its GoDirect retail services business. In addition, it is further endorsement of Inmarsat’s commitment to operate the reference inflight connectivity network for airlines around the world. GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight broadband service, delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of Global Xpress (GX) High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). This award-winning solution allows passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with onboard connectivity comparable to the mobile broadband services they receive on the ground. As part of the agreement, Honeywell will now market GX Aviation to airlines worldwide through its rapidly growing GoDirect retail services business. This increases the company’s focus on end users, allowing it to tailor smart connectivity solutions directly to individual customers – whether in the airline or business aviation space. It addition, Honeywell will continue to manufacture and sell the JetWave hardware to airline and business aviation customers.


Spafax

Spafax’s innovative Business Traveller TV has been awarded for “Best Native/Sponsored Content” at the prestigious Drum B2B Brave Awards 2018 in New York recently. Congrats Spafax!


digEcor
Aerospace and electronics industry executive, Ariel Abam, has been appointed Vice President, Procurement, Manufacturing and Quality at digEcor. Ariel brings more than 25 years’ progressive experience managing medium to large manufacturing enterprises.

Also, digEcor is teaming with Jade in Singapore for aircraft retrofit of their cabin technology products for Asia.


Safran
Safran and Boeing got regulatory approvals a joint venture to build APU’s for aircraft, presently in San Diego CA.


Morgon Stanley put out a minor review of the Lion Air incident and in it, they said: “Ultimately, in our opinion, discovering the root cause will matter most for the stock and preliminary findings are expected to be released in late November, according to media reports. We believe that in a worst case scenario, Boeing could be forced to ground all 737 MAXs in order to rectify the issue, thus could impact deliveries in the near term. However, we believe this should not pose a material threat to EPS / FCF in the long-term.” Stay Tuned on this one!


OTHER NEWS:

Latest expansion of strategic partnership is further endorsement of GX Aviation as the reference inflight connectivity solution for airlines across the world

United Kingdom | November 14, 2018–Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, has expanded its global network of Value Added Resellers (VARs) for its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution with the addition of Honeywell Aerospace.

The agreement builds on Inmarsat’s long-standing partnership with Honeywell, who already manufactures the JetWave hardware for GX Aviation and sells Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX inflight wi-fi service for the business aviation market, through its GoDirect retail services business. In addition, it is further endorsement of Inmarsat’s commitment to operate the reference inflight connectivity network for airlines around the world.

GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight broadband service, delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of Global Xpress (GX) High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). This award-winning solution allows passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with onboard connectivity comparable to the mobile broadband services they receive on the ground.

As part of the agreement, Honeywell will now market GX Aviation to airlines worldwide through its rapidly growing GoDirect retail services business. This increases the company’s focus on end users, allowing it to tailor smart connectivity solutions directly to individual customers – whether in the airline or business aviation space. It addition, Honeywell will continue to manufacture and sell the JetWave hardware to airline and business aviation customers.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Inmarsat and Honeywell have an extremely successful track record of working together in the fast-growing inflight connectivity market. We are delighted to now extend this partnership. Honeywell’s unique depth of experience in this field and their close relationships with airlines make them a perfect fit as a value-added reseller of GX Aviation.

“This agreement also builds on our exceptional go-to-market strategy. It comes soon after a new strategic collaboration with Panasonic Avionics and our continued success with existing value-added resellers, which have done an outstanding job in selling GX Aviation to leading airlines across the world. Our distribution network is now truly the best of the best.”

Ben Driggs, President of Services and Connectivity, Honeywell Aerospace, said: “A shift is underway in the aviation industry, focused on higher margin opportunities in software, services and predictive data analytics. Today’s announcement gives us the ability to market our multitude of GoDirect Connected Aircraft services in addition to hardware directly to future airline customers.”

A few more reports from APEX Boston

digEcor:

During APEX, digEcor had several significant announcements. One was the new EASA and FAA STCs for the digEcor power solutions on the B737 and A320. The company stated that by using their flexible AML STC they can offer rapid implementation of the light weight and easy to install USB or 110V power solutions offered by digEcor for both models of aircraft. Apparently digEcor has released their power seat kit for the BE Pinnacle and Recaro 3520 seats, which cover thousands of aircraft currently in service. The kit is comprised of a two=piece assembly that outlet mounting and cable shrouding – taking just minutes per seat to install. digEcor stated they have 200+ aircraft orders for their power solutions.

The new slim line NV monitor was also on debut in Boston. This is the latest and newest iteration of the GLIDE NV screen and is the slimmest to date at 3/8th of an inch (10mm). The new thin technology screen is easily embedded in any seat back or bulkhead while delivering all the capabilities and functionalities of GLIDE. The NV monitor boasts the latest IMX8 processor with increased memory, allowing future application options and also supports the latest HD content – all while being significantly lighter in weight than its predecessor. The NV can be mounted in a seat back, arm, or monument. It can also be used as a secondary cabin management solution or a cabin lighting controller.

digEcor also announced that they will be releasing their first Android offering in Q1 2019 for all of their existing and new GLIDE customers. Some of the benefits Android brings is more flexibility to the user interface by allowing airlines to rapidly innovate and achieve a common look and feel across their various fleets operating different hardware from multiple vendors. It will also provide a modern new look and feel that is comfortable for the passengers to interface with.

A new cabin management crew interface was also on display during APEX.  Improved performance and user interface for cabin systems controls are areas of significant improvement. The new interface has Embedded IFE, lighting and PSS, and can be controlled from anywhere in the cabin via remote control from the crew device. It also can provide convenient food and beverage ordering for the passengers. The key here is that the new interface not only improves usability at the terminal but also allows the crew to take control and interface with them throughout the cabin.

New additions to the digEcor executive team were announced during APEX. Gene Connelly has joined the company as President – Americas. Gene was previously Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Customer Support for Panasonic Avionics. He brings 28 years of experience in the IFEC industry with him. Tina Kazmer also joined digEcor as Vice President Marketing & Sales Support. Tina will oversee the strategic direction of Marketing and Communications which will include marketing, communications, events, proposal management, sales training & market research. She was previously with Advisian, the consulting arm of Worley Parsons Group.

Global Eagle:

When we had the opportunity to tour the Global Eagle booth in Boston last month, one of their primary areas of focus was Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations and their great potential to significantly boost capacity while decreasing communication latency. However, LEOs are 3 – 5 years away from being a viable option. The network currently only has one LEO satellite in orbit, but Global Eagle is using the flying Albatross as a test bed for their Ka-band solution with Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite.  They are testing the hand-off between the LEO Telesat Phase 1 and the GEO (geostationary) Anik F3 in orbit. This hand-off is a critical component in the transition between LEO satellites. That isn’t to say they are planning on throwing in the towel on the GEOs but they do see the benefit of sending the right data over the right pipe in the future. Why all the hype over LEOs? When the LEO constellation is up and running it will provide 10 TB of capacity over the poles, have 30 milliseconds of latency vs. 700+ in the GEOs, and there will be at least 7 LEO satellites in orbit over the USA alone that will facilitate gate-to-gate. In a nut shell, the LEOs will provide global coverage with low latency and high capacity. As Mike Moeller, vice president of Aviation Sales said to us during our interview, “The LEOs will be like bring fiber connectivity to the aircraft without the fiber!”


MORE NEWS

Gogo:

Gogo announced that Brazil’s GOL Linhas Aereas, will become the launch partner for Gogo’s Aircraft Data Service, Wireless Quick Access Recorder and Automated Turbulence Reporting – tapping into aircraft data to drive operational efficiency. Gogo’s partnership with GOL launches a new business line for Gogo, and enables GOL to access real-time information, streamline processes, and generate new service opportunities by securely bonding aircraft data through Gogo’s 2Ku high-speed global satellite connectivity system.

“Gogo is rapidly moving beyond passenger connectivity to connect pilots, flight attendants and the aircraft itself so airlines can access real-time information. By leveraging inflight connectivity, airlines will be able to provide better service in flight, improve safety and operate more efficiently,” said John Wade, president of commercial aviation at Gogo.  “GOL has been at the forefront of technology adoption in the aviation industry; now they will be leading the way in leveraging aircraft data to drive efficiency. We are excited to work with them to bring Gogo’s Connected Aircraft Services to their aircraft.”

GOL will become the launch partner for Gogo’s Aircraft Data Service and Wireless Quick Access recorder. Aircraft Data Services allows for the integration of real-time operational data with GOL’s Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications to improve pilot situational awareness and application intelligence. Gogo’s Wireless Quick Access recorder more quickly provides aircraft data for use in airline operational and quality assurance programs.

In addition to leveraging Gogo’s data management products, GOL will be able to leverage Gogo’s Automated Turbulence Reporting, which utilizes real-time aircraft sensor data inputs. These reports are then sent to the ground using Gogo’s 2Ku, enabling faster and more accurate dissemination of real-time turbulence information.

Gogo has been connecting pilots and flight attendants in flight since 2014 and has developed several other capabilities in the following areas:

  • eEnablement – empowers airline crews with connectivity to their devices such as Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs), flight attendant connected devices and associated applications
  • Data management  gives airlines access to aircraft data anywhere in real-time
  • Operational solutions  optimizes airline operations with end-to-end solutions for safer, more efficient flights and improved passenger experience

To learn more about Gogo’s Connected Aircraft Services product portfolio, visit here.


Lufthansa Technic & LG Electronics:

LG Electronics (LG) and Lufthansa Technik AG will jointly develop, produce and market LG’s innovative OLED displays for commercial airplane cabins. The new venture will be based in Hamburg, Germany and will commence operation in the first half of 2019. The new joint venture will combine LG’s advanced, lightweight and flexible OLED display technology with Lufthansa Technik’s aviation business capabilities to create new markets for on-board aircraft applications such as welcome board screens and interior linings.

“We are very excited to be joining hands with Lufthansa Technik to expand the reach of LG’s innovative consumer electronic technologies to commercial aircrafts,” said Kwon Soon-hwang, president of LG’s Business-to-Business Company.

“Both partners contribute a globally recognized reputation in their respective business areas to create a new flying experience for the passengers,” added Dr. Johannes Bussmann, chairman of Lufthansa Technik’s executive board.Closing of the agreement, which was inked last week in Hamburg, is subject to regulatory approval and planned startup will deliver items such as interior lighting in first quarter next year.


Airbus:
Airbus welcomed Delta Air Lines as the first U.S. carrier to take delivery of the Airbus A220 aircraft.  On hand for the delivery ceremony at the aircraft’s assembly line in Mirabel were members of the A220 team as well as government officials and executives from Delta, Airbus, Bombardier and Investissement Quebec. Delta’s A220 will enter service in early 2019, making Delta the fourth global airline to operate the aircraft previously known as the Bombardier C Series. The C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) welcomed Airbus as lead partner earlier this year, prompting the change of name to the Airbus A220.  Delta is the largest A220-100 customer, with a firm order for 75 aircraft.

With an order book of over 400 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market, estimated to represent at least 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years. As of the end of September, Delta was operating a fleet of 235 Airbus aircraft, including 182 A320 Family members, as well as 42 A330s and 11 A350 XWB, or eXtra Wide Body aircraft. The airline has more than 275 additional Airbus aircraft on order. Next year, Delta will become the first U.S. airline to operate the new Airbus A330neo.

Also from Airbus:

Airbus released The Great Enabler: Aerospace in Africa – a White Paper on the role of aerospace technologies and their impact on socio-economic development in Africa.The extensive report looks at how different segments of the industry can address a core set of challenges on the continent by: increasing access to healthcare; enhancing food security by making African agriculture more competitive and sustainable; promoting education, training and innovation; empowering businesses with innovative products and solutions; and breaking down barriers to the movement of people and goods across Africa.

The white paper analyses the role of aerospace technologies in sectors with the greatest possible impact on social and economic development including manufacturing and industrialization, civil aviation, agriculture, healthcare and humanitarian assistance:

  • On manufacturing and industrialization, many African countries are final consumers in the global aerospace value chain. Joining the ranks of producers in this value chain is challenging for many but not impossible. The examples of Africa’s current leaders in aerospace – South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco – demonstrate the complexities but also the opportunities for African countries to develop aerospace manufacturing and industrialization capacity. Key among these opportunities is Africa’s potential demographic dividend, which will be achieved by investing in its youthful and increasingly techno-savvy population.
  • In the aviation sector, the key question remains how to connect people to markets and goods in a faster, cheaper and more efficient way in order to maximize the sector’s role as an economic engine and a vehicle for greater integration in Africa.
  • Agriculture is perhaps the most consequential pillar of the continent’s sustainable development. However, despite employing more than 60 percent of Africa’s population, the sector contributes only about 15 percent of the continent’s GDP as underlying challenges persist. Aerospace technology such as precision farming could potentially reverse this situation by enabling farmers to produce more with less.
  • Access to healthcare is still a challenge for many rural populations. While building on the existing technologies in the sector – such as air ambulances – new technology will further change the dynamics of access to medical care and emergency response in terms of quantity, distance and data collection.

