United Arab Emirates | November 14, 2017–

SITAONAIR and Emirates have extended their partnership to deliver passenger connectivity solutions across its fleet of A380 and B777 aircraft for a further four years.

The news follows the recent rollout of personalized inflight connectivity for members of the airline’s loyalty program, Emirates Skywards, through SITAONAIR’s onboard Wi-Fi hub, Internet ONAIR. The project was recently awarded the Best Personalization Innovation award at the 2017 APEX EXPO in September.

The extended deal, covering 279 aircraft, underlines Emirates’ continued focus on passenger connectivity excellence by providing harmonized and seamless inflight Internet access to passengers around the globe. The new contract covers Mobile ONAIR and Internet ONAIR on all A380 aircraft, and Internet ONAIR on the B777 fleet.

SITAONAIR’s open platforms approach – launched through its hot topic white paper at last year’s APEX EXPO – delivers a consistent user experience across the various satellite connections and pre-existing onboard technologies present across the Emirates fleet, unconstrained by hardware suppliers’ refresh cycles.

David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR, said: “We are extremely proud to expand the relationship with our long-standing airline customer, Emirates. We have worked closely with Emirates over the years to achieve their connected aircraft vision, and look forward to continually driving cabin connectivity innovation for the benefit of Emirates passengers.”

Emirates is the world’s largest A380 operator, with 100 A380 aircraft in its fleet all equipped with SITAONAIR cabin connectivity.

To find out more about SITAONAIR’s full inflight connectivity portfolio and open platforms vision, visit www.sitaonair.aero, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact, or submit an enquiry form.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation a world leader in Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC), and Singapore Airlines, today introduced a series of eight new innovations in personalization with the launch of myKrisWorld – the airline’s newest inflight entertainment offering. Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics Corp., said, “Panasonic Avionics and Singapore Airlines have always been at the forefront of IFEC innovation.  Whether it’s the shift to in-seat audio/video to video on demand, or the introduction of high-speed connectivity services to passengers, both companies have embraced technologies and services that have defined premium air travel. Today, we are proud to partner with Singapore Airlines to introduce the latest tectonic shift in our industry — personalization.”

Nakano continued, “Last year, we helped Singapore Airlines introduce their award-winning companion app. Today, we’re taking that personalized experience to even greater heights with a series of innovative features that include passenger log-in at their seat; playlist, bookmark, language preference storage and wallpaper customization between flights; customized and personalized entertainment spotlights; popular, trending and recommended content; and exclusive content based on frequent flier tier.”

myKrisWorld embraces Panasonic’s vision for IFEC, which centers around the concept of “the Internet of Me,” taking all of the things that people care about and bringing them together to deliver personalized and contextualized experiences.  Each of these features is made possible by Panasonic’s ability to deliver actionable analytics, where data is used to improve the quality of the passenger experience. With myKrisWorld, the experience starts before passengers board their flight. Passengers can use Singapore Airlines’ app or website to preview content and set up their customized playlist. Once onboard, they can either synchronize their mobile device or log in at their seat to access their pre-selected content.

Crowd-sourced data will offer up alternative titles that are popular. It can ask passengers if they want to finish the movie that they started on the previous flights. It can also make recommendations based on a passenger’s individual habits and what content is trending inflight at that moment in time. Nakano concluded, “What is truly exciting is that we were able to leverage Singapore Airlines’ previous investment in our eX3 system and introduce this new suite of personalized experiences. “By embracing the culture of mobile, we can increase the rate of evolution in the passenger experience, transforming what was once a passive entertainment system into another digital channel that airlines can leverage to better serve their customers.”


SmartSky

In conjunction with the rollout of its 4G LTE-based network, SmartSky Networks recently enabled multiple subject matter experts to experience, firsthand, the unmatched power of its patented inflight connectivity during flights on its Cessna Citation Excel in the skies above Las Vegas. A number of OEMs, MROs, potential partners and Early Bird customers attending the National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) attempted to push the system to its limits, and in the process, learned that SmartSky 4G LTE is the only system capable of delivering multi-Gigabyte per hour data rates inflight, bi-directionally and with low latency, effectively redefining what it means to be able to stream, chat and text in real-time onboard a business jet. A comprehensive analysis of the data operations during the demonstration flights confirmed SmartSky 4G LTE’s unrivaled speed and capacity. Over three days, passengers on 12 flights experienced:

•    Multi-GB per hour actual data throughput consistently on each flight.

•    Actual peak speeds well in excess of 10 Mbps, with individually run speed tests showing high multi-Mbps bidirectional data rates, as well.

•    Average return link traffic representing nearly 25 percent of the data, with one flight pushing 46 percent of its data off the plane. No other inflight connectivity network supports these crucially needed ratios to run the popular applications customers expect to use. Without SmartSky 4G LTE’s return link and low latency, customers are limited to the few applications other networks support.

•    Average of more than 50 seamless beam handovers per flight, proving the most difficult engineering aspect of the system works, and demonstrating the system’s inherent scalability.

SmartSky demonstrated capabilities previously difficult or impossible to consistently achieve on either the incumbent’s ATG network or new satellite systems, such as conducting a live WebEx, or quickly sending large PowerPoint files, all while other onboard passengers were doing multiple streaming sessions. The innovative beamforming power of the network enables bi-directional live communications, at speeds that match Wi-Fi on the ground.

SmartSky’s 4G LTE nationwide network deployment involves many steps on the way to a transformative air-to-ground connectivity solution, including secure datacenters strategically located in California, Colorado and Virginia that are already operational. SmartSky is currently in manufacturing with its proprietary antennas and ground stations, deploying them nationwide on existing cell towers as the equipment rolls off the production lines. The company estimates initial nationwide coverage will be available in mid-2018, with Satcom Direct (SD) serving as its exclusive business aviation service provider.


Thales

Thales has supported an aviation cybersecurity effort with the Atlantic Council and here is what Alan Pellegrini note about the free report: “The launch of this report by the Atlantic Council marks an important step in creating awareness because it will help drive needed public dialogue on cybersecurity in aviation. Starting this dialogue to strengthen the community’s resilience in the face of new cyber realities is the reason Thales chose to underwrite this report which promises to create a foundation for how the community can come together to protect the traveling public. Anticipating, identifying, and mitigating cyberspace vulnerabilities in the aviation community is a significant challenge and one that must be confronted