The report also stresses the need for clear government policies to harness the power of aerospace technology, concluding with key recommendations on human capital development, partnerships and financing.


OTHER NEWS

  • So, if a couple robots can build a chair, when will they be involved in aircraft construction? Robot builds an Ikea chair. Everyone goes nuts. | ZDNet
  • Don’t think the Tesla cars technology are driving the auto market changes? Read this – then think about airplanes! We don’t know if Tesla products are, or are not, top tech; however, you might find this description a bit different than others.
  • Okay, okay, the Bloomberg China-chip story caught a lot of electrical tekkies off guard and we have read a little technical jargon supporting (mostly denying) the possibility of the chip intrusion security technique. It is not easy stuff; however, if you are into the code/chip security issues, you might try reading some of the best electrically technical, intercept possibility articles we have seen on the subject here: Investigating Implausible Bloomberg Supermicro Stories And yes, its not aviation, but as electronics overtakes aviation solutions for things like operation and connectivity, perhaps it might be worth reading. And by the way, you have to read the Comments, they are by some folks that really know their stuff. Good Luck!

IFPL:

Charge-to-Charge is a patent pending solution that IFPL unveiled during APEX. As the name suggests, the new product enables an airline to monetize the USB power. There are two scenarios for a passenger to pay for USB inseat power inflight. 1) During the purchase of an airline ticket, a payment option to include for power during the flight may be selected. 2) Or via a preloaded mobile app, most likely the airline app, a passenger in route could elect to purchase inseat USB power. The USB outlet would communicate with the traveler’s PED via the app, allowing that device to be charged.

IFPL also showcased a reversible power outlet that supports both USB-A to USB-C as many consumer electronics are making the transition from one standard to the other. The company is always innovative, and they also demonstrated a concept seatback 15-watt Qi wireless inductive charging feature. They anticipate certification for the product by year-end.

Lufthansa Systems:

BoardConnect Portable was the focal point for Lufthansa Systems during APEX. The next generation system is capable of streaming inflight entertainment content to 100 passengers, which is more than double its previous capacity. It can be combined with a product from Lufthansa Technik called BoardConnect Portable/Link that facilitates low bandwidth SMS messaging and real-time online payments during flight. Furthermore, the product needs an antenna but requires no STC! Operational health and usage statistics are also features that the new BoardConnect boasts.

PDT an Astronics Company:

One of the forward-thinking technologies we experienced at APEX came from PDT/Astronics. They demoed a concept technology called LiFi. This wasn’t the first time we have heard about LiFi, far from it. However, it was the first time we experienced such a successful demonstration of the technology and we can see future applications for this technology inflight 5 or 10 years down the road. What is LiFi? LiFi is a high speed, bidirectional, and fully networked wireless communication of data using light. When an electrical current is applied to an LED light bulb, a stream of light (photons) is emitted from the bulb. LED bulbs are semiconductor devices, which means that the brightness of the light flowing through them can be changed at extremely high speeds, allowing a signal to be sent by modulating the light at different rates. The signal can be received by a detector which interprets the changes in light intensity as data. This cannot be seen by the human eye. This technique allows data to be transmitted to-from an LED light bulb at very high speeds. In fact, LiFi can get up to 11 Gbps, whereas, standard 802.11ad is in the 7Gbps range. LiFi only works for line of sight transmission but there is no interference with critical instrumentation. LiFi is significantly more secure than other wireless technologies because light can be contained in a physical space – physical barriers and adjustments can be implemented to contain and protect the light. It also works with 10%-90% light illumination. In other words, Li-Fi is rapidly modulated LED that has the capability to securely link a passenger’s PED well beyond traditional Wi-Fi. We realize it was a demo, but we watched a movie streamed via LiFi. There was virtually no latency and you could block the light, stopping the movie, and move your hand and the movie played right where we left off without any noticeable delay. We were impressed and cannot wait for this technology to be available in the home and in the air in the future!

RebelRoam:

One of the reasons we so enjoy attending expos like APEX is having the opportunity to meet new entrants to the IFEC space. RebelRoam is one such company. The Estonian-based company has developed a smartphone app, dubbed RebelRocket, that addresses three issues: speed, cost, and security – all frequent issues affiliated with public Wi-Fi networks whether they be on the ground or airborne. Here is a broad view of how it works. First, the app automatically encrypts all the content secure to any public Wi-Fi network. Secondly malware and ads can be blocked which reduces webpage load time. Third, it also optimizes video streaming. In other words, the app enhances any connection made through any Wi-Fi network. This sounded like a pretty cool product to us and we expect to hear more from RebelRoam over the coming months!

Kontron:

Kontron unveiled their portable Cab-n-Connect P100 wireless streaming platform for the commercial avionics market. The new platform is stated to be both flexible and robust while being in a small form factor (9.8 inches x 3.5 inches x 12.6 inches). It utilizes 802.11ac/abgn radios and features dual hot-swappable batteries to enable 12+ hours of streaming video. The P100 platform has up to 8 TB of onboard storage, as well as, RSSD for quick content updates.

Immfly announced that they selected Kontron for the Pegasus Airlines wireless IFE program. The Turkish-based low-cost carrier selected Kontron to supply their A320 and B737 fleet (81 aircraft) with the ACE Flight 4600 airborne servers, RSSDs, CWAPS and installation kits.

The company also inked a deal with Air Esurfing, a fully owned subsidiary of Air Media online Group, to jointly explore the China aviation Wi-Fi market. The Air Esurfing system solution plans to integrate Kontron’s ACE Flight Server and Cab-n-Connect WAPs for inflight connectivity application for China’s Ku-band and Ku/Ka-band HTS capacity.


MORE INDUSTRY NEWS

Astronics:

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics AeroSat, had its FliteStream connectivity solutions tested, qualified, and approved to operate across Intelsat’s FlexExec business aviation service. Astronics Aerosat’s FliteStream connectivity solutions are the first inflight terminals to obtain approval to operate over Intelsat’s FlexExec service. FliteStream is a widely deployed satellite broadband data solution of fuselage- and tail-mount SATCOM products designed for government, commercial, business and VVIP aviation operators and passengers.

Spafax:

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

Spafax is a finalist in the following two categories:

  • Best Use of Artificial Intelligence: Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa for American Airlines
  •  Best Native/Sponsored Content Program: Business Traveller TV

About Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa

Powered by AI, the Spafax Profile with Amazon Alexa Skill that allows airline passengers to “ask Alexa” about what movies, television shows, and music will be available on board their upcoming flight. The first of its kind, the Skill was launched with American Airlines, who wanted to introduce a way for their customers to use their Alexa-enabled devices to plan their journey and get excited about the entertainment on their upcoming flight.

Skywise:

Airbus has presented its new reliability analysis software at MRO Europe 2018. Called “Skywise Reliability”, this new solution has been developed by Airbus and is offered with Skywise Core. The application integrates all relevant fleet-wide data – such as part replacements, flight plans and delays and historical maintenance actions – and fully automates reliability reporting, saving airlines hours per week. Furthermore, it allows users to ‘drill down’ into trends to truly diagnose root causes so they can allocate resources to mitigate recurring operational interruptions (OIs).

Skywise Reliability also complements internal data with worldwide anonymised fleet data so that airlines can proactively assess reliability performance against industry benchmarks and understand whether a recurring issue is unique or a more systematic issue. Thanks to Skywise Reliability, airlines have already reported that they can typically reduce the reliability process time from one week to one day – saving significant time in collecting / sorting / processing the data and producing reports. Since its launch in June 2018, 28 airlines have been connected to Skywise Reliability, including easyJet, Allegiant, WOW Air, Bangkok Airways, and Etihad. The service provides interactive and ready-to-use dashboards to simplify the reliability process and increase its efficiency. It allows users to measure in-service fleet performance, explore operational data and benchmark fleet data (eg. fleet utilisation, operational interruptions and in-service issues, LRU removals, logbook data etc.) with other operators and the worldwide Airbus fleet. Thanks to Skywise Reliability, airline engineers and technicians can easily set up alerts (for example on mean time between unscheduled removal (MTBUR) of a line-replaceable unit (LRU) versus guaranteed MTBUR), and analyse trends, build reliability reports and collaborate.

Inmarsat:

Inmarsat, a provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced the appointment of Kai Tang as Senior Vice President of Business and General Aviation (BGA). Kai joins the Inmarsat Aviation business from Inmarsat Government, where he held the role of Chief Commercial Officer. Kai is an experienced satellite communications professional with industry expertise ranging across government, maritime and aviation. During his seven years at Inmarsat, he has held the role of Vice President of Commercial Strategy and Operations for Inmarsat’s U.S. Government Business Unit, and also played a key role within the company’s Global Xpress development programme.

He will be responsible for Inmarsat’s ground-breaking portfolio of connectivity services for the business aviation industry, including its global, high-speed Jet ConneX inflight Wi-Fi solution, which delivers an in-the-air broadband experience comparable to on-the-ground connections. In addition, he will oversee next year’s business aviation launch of the European Aviation Network (EAN), the world’s first inflight broadband that combines dedicated satellite coverage with a complementary LTE-based ground network.

SITA:

SITA announced that it will deploy a further 15 Scan&Fly units at Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (klia2), following the successful implementation of 15 units earlier this year. Baggage processing time has been cut in half for AirAsia passengers using SITA’s Scan&Fly bag drop technology at klia2 terminal, taking between 30-40 seconds on average compared to 75 seconds previously and reducing the wait time for check-in by 40%. The addition of SITA Scan&Fly into the check-in process has resulted in dramatic improvements in the overall check-in times. Prior to implementation the average wait time for passengers at klia2 terminal was around seven minutes but with SITA’s efficient baggage processing technology supporting the airline agents this has fallen 40% to just four minutes and increased the capacity of this area of the airport.


OTHER NEWS

Major milestone reached as industry’s only global high-quality inflight Wi-Fi solution achieves rapid installation rate on world-leading business jet models

United Kingdom | October 17, 2018–Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that its market-leading Jet ConneX (JX) business aviation inflight Wi-Fi solution has now been installed and activated on 400 business jets worldwide.

The speed of uptake for the high-speed inflight Wi-Fi service has been rapid, with 125 installations taking place in the past four months alone. Inmarsat’s suite of advanced connectivity services make today’s connected business aircraft a more productive and efficient way to fly, providing an onboard connectivity experience in the air that has previously only been available on the ground.

Kai Tang, Senior Vice President of Business and General Aviation at Inmarsat, said: “The fact that 400 aircraft have been installed with Jet ConneX in under two years of commercial service introduction demonstrates the exceptionally high quality JX delivers to the business aviation market. Inmarsat and our partners have worked hard to exceed expectations and that is reflected in this accelerating demand from both manufacturers and business jet owners, many from Fortune 500 companies.”

Jet ConneX is the preferred linefit option by all of the market-leading business jet manufacturers including Gulfstream, Bombardier, Dassault and Embraer. In addition, Inmarsat has experienced substantial adoption of the solution on a retrofit basis, with more than 40 type certificate and supplemental type certificate (STC) approvals already secured, including for all Boeing and Airbus VVIP type models.

Using Inmarsat’s advanced Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers data plans up to 15Mbps and delivers a reliable, consistent Wi-Fi experience that enables the business traveller to stream wherever and whenever.

Aircraft connect to the service using Jet Wave hardware, offered exclusively by Honeywell Aerospace. To date, more than 1,800 of these JetWave systems have already been delivered by Honeywell.

Inmarsat is transforming the global aviation industry by bringing complete connectivity to every aircraft and flight path in the world. It is the first and only provider with a complete High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) network spanning the world. Inmarsat is also the only aviation broadband provider capable of connecting the complete aircraft from cabin to cockpit.

United Kingdom | October 16, 2018–Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, today announced the appointment of Kai Tang as Senior Vice President of Business and General Aviation (BGA). Kai joins the Inmarsat Aviation business from Inmarsat Government, where he held the role of Chief Commercial Officer.

Kai is an experienced satellite communications professional with industry expertise ranging across government, maritime and aviation. During his seven years at Inmarsat, he has held the role of Vice President of Commercial Strategy and Operations for Inmarsat’s U.S. Government Business Unit, and also played a key role within the company’s Global Xpress development programme.

Kai will be responsible for Inmarsat’s ground-breaking portfolio of connectivity services for the business aviation industry, including its global, high-speed Jet ConneX inflight Wi-Fi solution, which delivers an in-the-air broadband experience comparable to on-the-ground connections. In addition, he will oversee next year’s business aviation launch of the European Aviation Network (EAN), the world’s first inflight broadband that combines dedicated satellite coverage with a complementary LTE-based ground network.

Prior to joining Inmarsat, Kai was the Divisional Director for Navy Shipboard Satellite Communications, as well as airborne and expeditionary programmes, such as Navy VIP Aircraft Communications and the Joint Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) project for The Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), which is a combat support organization of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

Philip Balaam, President, Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Kai has made a huge contribution to Inmarsat since he joined seven years ago. In particular, he was instrumental in the strategy and development of the Global Xpress network. Through his experience with the US Navy, and Inmarsat Government, and working closely with our channel partners, Kai brings a broad skill set and range of experience that I have no doubt will be of great value as we continue to build on the success of our BGA business.”

Commenting on his appointment, Kai Tang said: “BGA is an exciting area for Inmarsat and for the inflight connectivity industry as a whole, both now and looking forward. Inmarsat already has a well-established ecosystem of world class partners and OEMs delivering our market-leading solutions in this space and I’m very much looking forward to working with them.”

Inmarsat is transforming the global aviation industry by bringing complete connectivity to every aircraft and flight path in the world. It is the first and only provider with a complete High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) network spanning the world. Inmarsat is also the only aviation broadband provider capable of connecting the complete aircraft from cabin to cockpit.

SkyLights

At APEX in Boston, SkyLights announced their partnership with STELIA Aerospace for their premium inseat cinematic VR IFE solution. STELIA is one of the leaders in the field of Business and First class passenger seats The new product combines SkyLights’ Allosky headset, STELIA’s new Opal business class seat and InSeat Solutions’ interactive massage system. The combination of these products provides an unparalleled 4D experience and simplifies the logistics of SkyLights’ entertainment. We tried the Allosky headset and were blown away by the Full HD virtual experience. The audio system is linked into the seat so the massage system, which is equipped with an audio vibration mode, delivers content-synchronized vibrations for a truly immersive interactive experience. As well as upgrading the passenger experience, the inseat solution reduces the logistical complexity and cost of VR IFE for airlines. The devices do not need to be loaded/off-loaded when an aircraft is at its base and can be cleaned onboard by the same crew that cleans the aircraft. SkyLights stated that the new in-seat solution is planned as a line-fit product for airlines that are seeking to upgrade and differentiate their upper-class passenger experience. Airlines looking to implement the benefits in a shorter term, the SkyLights entertainment can be integrated into existing seats certified on a fleet-by-fleet basis.

Alaska Airlines will be the first airline in North America to implement the Allosky VR headset. The inflight experience has 2-D and 3-D screens and forward-facing 360-degree films will be available in the airlines’ first-class service on the Seattle-Boston and Boston-San Diego routes.

FTS

FTS had several significant announcements that were unveiled in Boston. First, FTS and Global Onboard Partners announced their agreement to collaborate to promote, design, and offer a seamless inflight entertainment and ancillary revenue service for airlines around the globe. FTS is a provider of wireless IFEC solutions and Global Onboard Partners is a provider of inflight advertising products. The two will combine their patented onboard technologies, hardware and products in an effort to provide airlines with a comprehensive revenue generating IFE solution.

Additionally, FTS announced their partnership with Qingdao Airlines of China, a private company, to equip its fleet of 14 A320 aircraft with XStream-SAT Broadband Connectivity system. This arrangement is achievable with the Civil Aviation Authority of China’s relaxation of regulations in early 2018, allowing passengers to use smartphones during flight.

Another landmark agreement announced during APEX was Donghai Airlines plan to equip its fleet with XStream-Sat Next Generation Inflight Broadband system from FTS. The significance of this deal is that it will be for the first fully ‘Connected Aircraft’ implementation in China to integrate both flight deck and passenger cabin application over inflight broadband connectivity service. Rich Salter, Chief Technology Officer of FTS added, “The seamless integration of the aircraft data network with the airline’s IT infrastructure enables the aircraft to become more intelligent and data-centric. Airlines can provide precise support to flights through analysis of real time data transmitted via the air-ground broadband network.  By remote monitoring of flight systems’ performance and leveraging AI deep learning, airlines can even preemptively predict defects, recommend preventive measures and thereby greatly improve flight reliability.”

Viasat

One of the primary topics of discussion from Viasat during APEX was the selection of Aeromexico of the ViaSat Ka-band satcom solution for 18 of their B787 MAX, 16 B737 MAX aircraft are new. The first line-fit installations have already begun and there are options to extend the agreement to 60 other jetliners in the Aeromexico fleet. According to ViaSat the airline evaluated the Viasat inflight internet service and selected them based on its proven, scalable network platform. Furthermore, the ability for them to tap into the ViaSat-2 satellite and future satellites, like Viasat-3, provides the airline with greater inflight Wi-Fi reliability, faster onboard internet speeds, better internet performance, and a futureproofed approach to inflight Wi-Fi. As the Viasat technology is both forward and backward compatible across all of Viasat’s spacecraft, ensuring that the Aeromexico’s jetliners can stay connected.

La Compagnie Business-Class Airline partnered with Viasat to offer inflight connectivity to the boutique airline’s twice daily flights between New York and Paris. The airline’s A321neo aircraft will be installed with high-speed Wi-Fi Capabilities and will enter into revenue service in April 2019. The satellite design and its ability to meet the connectivity demands in high-density areas like major airport hubs and congested air corridors appealed to the boutique carrier.

SITAONAIR

SITAONAIR forged an agreement with Etisalat, a mobile network operator, to transform how inflight cellular services are offered to airline passengers. Etisalat is based in the United Arab Emirates and allows subscribers of their business roaming packs to use their data and minutes inflight as part of their bundle with no additional fee. This new roaming agreement provides their travelers with a seamless mobile connectivity experience whether they be on the ground or in the air.

New Caledonia-based airline, Aircalin, also chose SITAONAIR for their in-flight connectivity solution. The airline will install their A330-900s and A320neos over the next 3 years.


IFEC NEWS:

Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has appointed Donny Cheah, as Regional Vice President, China. This strategic hire will bolster Panasonic’s presence in China which is the fastest-growing region in the world for air travel. To date, Panasonic has sold more than 2,000 inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions to airlines based in this region. Donny will also serve as the president of Panasonic Avionics (China) Co., Ltd. (PACN) which will be newly established in Shanghai, China this year. In his business management role, Donny will oversee account management, customer support, repairs & maintenance, media & creative services, along with the service functions of quality, human resources, IT, and customs compliance in the China region.

Astronics

Astronics announced that it has joined the Seamless Air Alliance as an “Adopter Member. ” The Seamless Air Alliance is a consortium of companies dedicated to the development and promotion of aircraft connectivity standards to facilitate a simple, delightful experience for passengers. The goal of the organization is to create standards that ensure continuous connectivity from gate-to-gate anywhere in the world with the additional potential benefit of reducing the hurdles associated with the acquisition, installation and operation of inflight connectivity systems.

Astronics FliteStream: The company also announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics AeroSat, is introducing its next generation FliteStream T-310 SATCOM connectivity solution for business aircraft. Astronics is offering the FliteStream T-310 solution to the business aircraft market in partnership with Satcom Direct (SD), the launch customer, as part of its SD Xperience end-to-end solution. The T-310 is fully qualified and approved to operate on the Intelsat FlexExec business aviation network. The FliteStream T-310 SATCOM connectivity solution includes the next generation iDirect CX780 modem, providing compatibility with both Ku-band wide beam and high throughput spot beam satellite (HTS) networks.

Gogo

Gogo Business Aviation has surpassed 5,000 systems activated across the AVANCE platform and its other ATG (air-to-ground) systems. Presently, Gogo has nearly 450 Gogo AVANCE systems flying on business aircraft, including AVANCE L5 and L3, which is the fastest adoption of connectivity systems across the broadest range of business aircraft models in the history of business aviation. AVANCE L5, Gogo’s solution that can provide bandwidth-intensive activity such as streaming video, has been in the market for a little more than a year. To date, Gogo has more than 350 L5 systems installed and activated, with an additional 300 that have been shipped. AVANCE L3, which began shipping earlier this year, continues to gain momentum and is expected to reach 100 installations by mid-November, less than one year after launch. Since the start of the year, the AVANCE L5 system has been in use on more than 28,000 flights, delivering a 4G experience that allows heavy-bandwidth activities such as streaming video, video conferencing, email with large attachments, and fast web browsing.

Gogo DASH

Connectivity is often the biggest influencer on passenger satisfaction today. Passengers on business aircraft expect reliable, seamless connectivity, but they also want visibility into the performance of the connectivity systems on board their aircraft. To help provide greater insight and better diagnostic tools, Gogo Business Aviation is introducing Gogo DASH, a powerful new toolkit that gives operators and pilots visibility into the Gogo network and the connectivity systems they have installed on their aircraft.  Gogo DASH is comprised of the DASH mobile app and DASH portal and provides information for a single aircraft or an entire fleet.

SITA

Moscow Domodedovo Airport and S7 Airlines have implemented SITA’s Scan&Fly self-bag drop technology, providing passengers with a faster, more efficient process to check-in their own bags. The process takes less than a minute. The technology was developed by SITA, the world leader in IT and telecommunications solutions for the air transport industry. The self-bag drop solution was tested on S7 check-in counters since early September and positive feedback was received from more than 1,000 passengers that used the service. By the end of the year, 24 check-in counters at Domodedovo will be equipped with the self-bag drop technology, allowing other airlines to use the service. Scan&Fly will accelerate and simplify the check-in process for passengers. Equipped with a document scanner and a hand-held infrared barcode reader, it takes only three simple steps for passengers to check-in a bag. First, the boarding pass barcode (printed or digital) is scanned, a bag tag is printed and then the passenger attaches the tag to their bag before depositing it for processing.

ATPCO and SITA announced that British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, the airlines of the LATAM Group, and Finnair will participate in NDC Exchange, a platform that enables content interoperability across the airline distribution ecosystem and is a trusted bridge between IATA’s NDC (New Distribution Capability) and traditional distribution methods. “By connecting to NDC Exchange we have access to these first movers, as well as other airlines as they join. By building a single connection to NDC Exchange, we are being more efficient with our development resources, letting us focus on customer experience rather than content acquisition. We’re excited about the momentum this is getting and can’t wait for the next airline,” said Rich Miller of Serko, an industry-leading corporate booking tool. NDC Exchange is a community platform that enables API connectivity between airlines and sellers (GDSs, travel agents, aggregators, OTAs, and TMCs) so that they can exchange messages easily and cost effectively. NDC Exchange supports shopping, booking, and servicing workflows and enables the cross-selling of ancillary services between airlines, and among airlines and sellers. Using a common data model, it normalizes messages regardless of version or format, creating interoperability across the distribution ecosystem. Travel sellers can access multiple airlines via NDC Exchange, hence lowering the cost of their implementation.

As world leaders gather in Bali for the IMF-World Bank Group meetings, PT Angkasa Pura I Persero (AP1), which operates 13 airports across Central and Eastern Indonesia, announced that it will be leveraging world-class technology, from air transport IT provider SITA, to manage the country’s rising passenger numbers. The commitment to leverage world-class technology was reiterated through a partnership signing event, between SITA and PT Angkasa Pura Supports (APS), AP1’s subsidiary company, held at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport today. Indonesia is the biggest aviation market in South East Asia with more than 110 million passengers in 2017 and it is growing rapidly. By 2036, Indonesia is expected to be one of the top four markets globally with a forecasted 355 million passengers. The economic and social benefits of aviation are well recognized and SITA’s proven airport technology will support AP1’s vision to run world-class operations providing a great passenger experience during this period of rapid growth. Since 2014, SITA has provided AirportConnect Open to AP1. This common-use platform enables carriers to operate smoothly at AP1’s 13 airports, including at two of Indonesia’s busiest and award-winning airports Denpasar (Bali) and Surabaya. This platform also enables the future introduction of SITA’s self-service check-in kiosks, bag-drop and boarding gates; and SITA ControlBridge, which seamlessly integrates the command and control capability of an airport to deliver efficient operations.


OTHER NEWS

OK, let’s kick off this IFExpress with some “trends” we saw at the show in Boston. These aren’t predictions but just observations and we will of course talk about them in the weeks to come.

  • Big IFE seems very interested in satcom. This sort of makes sense, especially if there is a future payback.
  • Show booths are seemingly getting a little smaller?!
  • Connectivity is becoming more of industry focal point.
  • People’s personal devices are affecting the industry in at least 2 ways: They may impact the future IFE embedded installations and the inseat power folks are all smiles.
  • There is a next generation system and it looks amazing, especially since it can help you enjoy the flight experience better.
  • Software Analytics in a big supplier’s booth blew us away because they have a working user system hardware/software application. If you have their hardware, they can provide an incredible total aircraft system monitor that knows if and where failures are. Further, the application allows the airline to monitor content usage, per tail, per seat, per route! (More on this later).
  • As satcom frequency bands go up, aircraft satcom dishes are getting a little smaller and lower in height.
  • Speaking of satcoms, LEO systems are garnering more interest every day.
  • There is a new player knocking on the door of the Big 3 IFEC camp.
  • One vendor has found a way for you to pay for your PED power usage – on the plane!

Some Highlights from APEX EXPO:

PANASONIC

During Panasonic’s media briefing, Panasonic’s Chief Technology Officer, David Bartlett discussed the three overall areas of focus for the company: 1) Improving customer satisfaction by providing the passenger a seamless experience, 2) Improving operational efficiency, and 3) How to use digital transformation to drive revenue and new business opportunities. As a result, Panasonic has been focusing heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning and their new NEXT cloud-based platform allows them to leverage these new technologies. Panasonic has also strengthened their existing relationship with Black Swan for Artificial Intelligence.

Andrew Mohr, Head of Innovation at Panasonic Avionics, unveiled their new Wellness Suite of products, which is one of the four pillars of the NEXT product line. The Wellness suite features five products: premium lighting, active noise control, nanoe air quality, the Detalytics Health app, and Mimi personalized audio. The premium LED lighting product is targeted to hit the market in 2020 and will have various scenarios that the traveler can select from, including circadian rhythm, sleep, mealtime, and/or entertainment. The noise control product that was discussed, and demoed in the booth, was in a premium seat whereby the external noise was reduced by 15 decibels without the use of headphones. The technology is adaptable to each seat configuration and will calibrate inflight to each passenger’s seat. It has a frequency range of 80-400Hz and in-seat controls, integrating with the passenger IFE. It too will be launched in the 2019/2020 time frame.

Nanoe was another wellness feature. This is an air cleansing technology, that is currently used on the ground in Japan and in automobiles including Range Rover and Jaguar, that creates nano droplets of water to remove airborne odors and pathogens. But get this, the ionized water droplets are 15,000 times smaller than a human hair follicle!! The nano-sized electrostatic atomized particles are distributed at 480 billion nm particles per second, resulting in the removal of viruses, bacteria, fungi and odors from the cabin.

Artificial intelligence comes into play with the Detalytics health app. AI is used to assess various aspects of a passengers’ health/wellness and deliver accurate recommendations to them via the app. Perhaps the most amazing offering in the Wellness product suite came from Mimi audio technology. Mimi is an app that uses a specialized algorithm that tests and tunes the audio headphones to the passengers’ specific hearing requirements.  The passenger can either answer a series of specific hearing related questions or simply select their gender and age – the results are truly phenomenal! The health and wellness market has been a huge success on the ground with all the wearable technologies available today, whether it be a FitBit, Apple Watch4, Garmin, etc. It was only a matter of time before this booming industry reached into the airline market.  As expected, Panasonic indicated they have an undisclosed launch customer. All this is attainable because of the NEXT open platform.

Panasonic also announced an IFEC deal with Uzbekistan Airways for 3 B787-8 and 2 A320neo aircraft. The X-Series IFEC system, in conjunction with a suite of connectivity services, will be line-fit installed on the new jets. A personalized, home theater experience, with HD screens and high-power USB charging at every seat, AVOD, and capacitive multi-touch screens. The aircraft will also be outfitted with inflight Wi-Fi service. The B787-8 will also have live television and the ability for passengers to use their mobile phone in flight. All the aircraft in this contract are slated to enter into service in January 2019.

Egyptair also selected Panasonic for 15 A320neo aircraft. The X-Series IFEC platform will be line-fit installed on the new narrow-body aircraft, starting in 2020. Business Class will boast 13-inch HD personal screens, a video handset and high-power charging facilities at every seat. Economy Class will have 10-inch HD screens incorporating a USB power point, with charging facilities at each seat group. Inflight Wi-Fi service will also be available; as well as, inflight shopping options and a 3D flight path moving map. Egyptair has also opted to use OneMedia, Panasonic’s advertising platform, to target onboard advertising campaigns by categories including seat class, flight destination, origin city, content categories, and languages.

GOGO

On the opening day of the exhibition floor, Gogo announced that their IPTV product, dubbed Gogo TV, is up and flying on three global airlines, delivering live television to 550+ aircraft. Sports, news, and other content is either delivered to the passengers’ Wi-Fi enabled PEDs or enabled into the seatback IFE system. The airline can customize channel options, allowing their passengers to view popular networks in their country and/or region. Gogo TV is available via the Gogo 2Ku high-speed satcom service. Gogo TV uses High Efficiency Video Coding compression that facilitates bandwidth usage up to 40%. The system also combines multiple channels into a single multicast stream (statistical multiplexing), resulting in a highly efficient solution that offers the best possible perceived video quality while using the least total bandwidth.  Gogo also announced that Air France launched Gogo’s 2Ku high-speed connectivity system on an A330 and B777 with installations being underway on the balance of Air France’s long-haul fleet of 83 jetliners.

THALES

American Airlines and Thales announced during the EXPO that the airline has selected AVANT IFE System for their 22 new B787-8 Dreamliners that are scheduled to enter into service in 2020. Business Class travelers will have 17-inch HD Flex screens and the Thales handheld controller, Avii, that also has the capability to be used as a second screen. Premium Economy will have 12-inch Fit HD screens, while economy will have the 10-inch version.

In the Thales booth, the highlights were on their three-tiered IFEC offering: 1) CORE – their streamlined entertainment product that has a low time to market and uses the Thales developed standard GUI. This product is line-fit offerable at both Boeing and Airbus today, 2) AVANT– uses the current platform that Thales has developed but facilitates more design choices and a degree of customization for the airlines, and 3) PRESTIGE – which is a high-end product that is co-designed and co-innovated by the airline and Thales working closely together to tailor the passenger experience. Presently, both the CORE and AVANT products are available.

Thales also addressed their commitment to Big Data, which they said not only facilitates personalization for the passenger but also has implications for airline operations and its associated costs. Closely related is Artificial Intelligence (AI), with they see playing a significant role in preventative maintenance by utilizing just-in-time parts shipping. Thales stated they are fully dedicated to connectivity and their Ka-band technology investment. They added that they are presently looking into 5G as well. And lastly, but certainly not least, they indicated that Thales has a commitment to Cyber Security.  The indicated that the Thales IFEC group was fortunate to have the Thales Group investing in the aforementioned categories.

Thales also announced that Vietnam Airlines strengthened their partnership with the airline’s selection of AVANT IFE for their new B787-10 fleet of aircraft. This agreement expands their existing relationship for the airline’s A350 and B787-9 fleets with AVANT IFE and turn-key maintenance services.

HOT TEAM = ENCORE

For the past few years, we have been impressed by the inflight entertainment content folks out of Hong Kong and we wanted to introduce you to Jovita Toh’s Encore team …“is made of a group of in-flight veterans who have individually evolved within the inflight and content industries, enhanced their expertise with polished skills, exchanged personal time and effort for added knowledge, enabled the organizations they work for with necessary insights and are now joining forces to extend their collective experience to the exciting world of inflight entertainment”… we couldn’t have said it better! You can find out more here. Watch these folks because they will be content suppliers of the future! PS, they turn out a great monthly newsletter – contact Tommy Ko.


Other News:

AIRBUS

The Board of Directors of Airbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) has selected Guillaume Faury as future Airbus Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Faury, 50, who currently serves as President Airbus Commercial Aircraft, will succeed Tom Enders, 59, who remains CEO until the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 10 April 2019, when the appointment of Faury as executive member of the Board will be submitted to shareholders. Guillaume Faury served in various senior management roles at Eurocopter from 1998 to 2008. Starting in Engineering, then Flight Test, he later became Executive Vice President for Commercial Programmes, then Executive Vice President for Research and Development. In 2009, Faury joined Peugeot S.A., where he served as Executive Vice President for Research and Development as a Member of the Managing Board. In May 2013, Faury returned to Airbus as CEO of Airbus Helicopters and in early 2018 he took the helm of Airbus Commercial Aircraft. Denis Ranque will continue as Chairman of the Board of Directors until the end of his mandate in April 2020, as foreseen in the staggered board succession process, introduced at AGM 2016. At that time and after seven years as Chairman, Denis Ranque has requested to leave the Board to pursue other interests. The Board will commence the process of selecting a new Chairman in due course having regard to, as expressed in its internal rules, the importance of maintaining international diversity at Board and Management level.

NOTES OF INTEREST

Another APEX has gone by and there were some interesting changes and new technologies at the Boston Experience. Specifically, here are a few of the event “big deals” we saw. And you should note, some of the technologies and business deals will be with us for years and impact the industry for some time. Here are just a few of the deals and trends to watch, and note, in the forthcoming weeks, we will do future stories on many more vendors and many more products beyond the quick look presented here:

  • Panasonic and Inmarsat announced a strategic partnership to expand their relationship of inflight connectivity at Ku and Ka bands. This collaboration has the potential to offer a better inflight connectivity solution worldwide because of the existing fixed satcom installations at some 22,300 feet. Watch this relationship as it unfolds.We understand that the deal will be finalized by the end of October.
  • Another “big deal” is the clever acquisition of Rockwell Collins Paves IFE hardware, software, manufacturing, and manpower solution by digEcor. While the official announcement will be made later, almost everyone we saw had the story. The acquisition is a brilliant growth path for digEcor. Interestingly, Paul Margis and Gene Connelly were in the picture and no doubt were fans of a wider product base offerings. With some 1400 (est.) planes installed with Paves, digEcor is off and running with a full range of IFE, not to mention some items of which are line fit offerable at both Boeing and Airbus!
  • Astronics displayed a wide range of products including their IFE solutions. Included was an overhead bin sensor that will advise if passengers (or crew) left an object behind. This product can detect the bin environment including temperature, humidity, chemicals, as well as carry-ons left behind. Another potential product that we really liked was a light connectivity (LiFi) cabin solution displayed by Mark Schwartz of PDT. Their test displayed a video (high res) with no wired connection. More on this in future articles.

You will be able to see a lot more of the show on our website in the form of images in the coming weeks, as well as, finer tuned and more detailed articles on the expo.

In general, the expo this year told us the following:

1. In general, the IFE industry is developing smaller, lighter weight modular systems. A perfect example of this is the Panasonic NEXT System which is planned for the B777X in 2020. They cleverly built a room wall with the hardware laid out with connection paths so that the system and its options were easily understood – great communication concept.

2. One of the big aviation travel features is connectivity and passengers continue to demand contact with the ground. Further, since so many of today’s PEDs have entertainment capability, inflight bandwidth demand is escalating!

3. Analytics of everything on the plane is increasing and data requirements are growing to help improve plane/ground connectivity.

4. Panasonic is breaking some new ground in the application of improved passenger flight experience and wellness. This will be a big deal in future travel, especially in upper classes. To give you an idea of one of the areas impacted, entertainment hearing improvement was demonstrated with the software on an iPad that adjusted frequency response based on a traveler’s entered age. It was amazing!

6.The connectivity industry is now in a waiting pattern to see if LEO satcom technology will come on line as purported. Obviously, bandwidth requirements are growing and since the satcom density is greater with LEO’s, the ability of more bandwidth is there. Watch this one!

7. People are returning to the IFE industry and a good example, is Mythopoeia. The company is making a new IFE solution and it’s leader is Terrence Bonar!

8. Artificial Intelligence has landed in inflight entertainment and many airlines now use companies like Black Swan Data to better connect passengers from flight-to-flight and use algorithms to load products and prices.

9. No doubt you have heard, but people changes seem to be a big part of the industry this year. Stay Tuned on this one.

10. KID Systems has the slickest seatback USB plug – It just slides/snaps in and has no external power wires! We will have pix for you soon.

And yes, there was much more to see, which we will cover in future editions of IFExpress!


APEX OPENING SESSION SUMMARY

As usual APEX started of the week-long event with a Welcome & Introduction seminar, what was unique about this year’s opening was there were 6 C Level airline executives present that addressed their airline’s focus for the next 12 months. Their topics ranged from how to utilize personalization, the implementation of bio-metrics, and improving connectivity.  Below are the highlights from each airline representatives’ presentation.

The first to speak was American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, who focused on the airline’s transformation since the acquisition of US Airways in 2013. Mr. Parker stated that they have invested over $26 billion in the process of which $19 billion has gone to the acquisition of 500 new jetliners. He stated there is a night to day difference in their onboard offering over the past 5 years. An example is they no longer have an inseat IFE offering onboard their 737 MAX. Instead, they feature 12 channels of live television, as well as, paid for Wi-Fi streaming to PEDs. He also stated that premium economy will soon be available on all of American Airlines international fleet and that it has been well received and is in high demand on those aircraft that it has been installed on.

Stephen Kavanagh, CEO & executive director of Aer Lingus was the next to address the APEX throng. He stated that starting in 2019 the airline was going to refresh their brand. This will encompass free 20 MB of free Wi-Fi for economy class service. A new livery and new flight crew uniforms are included in the package. The refresh will be included on 12 new A321neo long-range jets. The updated image will reflect Aer Lingus’ modern outlook, as well as, their desire to be the leading value carrier across the Atlantic. The airline is also focusing on making changes based on Net Promoter Score (NPS) and are targeting to be in the 40 – 50 point range across all business categories. Examples of areas that have greatly improved their NPS yield are improved quality in their audio headsets and investing in better IFE screens – improvements that transformed their onboard passenger experience, bumping their NPS up significantly.

Passenger service improvements were the focus of Aeromexico’s CEO Andres Conesa. Mr. Conesa stated that it was irrelevant if you offered great inflight service, IFEC, or wonderful seats unless your flight departed on time. He stated that the most important thing is consistency and the way that Aeromexico is aiming to achieve this is through branded fares that allow the passenger to tailor their ticket to exactly what they want, as well as, standardizing their fleet from 7 different aircraft models down to 3 has also facilitated their plan. Presently, whether it is an international short, medium or long-haul flight passengers will have access to connectivity, IFE, free food and drink.

LATAM Airlines Group also considered NPS. Their NPS indicated that passengers were most concerned about the cabin experience. Consequently, the airline plans to invest $400 million over the next 3 years to retrofit the cabins on 67% of their fleet. Claudia Sender, CEO of LATAM Brasil and VP of Customers for LATAM Airlines Group said that the program will commence in January of 2019. The airline will be revamping the passenger experience in an effort to provide a more relaxing space. Simultaneously, LATAM will be expanding its route network through their joint venture with the IAG Group and American Airlines.

Calin Rovinescu, president and CEO of Air Canada, addressed the rebrand that Air Canada is currently undergoing. Having recently launched Rouge, the airline’s leisure brand, they wanted to make certain that Air Canada was distinguished as their mainline brand maintained its role as a leading brand globally. The first step towards maintaining this clarification between product offerings was the launch of a new livery for Air Canada – a black tail with the return of the red maple leaf. New food and beverage offerings, new uniforms and the rebranding of their premium product are part of the program as well. All of this sounds fairly normal until Mr. Rovinescu started discussing the 5-star restaurant and BMW limousine service for their full-fare international business class passengers at Air Canada’s Toronto hub! Mr. Rovinescu was also the recipient of the APEX Life Time Achievement Award.

Spirit Airlines CEO, Robert Fornaro spoke during one of the educational tracks dubbed Invest in The Guest: Utilization of Technology to Enhance PaxEx. During the breakout session Mr. Fornaro looked back to the early days of the leisure carrier, stating that what they had to offer the traveler was low prices and that was about it. When Fornaro took the helm he airline wanted to “invest in the guest” but didn’t want to select any connectivity offering, he wanted a solution that would fit Spirit’s business model. This led Spirit to be the launch customer for Thales’ FlytLIVE high throughput Ka-band satellite service. The system not only provides streaming capabilities, but the platform allows access to a large amount of analytics which facilitate ancillary revenue generation, understand the passenger, develop their value proposition, and truly fine tune their passengers experience.

Company says offer of award-winning IFE solution for visually impaired passengers is “the right thing to do”
APEX EXPO, Boston USA | September 24, 2018– At APEX EXPO, Bluebox Aviation Systems has announced that all existing and new customers of Bluebox’s iPad-based IFE platforms will benefit from the company’s development of Bluebox aIFE, an app for visually impaired passengers that won a Crystal Cabin Award earlier this year. For all Bluebox iPad devices currently in service, Bluebox offers to provide the upgrade free of charge, in line with device update cycles. The combined build platform will also be offered to any new customers of iPad-based IFE deployments at no extra cost. The combined build enables cabin crew to switch between the standard IFE mode (Bluebox Ai or Bluebox Hybrid, a Wi-Fi enabled version of Bluebox Ai) and accessibility mode (Bluebox aIFE) depending on a passenger’s needs.

“Since launching Bluebox aIFE with Virgin Atlantic, we developed a way of combining the standard and accessible versions on the same device,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “Recognising how simple it is to update Virgin Atlantic’s iPads, we thought we would be just extend the same capability to all of our customers. Having worked with a group of visually impaired people in the system’s development, and hearing the feedback from Virgin Atlantic passengers about what it means to be able to use the system, we felt it was the right thing to do, and could be our contribution to directly improving the passenger experience of visually impaired passengers around the world.”
Bluebox worked closely with Virgin Atlantic and a group of visually impaired people from the UK charity Guide Dogs in the development of the original Bluebox aIFE platform, which has been entertaining passengers with visual impairments aboard Virgin Atlantic flights serving destinations across North America, the Caribbean, Africa, China, India and the Middle East.
The combined build offers airlines providing IFE a two-in-one solution for ensuring IFE is available to all passengers throughout their flight – at a tap of an on-screen button, a cabin crew member selects the accessible version for someone who is visually impaired, or the standard IFE mode. When the devices are offered for rent during a flight, it means visually impaired passenger can take up the offer just like anyone else. Or, where the devices are used for service recovery on an aircraft with seatback IFE, it means the same device can be used as the primary screen for a visually impaired passenger or as a backup if any other passenger’s seatback screen malfunctions.
Bluebox will upgrade devices in line with the deployment cycles of existing customers taking up the offer, working with them closely to ensure they understand how the new functionality works. For any new customer of Bluebox Ai or Bluebox Hybrid, the combined build with Bluebox aIFE can be included in the initial deployment.

Powerful and flexible, Kontron Cab-n-Connect™ P100 delivers high-quality streaming for up to 100 users from a single unit

Augsburg, Germany & Boston, USA | September 24, 2018– Kontron, a leading global provider of IoT/Embedded Computing Technology (ECT), today introduced its portable Cab-n-Connect P100 wireless streaming platform for the commercial avionics industry. Providing a flexible and robust solution, this small form factor IFE&C system utilizes dual 802.11ac/abgn radios that innovatively deliver high-quality streaming for up to 100 client devices enabling airlines to support an individual aircraft’s in-flight entertainment needs. Realizing its value in delivering a powerful and mobile IFE&C solution, the Cab-n-Connect P100 is already being evaluated by several customers.

Measuring just 9.8-inches (25cm) x 3.5-inches (9cm) x 12.6-inches (32cm), the portable Cab-n-Connect P100 system features dual hot-swappable batteries that enable more than 12 hours of streaming video. The P100 platform offers up to 8 terabytes (TB) of onboard storage giving almost unlimited capacity to add engaging content. In addition, the system’s removable storage device (RSSD) allows for quick content updates. The Cab-n-Connect P100’s operating system supports Docker Applications and Virtual Machines to further simplify IFE content management system integration. The unit provides an intuitive interface for the cabin crew to manage the system and it also provides status information via an OLED display.

Based on Kontron’s highly reliable, open-architecture COMe-bDV7R Computer-on-Module, the Cab-n-Connect P100 provides Intel Atom processor C3000 series server-grade processor performance with 8 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. Different C3000 series and Broadwell-DE series processors along with memory options are possible. Futher options include an integrated 4G LTE cellular modem.

Kontron’s ongoing strategy is to support partners and airline customers with critical system components that meet the connected aircraft wireless and network backbone requirements. With this commitment, Kontron has built a strong reputation for providing breakthrough IFE&C platforms that help accelerate development for quick time-to-market at the lowest cost of deployment. There are currently more than 4,000 commercial aircraft and business jets operating worldwide with Kontron equipment on board.

For detailed information on the Cab-n-Connect P100 specifications, please see:https://www.kontron.com/downloads/datasheets/c/cab-n-connect-p100_preliminary-ds-09.19.18-.pdf

To learn more about Kontron’s avionics product portfolio, please visit: https://www.kontron.com/industries/avionics

Aeromexico Will Tap into the Most Powerful Communications Satellite in the World; Providing Optimized Internet Experiences that Will Keep Pace with Future Passenger and Crew Broadband Demands

APEX EXPO, Boston MA | September 24, 2018– Viasat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT), a global communications company, today announced Aeromexico will deploy the Viasat in-flight internet system across 18 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with an option to extend up to 60 aircraft. First line-fit installations of Viasat’s equipment have already begun.

Aeromexico evaluated the Viasat in-flight internet service against competitor offerings and chose Viasat based on its proven, scalable network platform. Aeromexico’s ability to tap into the ViaSat-2 satellite as well as Viasat’s future satellites, gave the airline great confidence it would be able to offer the best service quality with:

  • Optimal in-flight Wi-Fi reliability for the best and most consistent online experience gate-to-gate.
  • Fast onboard internet speeds ensuring passengers and crew have advanced streaming, downloading and web browsing capabilities.
  • High value internet performance as Viasat’s satellite system offers significant capacity and competitivebandwidth to Aeromexico’s flight routes.
  • A futureproofed approach to in-flight Wi-Fi, that will give Aeromexico access to the top-of-the-market advanced satellite communications system and spacecraft innovations to meet the growing broadband demands of the fully connected aircraft.

Viasat’s in-flight internet system will ensure Aeromexico’s aircraft can stay connected – as the technology is forward and backward compatible across the full fleet of Viasat’s spacecraft. This will give Aeromexico passengers optimal internet streaming and web browsing capabilities when traveling; flight crews the opportunity to stay connected for enhanced passenger services; and operations teams on the ground the ability to perform maintenance tasks when the plane is flying at 35,000 feet.

“As Mexico’s global airline, we take great pride in ensuring our passengers have access to the latest innovations and airline comforts,” said Andres Castañeda, Chief Marketing Officer, Aeromexico. “By bringing Viasat in-flight internet on board, we will deliver a top class in-flight Wi-Fi experience for our passengers. We want all of our clients to enjoy a high-quality internet experience in the air, and partnering with Viasat will accomplish that.”

“Aeromexico’s decision to deploy Viasat’s industry-leading in-flight internet system is a testament to their forward-thinking technology approach and their commitment to passenger and crew excellence,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat. “Our current service has been recognized by multiple third parties as the best in-flight internet service on the global market, offering high-performance and high-dependability. With ViaSat-2 and subsequently ViaSat-3, we will bring even greater speeds and reliability with built-in scale and flexibility to serve millions of passengers daily as they fly across multiple continents.”

At this year’s APEX we thought it would be interesting to watch out for the following as examples of potential show announcements: consolidations; large companies seeking smaller companies and ancillary products; and even passenger apps that help expand business, save money and allow for personalized customer experiences. And without saying, there will be more industry changes to write about in the coming weeks. True to form, this week’s Hot Topic primarily pertains Astronics, a big player that is getting even bigger. With recent acquisitions, Astronics is expanding and diversifying within the aviation realm. We were fortunate enough to have some questions answered by Executive Vice President, Mark Peabody and several other company Division Presidents.

1. Mark, could you please provide us with a broad statement on company updates: number of subsidiaries, number of employees, locations, and a broad product focus to set the stage?

Astronics serves the world’s aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries with innovative power, lighting, connectivity, interiors, structures, and service solutions. Comprised of 11 subsidiaries, the Company employs nearly 3,000 team members in locations around the globe.

2. How many of the Astronics’ subsidiaries deal with data and connectivity for the aviation industry and who are they?

Five of Astronics subsidiaries provide connectivity and data solutions for the aviation industry, as outlined below:

  • Astronics Ballard Technology – Aircraft data systems
  • Astronics AeroSat – Connectivity solutions including IFC antennas and radome systems
  • Astronics Connectivity Systems & Certification (formerly Telefonix and Astronics Armstrong Aerospace) – Inflight entertainment hardware systems, including installation design, kitting, and certification
  •  Astronics Custom Control Concepts – VIP IFE and CMS systems
  • Astronics PGA – VIP IFE and CMS systems

Astronics CCC and PGA often cooperate on providing solutions together for the VIP/BizAv markets. For the purposes of this article, we will include information from Astronics Ballard Technology, Astronics AeroSat, and Astronics CSC, where their product lines serve the needs of commercial transport.

3. What specific products/systems (antennas, WAPs, servers, data storage, etc.) does Astronics currently manufacture via their subsidiaries?

For commercial aircraft, Astronics offers a broad system of hardware and software components to help customers create complete system solutions. These include:

Aircraft Data Systems – New smart sensing systems, aircraft interface devices, avionics I/O computers, avionics test & simulation interfaces, and other data and connectivity related products.

Inflight Entertainment Hardware Systems – Cabin wireless access points, IFE content loaders and servers, modem managers, custom IFEC LRUs, corded and cordless control units, and systems certification services.

IFC Antennas and Radome Systems – Complete connectivity system solutions including Aircraft SATCOM Ku-band antenna systems, aircraft radomes, adapter plates, and other necessary system components.

Here is a link that outlines our offerings.

Power to Support IFE. In addition, we support inflight entertainment and connectivity for the airlines with integrated IFE seatback power systems. We also support the passengers in a BYOD environment by providing in-seat power systems to keep their devices charged while consuming content.

4.What features and benefits do the data and connectivity products from Astronics have over the competition?

  • Collaborative partner with product development, engineering, integration, and certification services for program success
  • Proven experience in the ecosystem – serve all major IFE ad IFEC providers with the most pertinent technology to provide a solution
  • Customer-centric solutions ranging from a simple LRU to an entire system
  • Breadth of product line, single supplier advantage
  • System agnostic hardware components, supports most IFE suppliers
  • Open architecture systems, putting the customer in control of their data
  • Vertically integrated engineering for fast solution deployment
  • Systems installation design, kitting, and certification, in house

5. Broadly speaking, how many aircraft have this type of your equipment installed today?

We have some systems with large installed bases, and some that are new to the market. Some of our product lines are on a few hundred aircraft, and in other connectivity product lines, we estimate that we supply about 85% of long haul aircraft. The numbers of installations, and the numbers of systems per aircraft, are not always reported back to us. In general, we estimate that Astronics connectivity and data solutions are in service on thousands of commercial aircraft worldwide.

6. We asked Mark what types of data and connectivity are provided. Specifically, is Astronics providing any other types of data connectivity besides passenger related – if any? Flight data, computational analysis, AI? And how is it used: on the aircraft, on the ground, both?

Here are the inputs from three of our various Division Presidents.

From Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology: Astronics Ballard Technology provides connectivity from aircraft data systems to pilot and crew devices. Through our aircraft interface device products including the webFB and webCS, we host applications that can process that aircraft data and provide useful information in real-time to pilots and crew as well as off the aircraft (with a connectivity system). We work with third party software developers that create helpful applications such as en-route optimizations, fuel savings, weather avoidance, electronic logbooks, data processing/analytics on the aircraft, storage of operational manuals/procedures, and many more. We also provide a Quick Access Recorder application that allows for collection of aircraft data to be downloaded off the aircraft later for analysis.”

From Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC): “Astronics CSC’s Summit Line of connectivity products serve up passenger connectivity on board the aircraft. Our offerings include servers, content loaders, cabin wireless access points, and other related equipment for the industry’s inflight entertainment providers. We estimate that over time, we have enabled the internet of flight with 16,000 LRUs plus 20 million IFEC cradle and cord reel assemblies in both linefit and retrofit installations.”

And from Matt Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat: “Equipment from Astronics AeroSat bridges the connectivity on and off the plane to deliver passenger connectivity via Ku-band satellite networks (both traditional wide-beam and next generation HTS spot-beam satellites). Passengers use our bandwidth for internet streaming (emails, text, videos, movies, etc). Our FliteStream Series antennas come in both tail-mount and fuselage-mount versions and serve as today’s highest performing antenna technology, with a bandwidth/spectrum RF efficiency that provides the least impact to satellite network operators while providing cost benefits for aircraft operators. Astronics’ IFC system incorporates an open architecture, with the ability to work across satellite networks and minimize connectivity costs. Finally, our new AeroShield Radom System delivers the lowest drag to reduce fuel burn costs for aircraft operators with connectivity.”

7. Let us now continue with Mark: As a result of these company acquisitions that can deliver complete IFE systems, has this caused Astronics to rethink what and how you sell? In other words, some of the newer subsidiary acquisitions never sold directly to the airline, instead they were suppliers to other IFEC vendors. Is there a new strategy now? Along the same lines, historically when we have visited the Astronics booth at a trade show we would see various ‘boxes’ that help comprise an IFE system. Can we now expect to see an “Astronics IFE System(s)” in the near future?

Astronics intends to remain system agnostic and primarily support our partners in creating complete IFE systems. Our solutions enable global airlines, inflight connectivity providers, systems integrators, and airframe manufacturers to create seamless connectivity experiences.

8. Was there a future company strategy involved in the acquisition of companies involved in data, data analysis, data transmission/acquisition or did acquisitions happen more based on dollars and/or complimentary diversification to the existing business model?

Astronics looks opportunistically at companies that are available to acquire and certainly considers long-term strategy as part of our decision to move forward.

9. In the past, Astronics has been a data communicator. Do you see a future whereby Astronics is going to be a data analyzer? In other words, historically Astronics data efforts have been directed more toward passenger data. Do you see Astronics adding more data sources and considering data analysis? Furthermore, since around 1990, aviation has seen an increasing value of, and usage of data, to-and-from the aircraft. As technologies like Artificial Intelligence and massive data analysis have provided better analytical information of things like engines and onboard computers, the use of data both to-and-from the airplane is helping things like maintenance, failure prediction and longer operational usage. Thus, data is becoming a very new and important part of aircraft operations, fault isolation and monitoring. Add this to an increase of passenger usage of data to-and-from the plane will be another part of data growth. The only question is will the airplane use one or multiple data systems and connectivity to deliver the data to the ground? While passenger data has been primarily (we guess) Astronics connectivity reason, we were wondering if this new data avenue is part of your future data goals?

Astronics understands the importance of data and analytics. Our goal is to enable our airline and airframe customers to access their data, and use this data to run their operations more efficiently. We provide the hardware, firmware, and software to make this happen. Let’s hear from Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology on this subject as well: “The choices of what networks to use on the aircraft along with the number and types of off-aircraft connectivity systems to implement are challenging issues that our customers face. Given our breadth of experience in aircraft data systems and the integration of various hardware systems to all work together, we believe that we are a great partner to our customers when navigating these choices.”

10. One or more of your recent subsidiary acquisitions have established manufacturing business relationships with China and Astronics has successfully marketed the EmPower product line to Chinese airlines over the years. As an industry leader with this much experience in the PRC, how do you see the recent trade disagreements between the USA and Chine affecting the IFEC industry as a whole?

Business climates can suddenly change. Trade disagreements can affect our industry, and we focus on ensuring our business offers a balanced global reach so that we can absorb the ebb and flow of these issues.

11. What will Astronics be showing at APEX in Boston?

At this year’s APEX Expo, Astronics will display a variety of power and connectivity solutions that improve passenger experiences and aircraft operational efficiencies. For seamless passenger and crew connectivity, Astronics will demonstrate a newly certified FliteStream inflight connectivity system hardware plus their Summit Line inflight entertainment system hardware. In power solutions, Astronics will present a breadth of new EmPower in-cabin products for use by passengers and crew, including a new wireless charging module and a new USB Type-C passenger power system. The Astronics SmartTray passenger PED holder will round out the offerings.

During the show, booth visitors who tweet a photo from the Astronics booth with the tag @AstronicsCorp and the hashtag #APEXexpo will be entered to win an iPad with an Apple store gift card to enjoy IFE content on the way home. View all of these solutions and enter to win in the Astronics booth, #343.

For additional information on Astronics power and connectivity solutions, visit Astronics.com.

Astronics also plans to demonstrate some brand new technologies, including an intelligent bin sensing solution, which provides bin capacity and other bin data to crews for increased safety, faster passenger boarding times, and improved operational efficiencies. The other new technology Astronics will feature is an exploration of Li-Fi, and ideas for harnessing it for use on aircraft. Li-Fi leverages light to send information, in contrast to Wi-Fi, which uses radio waves. Proven capable of transferring unprecedented data at several Gigabits per second, Li-Fi could eventually empower passengers to download an HD video in just a few seconds, for example.


INMARSAT & PANASONIC

Inmarsat and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) have agreed a strategic collaboration, for an initial ten-year period, that enables them to combine their highly complementary market leading services to offer broadband in-flight connectivity (“IFC”) paired with high-value solutions and services to customers in the commercial aviation industry worldwide.

This collaboration will enable airlines, aircraft manufacturers and passengers to benefit from the combined expertise of two companies that have been at the forefront of technology and innovation for nearly four decades.

Under the terms of the agreement, Inmarsat will become Panasonic’s exclusive provider of Ka-band IFC for commercial aviation. Panasonic will now be able to offer Inmarsat’s high-speed, broadband connectivity service, GX Aviation, powered by Global Xpress, the world’s first global Ka-band satellite network, owned and managed by a single operator. Panasonic will continue to invest in its own network and, with GX Aviation as a primary offering for new business, will be perfectly positioned to serve both its current and future customers.

In addition, Inmarsat will now be able to offer Panasonic’s market-leading portfolio of services and NEXT solutions to Inmarsat’s commercial aviation customers. This includes customer support services available from Panasonic’s Customer Performance Center and Technical Services teams.

The collaboration, which is already being deployed with a mutual customer, presents a unique opportunity to leverage Inmarsat’s proven track record of high-quality and innovative global mobile connectivity, and Panasonic’s market-leading in-flight entertainment, digital services and connectivity solutions.

Looking forward, Inmarsat and Panasonic will also collaborate on the development of a next generation GX Aviation terminal, as well as new connectivity-enabled services, data analytics and technology to improve overall end-to-end performance.
By delivering this step-change in aviation services capability, airlines will have access to new and better solutions that address widely recognized industry challenges of capacity, coverage and compatibility. This will give greater quality, consistency of experience and more choice to airlines and their passengers in the IFC market, which by some estimates could exceed $100 billion by 2035[1].

Technologies will explore new ideas for how connectivity can enhance future passenger experiences and airline operations

East Aurora, NY | September 17, 2018– Astronics Corporation (Nasdaq: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, will demonstrate two new technologies intended to improve an aircraft’s passenger experience and operational efficiency at the upcoming APEX Expo in Boston, in booth #343, from September 25-27.

Introducing the Astronics Smart Aircraft System

Throughout the three-day event, Astronics will demonstrate its
pioneering Smart Aircraft System technology, which includes
the new Intelligent Bin Solution. This patent pending system
uses Internet of Things (IoT) connection technologies to
detect and report in real time the status of overhead stowage
bins, which speeds aircraft boarding processes and reduces
passenger stress. The company will preview software
applications that provide a visual indication of remaining bin
space, even if the bin is closed, to enable cabin and gate crews to quickly direct passengers to available bin locations and know when to start checking bags.

In addition to providing a more efficient boarding process that can reduce costly delays, the bin sensors deliver cabin safety benefits during the flight by detecting outgassing events from hazardous devices, such as lithium-ion batteries, minutes before smoke or fire occurs. With this early detection, a notification is sent instantly to crewmembers who can proactively take action and contain in-flight battery events before they cause passenger alarm and lead to costly aircraft diversions.

“We started researching and investing in wireless sensing technology several years ago in anticipation of airline customer needs,” explained Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology. “This research has expanded into a comprehensive IoT sensing and wireless mesh system that will help airlines gain valuable insight to drive operational savings in all aspects of flight. We are excited to be previewing it at APEX Expo.”

Astronics was recently granted several U.S. patents on the innovative technology with others pending. The latest generation Intelligent Bin System prototype is currently in laboratory testing with a major airline in anticipation of in-service trials in an operational environment.

Previewing Li-Fi Applications for Aircraft

In a second technology demonstration, PDT, an Astronics Company, will demonstrate some new potential applications for the emerging technology of Li-Fi, in a collaboration with pureLiFi. Li-Fi leverages light to send information, in contrast to Wi-Fi, which uses radio waves. Proven capable of transferring data at an unprecedented several Gigabits per second, Li-Fi could eventually empower passengers to download an HD video in just a few seconds, for example.

“This is a brand new technology and we are exploring ways in which it can improve the passenger, and even crew, experience on an aircraft in terms of connectivity,” said Mark Schwartz, Vice President of PDT. ”Li-Fi may be a future passenger experience delighter and we are excited to explore and discuss these possibilities with it.”

Powered Solutions

Keeping passengers’ electronic devices (PEDs) powered is increasingly important on the connected aircraft as more airlines incorporate a “bring your own device” business model for enjoying inflight entertainment. In support of this, Astronics will demonstrate a myriad of innovations including the recently introduced wireless charging module as well as the new EmPower® USB Type-C outlets and companion in-seat power supply system.

Astronics brings a long history of innovation and successfully introducing new technologies and products to market, including the EmPower passenger in-seat power technology that has had a profound impact on the passenger experience. The new technology explorations plus proven power solutions can provide a foundation for future aircraft manufacturers, airlines, IFE providers and other industry participants to improve experiences for passengers while also improving cost and time efficiencies for aircraft operators.

Astronics will give demonstrations of these and other technologies on-demand throughout the three days of the exhibit. Appointments can also be made by emailing events@astronics.com.

Per usual, the next few weeks will be filled with news about the upcoming EXPOS and the companies exhibiting in Boston, so lets tackle this week’s news.

PXCom

PXCom is excited to announce that it has partnered with Charlotte Dodson TV and SkyLights to deliver more innovative content solutions: PXCom’s flagship end-to-end solution, XPLore by PXCom, now enables airlines and their partners to onboard-upload any kind of content material. PXCom natively- integrates editorial content, sponsored content, and even call to actions (offered to passengers throughout the entire journey: pre-, in- and post-flight) in a consistent way via various channels (mobile, web, and of course IFE/C).

TRAVELWELL is a personal lifestyle and wellness channel, supporting passengers throughout the entire journey. A comprehensive library of exercises, nutrition, destination knowledge and meditation experiences are available for viewing in video, audio, digital and VR formats. TRAVELWELL offers the latest innovation and tech advances that will provide clients with a one-stop shop for accessing a world of wellness, wherever they go. Shop for the latest well-being products; relax before the flight through anti-stress tips; use guided routines to stretch during your travels in order to arrive refreshed; simply explore the destinations inflight – rejuvenating spas, organic health spots, the fascinating local cultures soon to be encountered – thanks to a full digital experience on the mobile app, on IFE and on SkyLights’ latest VR headset (AlloSky – see rectangle above). Travel far and wide, confident in the knowledge that TRAVELWELL has your wellness covered – to ‘feel good’ on the go.

Charlotte is your wellness journey companion, guiding you ‘along the way’. Discover a vast range of sensationally-delivered information and inspiration – from the depths of tropical forest exploration, to relaxing on stunning beach sands – as Charlotte guides you through simple yet visually-rich (and easy-to-navigate) content that will serve to both rejuvenate and refresh yourself along the journey. No matter the itinerary, Charlotte is there with you every step of the way.

Join in and travel well. Visit us at APEX Boston | 24-27 September BOOTH 750. More about PXCom on www.pxcom.aero 


IFPL

IFPL will be demonstrating their latest audio products in Boston at APEX  in addition to a broad range of products that are currently flying on many aircraft around the world. IFPL has supplied more than 2.5m units in a 22 year history.


THALES

  • In November 2016, Thales was chosen by Hong Kong Airlines to equip their new A350 and A330 aircraft with AVANT IFE and connectivity solutions and FlytCare services.
  • AVANT, Thales’s state-of-the-art Android IFE solution, will provide Hong Kong Airlines’ passengers a customizable experience with a robust selection of features and applications.
  • Hong Kong Airlines A350 will fly with Ka-band connectivity offering fastest airborne internet speeds to their passenger. Entry into service is set for September 2018.ck up your components from the right side.

VISION-BOX

Vision-Box and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) — operators of Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport) in south India – signed today an agreement to launch paperless biometric self-boarding technology, aimed at transforming the passenger experience and creating future-ready Airport.

The goal of the program is to simplify the journey by making it paperless from registration to boarding. Biometric technology will identify passengers by their face as they move across the Airport, avoiding stops and the repeated presentation of boarding passes, passports or other physical identity documents.

With the implementation of the biometric technology, BLR Airport will become the first Airport in India to have an end-to-end solution for paperless air travel.


AIRBUS: AUGUST 2018

Airbus booked orders for five A320 Family jetliners in August while delivering a total of 54 aircraft from its A220/A320 single-aisle product lines and widebody A330/A350 XWBs.The new business involved three A320ceo (Current Engine Option) aircraft for Lufthansa and two A321neo (New Engine Option) versions for Air New Zealand. Both airlines currently operate large fleets of A320 Family jetliners.

These transactions bring net orders during the first eight months of 2018 to 219 aircraft. In the single-aisle series, the total was composed of 11 A319/A320/A321 jetliners in CEO configurations and 145 A319/A320/A321s in NEO versions. Widebody net orders during the January-August timeframe were for four A330ceo and four A330neo aircraft, along with 36 A350 XWBs and 14 A380s.

Airbus deliveries in August were made to 32 customers, with single-aisle jetliner handovers involving three A220s and 42 A320 Family jetliners (including 31 in the A320neo/A321neo versions). In the widebody category, four A330-200/A330-300s and five A350-900/A350-1000s were delivered during the month. Milestone handovers in August included the initial A350 XWB for Air China and the first to Sichuan Airlines (via AerCap), along with Gulf Air first-delivered A320neo. With the months order and delivery activity taken into account, Airbus overall backlog of jetliners remaining to be delivered stood at 7,415 aircraft at 31 August, representing approximately nine years at current production rates.

With over 2,000 already registered, students can now access to the purpose-built digital competition platform in order to upload their idea in Round 1 of the competition. Airbus launched the sixth Fly Your Ideas competition in June 2018 and the next generation of innovators can now submit their proposals tackling one of the six challenges set out by Airbus (Electrification, Data Services, Cyber Security, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality). Students need to fill an online questionnaire about their idea, highlighting the technology behind it, market analysis, originality, added value and potential obstacles. In order to visualize the idea, the teams must also submit a simple sketch. The Round 1 submission phase ends on 16 November 2018 and is followed by an online assessment where a team of Airbus specialists recruited from across the business will review and evaluate all submitted ideas. The live final of Fly Your Ideas will be held in 2019, where students will have the opportunity to showcase their ideas to an audience of industry experts. Fly Your Ideas is a global competition for universities and students from all over the world to innovate for the future of aerospace, including Commercial, Defence & Space and Helicopters. Airbus is seeking ideas that could change aerospace in the decades to come and create a safer, cleaner and better-connected world. The competition is an opportunity for students to build valuable employment skills including teamwork, project management and presentation skills and to apply their classroom learning to real-world challenges. As well as joining Airbus on site to further develop their ideas, up to six finalist teams will compete to share a prize fund of € 45,000 and the chance to take their idea forward within the industry.

Since the competition launched in 2008, over 20,000 students from more than 650 universities in over 100 countries have been involved. Since 2012, the competition has been supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO underlines the value of this partnership. “Fly Your Ideas is an inspirational endeavor for students around the world and UNESCO is proud to be a part of this initiative. The new challenges will allow students to think outside the box and come up with sustainable solutions for global problems beyond aerospace – exactly what the world needs from our future generations!”


OTHER NEWS

APEX is coming, September 23 through 27, in Boston, Massachusetts. We will have more on the upcoming event in the next few weeks. You should know that Boston is the largest city in that state and home to some 660,000 folks. It was founded in 1630 and is home of Boston Commons, Freedom Trail, and of course, Harvard.

Let’s get started with a new augmented reality app developed by SITA and Virgin Atlantic. Over the past decade, SITA and Virgin Atlantic have often worked together to drive innovation in technology. In 2013, the two companies partnered to develop award-winning Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch technology enabling Virgin Atlantic concierge staff in the airline’s Upper Class Wing to deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalized customer service. SITA is the communications and IT solution provider that transforms air travel through technology for airlines, at airports and on aircraft. The company’s portfolio covers everything from managed global communications and infrastructure services, to eAircraft, passenger management, baggage, self-service, airport and border management solutions. Owned 100% by more than 400 air transport industry members, SITA has a unique understanding of its needs and places a strong emphasis on technology innovation. We should also note that Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 34 years ago with innovation and customer service at its core. Today Virgin Atlantic carries 5.5 million customers annually.

SITA/VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Virgin Atlantic is introducing innovative training technology – as part of an innovation collaboration with SITA, the leading global IT provider – that allows the airline’s cabin crew to use augmented reality to familiarize themselves with new aircraft. Using an iOS app, cabin crew use augmented reality to walk through and acquaint themselves with the layout of Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft without even visiting the airport or getting onto the plane. To complement the existing classroom-based training, this app allows crew members to see the cabin projected as a portal in front of them and are able ‘walk into’ the cabin. The AR app simulates the full-size view of the interior cabin, giving crew a feel for their new working environment, including accurate spatial awareness. This allows the airline to train crew on new aircraft in a fun and engaging way from the airline’s headquarters in Crawley, London.Augmented reality presents several interesting use cases in the air transport industry, ranging from sales, training, operations and improvement to the passenger experience. SITA Lab, SITA’s strategic technology research arm, and Virgin Atlantic have teamed up to identify and test some of the more promising use cases, starting with the crew training app. Over the past decade, SITA and Virgin Atlantic have often worked together to drive innovation in technology. In 2013, the two companies partnered to develop award-winning Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch technology enabling Virgin Atlantic concierge staff in the airline’s Upper Class Wing to deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalized customer service.


THALES

Thales has appointed Jean-Paul Ebanga, as Vice-President of Flight Avionics activities. Flight Avionics provides secured, natively connected systems and services that are in operation on two out of every three aircraft flying around the world every day. He reports to Gil Michielin, Executive Vice-President for Avionics.

Jean-Paul will accelerate business model renewal and digital transformation of our flight avionics activities to the benefit of long term growth” declared Gil Michielin, “his sound experience in the aerospace domain and his track record of commercial and industrial successes worldwide will be key assets.” After starting his career at Philips, Jean-Paul Ebanga joined Snecma in 1988, then Safran, where he held several leadership positions in electronics, systems and aircraft engine. In 2001, Jean-Paul Ebanga was appointed Vice President and General Manager of Snecma Control Systems. He was subsequently appointed Vice President of Snecma’s Commercial Engine Division. From 2007, he served as chairman & CEO of PowerJet, a joint company between Snecma and Saturn (Russia). In 2011, he became President & CEO of CFM international, a joint company between Safran and GE (USA) until February 2017 when he joined Safran head office as SVP Corporate Strategy

Mr. Ebanga is graduated from the ENSEM Engineering School.


IFPL

Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) specialists IFPL will be demonstrating how easy it will be for airlines to make the transition from USB-A to USB-C at APEX 2018 in Boston, USA. IFPL’s latest USB development enables airlines to easily transition from USB Type A to Type C using their existing USB-A onboard power architecture or supporting the newer USB-Power Delivery architectures that can provide up to 60W of power whilst designing their outlets to enable seamless seat integration.  IFPL will be demonstrating the Patent Pending USB Charge To Charge technology offers a clever way for airlines to charge their passengers to turn on the USB power and also launch adverts and promotions when the passenger plugs in their device.As always, IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display. An expert team will be on hand to discuss your requirements on booth #707 at APEX 2018.


STATESIDE CABINSPACE LIVE/APEX

Aircraft Interiors Expo, Boston (AIX) the fall’s only meeting place for the passenger experience industry, has today announced the agenda for the stateside CabinSpace LIVE Seminar Theatre.

Taking place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre, the action-packed agenda will see visitors treated to expert insight on implementing innovation in the cabin interior.

Encouraging candid debate on the topic, the audience will be invited to share experiences relating to product developments, methodologies and materials to accomplish the best onboard interior solutions. Amongst the varied topics up for discussion, trends to be explored include:

Certification & Compliance: Designing for Regulations 

Delving into best practice design, this session looks at the product journey from the drawing board, through to development and finally placement on the aircraft. Looking at the place of compliance and regulation in the process, the audience will hear from experts about how to overcome challenges associated with regulation in the most time and cost-effective ways. To bring the topic to life and in order to learn from the experience of others, Senior Program Managers from AAR will share their experiences designing for regulation.

Session takes place on Tuesday 25thSeptember from 11:00 am – 11:45am

New Manufacturing Technologies – Capitalising on 3D Printing Capabilities

Keeping costs low whilst exploring new technologies has long been an issue for the aviation industry. This session will explore how manufacturing capabilities such as 3D printing are enabling innovative aircraft interiors products and parts without, increasing costs. From differentiating your business in a crowded market, to after-life use of printed parts, this session explores how to maximize the benefits of investing in 3D printing.

Session takes place on Tuesday 25thSeptember from 15:15pm – 16:00pm

Spatial Dynamics

Bringing together a panel of industry-leading experts, this keynote discussion on spatial dynamics looks at how to maximize cabin space and make it work for passengers, operational staff and crew alike. From balancing overhead bin space with headroom and ensuring innovative technology meets passengers’ ergonomic needs, spokespeople from airlines, OEMs and seating companies discuss space and its use inflight.

Session takes place on Wednesday 26thSeptember from 14:00pm – 15:00pm

To view the full agenda for CabinSpace LIVE, please click here.


AIRBUS
For the third time in a week, Airbus Perlan Mission II has set a new world altitude record for a glider, this time soaring the engineless Perlan 2 to 76,124 feet, in the process collecting vital data on flight performance, weather and the atmosphere. Yesterday’s flight by pilots Jim Payne and Tim Gardner surpasses even the maximum recorded altitude in level flight of the U.S. Air Force’s famous U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft: 73,737 feet, flown by pilot Jerry Hoyt on Apr. 17, 1989. The U-2 is powered by an engine that generates 17,000 lbs. of thrust. By contrast, the Perlan 2 is engineless, weighs just 1,500 pounds, and soars to its record altitudes on rare stratospheric air currents formed by mountain winds combining with the Polar Vortex.

In a single week, Perlan has set and then surpassed a world altitude record three times:

  • Aug. 26, 2018: Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock soar to 63,100 feet, besting the record of 54,000 feet set by Airbus Perlan Mission II on Sept. 3, 2017
  • Aug. 28, 2018: Jim Payne and Miguel Iturmendi reach 65,600 feet
  • Sept. 2, 2018: Jim Payne and Tim Gardner climb to 76,124 feet

The overall altitude record for level flight of a manned airplane is held by the SR-71 Blackbird at 85,069 feet. The pressurized Perlan 2 glider is designed to fly to 90,000 feet, conditions permitting.Airbus Perlan Mission II will continue its 2018 flying season through mid-September, when the season for stratospheric mountain waves in the southern hemisphere begins to die down, and the all-volunteer Perlan Project team will return from Patagonia to homes in the U.S. and around the world. The number of flights remaining will be determined by weather conditions.


BOEING/VIRGIN AUSTRALIA

Boeing and the Virgin Australia Group announced the airline is adding the largest and most efficient member of the 737 MAX family to its growing single-aisle fleet. The carrier has converted ten orders for the 737 MAX 8 for the larger MAX 10 variant.

The airline, which has a number of 737 MAX 8s on order, said it saw the value of adding the MAX 10 to the mix as the aircraft will provide additional capacity and flexibility. With its headquarters in Brisbane, Australia, the Virgin Australia Group is the country’s second-largest airline with a fleet of more than 130 aircraft. The Next-Generation 737 has formed the backbone of the Group’s fleet with more than 80 currently in operation and the 737 MAX is expected to bolster the Group’s fleet. The MAX 10 is the largest member of the 737 MAX aircraft family. The airplane will offer operators the lowest cost per seat mile of any commercial aircraft[1] and fly 200 nautical miles (370.4 km) farther than today’s Next-Generation 737s. This extended range means that the 737 MAX 10 will be able to cover 99 percent of single-aisle routes around the world.

Virgin Australia joins more than 20 customers who have placed over 500 orders and commitments for the MAX 10. In all, the 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane family in Boeing history, having attracted more than 100 customers and nearly 4,700 orders. For more information and feature content, visit www.boeing.com/commercial/737max.


OTHER NEWS

Reaffirms Gogo’s Third-Party Revenue Strategy with Airline Partners

Chicago | September 4, 2018– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced today a partnership with Brazilian mobile provider TIM, to offer discounted Wi-Fi to their PRA MIM Elite Black customers on Brazilian carrier, GOL Linhas Aéreas.

TIM PRA MIM, TIM’s loyalty program, gives elite members of their post-paid mobile plan benefits from partner companies. This benefit will be live starting September 3 and runs through Oct. 3and offers TIM’s most loyal customers a 30 percent discount on Wi-Fi passes on the airline. GOL will offer this promotion on all Gogo 2Ku equipped aircraft.

“Airline passengers comprise a captive audience for global brands. They are highly sought after by third-party brand partners like TIM, who want to engage with them,” says John Wade, Gogo’s president of commercial aviation. “Driving passenger satisfaction through free or discounted Gogo inflight connectivity is a win/win for our airline partners and for Gogo.”

Rockwell Collins’ industry-leading MiQ seating platform has been chosen by Turkish Airlines for the business class cabin of its new fleet of medium-haul, single-aisle aircraft. Initial deliveries of 92 shipsets for Airbus A321neo aircraft and deliveries of 77 shipsets for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are now underway.

The MiQ platform was selected for the superior passenger experience it delivers to business class travelers with a comfortable, ergonomic reclining position, including a four-way adjustable headrest and leg rest. The seat also provides a large console for passenger storage. Aisle seats feature level access in which the aisle-side armrest retracts downwards to allow passengers extra width in the seat, as well as enabling them to swing their knees into the aisle so window-seat passengers may move in and out of the row.

“We are very excited to introduce our latest business class seats in our new generation 167 narrow body aircraft. As we continue to take firm steps to increase our passengers’ comfort to an even higher level, we now place those state-of-the-art seats, having special features such as seat back inflight entertainment screens, retractable privacy panels, accessible personal stowage and power outlets, in our new medium-haul fleet. With keeping a close eye into customer expectations, we will continue to present the highest standards with our cabin and seat designs in the future,” said Ahmet Olmuştur, Turkish Airlines Chief Marketing Officer.

“The modular design elements of the MiQ seating platform allowed us to work closely with Turkish Airlines to provide a customized configuration that includes a new privacy feature to ensure that business class passengers enjoy an optimal flight experience,” said Mark Vaughan, vice president and general manager for Interior Systems at Rockwell Collins. “In addition, we designed custom leather dress covers to fully reflect the airline’s brand.”

MiQ’s award-winning design is available for business class and premium economy seating for both narrow- and wide-body aircraft.


ASTRONICS

Astronics is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary! Happy Anniversary from IFExpress! and, oh yes, Astronics PGA Solutions was selected by AMAC Aerospace for a VIP jet completion program – A Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental VIP jet will incorporate Astronics PGA inflight entertainment and cabin management systems.


SITA

GOL, Brazil’s largest airline, is introducing new self-service bag-drop technology to speed up the airport experience. Passengers of the carrier, can now use SITA’s Scan&Fly to check in their bags when flying domestically from Rio de Janeiro International Airport and will soon be able to do so at São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport as well. This self-service option halves the time it takes to check in a bag and gives passengers more control over their journey. Each year, GOL flies around 32 million passengers. Providing significant reductions in the time it takes to check in is a major bonus for passengers, as well as helping GOL reach the targets set as part of the IATA Fast Travel program.

Sergio Quito, Vice President of GOL Operations, said: “GOL has always pioneered the use of innovative processes. Self-service is important for us because it improves the customer experience and helps streamline our operations. SITA’s self bag-drop technology provides what we look for – it is fast, reliable and easy to use.”SITA is retro-fitting Scan&Fly units at each airport. Using them, passengers will be able to check in their baggage in just 40 seconds. As well as the units themselves, SITA also provided consultancy to develop the optimized processes in both airports, integrating the solution into the airlines’ and airports’ infrastructures. Elbson Quadros, SITA Vice President, Latin America, said: “Our goal is to use technology to improve the passenger experience and to make airline and airport operations more efficient. Our self bag-drop solution does exactly that. We are proud to have GOL as the first airline to adopt this technology in Latin America.”

SITA is providing 24/7 support both on the ground and through the SITA Command Centers, which proactively detect issues to avoid any passenger disruption. That monitoring ranges from tracking surges in internet usage which might have an impact on the airport, to alerting the team on the ground that bag tag paper supplies are running low.


AIRBORNE WIRELESS NETWORK

Airborne Wireless Network announced that they are implementing a 30,000-to-1 reverse stock split. every 30,000 shares of the Company’s common stock outstanding will be automatically combined into one new share of common stock without any action on the part of Airborne Wireless Network stockholders.  As a result of the reverse stock split, there will be approximately 296,000 shares of common stock outstanding (subject to adjustment due to the effect of rounding fractional shares into whole shares).


AIRBUS

Airbus Perlan Mission II, the world’s first initiative to pilot an engineless aircraft to the edge of space, made history again yesterday in El Calafate, Argentina, by soaring in the stratosphere to a pressure altitude of over 62,000 feet (60,669 feet GPS altitude). This set a new gliding altitude world record, pending official validation.

The pressurized Perlan 2 glider, which is designed to soar up to 90,000 feet, passed the Armstrong Line, the point in the atmosphere above which an unprotected human’s blood will boil if an aircraft loses pressurization. This marks a second glider altitude world record for Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock, the same two Perlan Project pilots who soared the Perlan 2 to 52,221 feet GPS altitude on Sept. 3, 2017, in the same remote region of Argentine Patagonia. The 2017 record broke a previous record that was set in 2006, in the unpressurized Perlan 1, by Perlan Project founder Einar Enevoldson and Steve Fossett.

“This is a tremendous moment for all the volunteers and sponsors of Airbus Perlan Mission II who have been so dedicated to making our nonprofit aerospace initiative a reality,” said Ed Warnock, CEO of The Perlan Project. “Our victory today, and whatever other milestones we achieve this year, are a testament to a pioneering spirit of exploration that runs through everyone on the project and through the organizations that support us.”

“Innovation is a buzzword in aerospace today, but Perlan truly embodies the kind of bold thinking and creativity that are core Airbus values,” said Tom Enders, Airbus CEO. “Perlan Project is achieving the seemingly impossible, and our support for this endeavor sends a message to our employees, suppliers and competitors that we will not settle for being anything less than extraordinary.”

Another first-of-its kind achievement this year for the Perlan Project was the use of a special high-altitude tow plane rather than a conventional glider tow plane. During yesterday’s flight, Perlan 2 was towed to the base of the stratosphere by a Grob Egrett G520 turboprop, a high-altitude reconnaissance plane that was modified for the task earlier this summer. Operated by AV Experts, LLC, and flown by chief pilot Arne Vasenden, the Egrett released Perlan 2 at around 42,000 feet, the approximate service ceiling of an Airbus A380.


BOEING

Boeing reports that the Asia Pacific region will have the greatest global demand for new civil aviation personnel over the next 20 years. The region is projected to account for 33 percent of the global need for pilots, 34 percent for technicians and 36 percent for cabin crew.

The 2018 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook is an industry forecast of new aviation personnel demand. It is closely tied to projections for new airplane deliveries around the globe. As with personnel demand, the Asia Pacific region leads demand for new commercial airplane deliveries over the next 20 years. Forty percent of all new passenger airplane deliveries in the next 20 years will be delivered to airlines in the Asia Pacific region.

According to the outlook:

  • The 20-year demand for new commercial sector pilots in the region remains strong at 240,000. While demand decreased five percent, this was driven by regional trends that indicate a peak in pilot retirements in the first decade of the forecast and a softening of replacement demand in the later years, due to a younger generation entering the pilot ranks long before reaching mandatory retirement age.
  • New commercial technician demand decreased five percent to 242,000. This is due to advancements in product development on the 737 MAX, which have resulted in increased maintenance efficiencies. Overall, maintenance hours required over the life of the airplane will be reduced.
  • New commercial cabin crew demand increased three percent to 317,000 due to anticipated fleet mix, cabin configuration and regulatory requirements.

For the first time, the outlook included the helicopter and business aviation markets. The inclusion of these sectors increases the region’s demand to 261,000 pilots, 257,000 technicians and 321,000 cabin crew.

Leading the region in projected demand for new pilots, technicians and cabin crew:

  • China: 128,500 pilots; 126,750 technicians; 147,250 cabin crew
  • Southeast Asia: 48,500 pilots; 54,000 technicians; 76,250 cabin crew
  • South Asia: 42,750 pilots; 35,000 technicians; 43,250 cabin crew

“Strong demand for pilots in the region continues, and we expect that this will continue for the next several years,” said Keith Cooper, vice president of Training & Professional Services for Boeing Global Services. “Through our pilot training solutions, including the Pilot Development Program, we are helping to ensure a pipeline of pilots is ready to meet the industry’s demand.”

Boeing’s Pilot Development program is an accelerated training program intended to guide pilots from early stage ab-initio training through type rating as a first officer.


OTHER NEWS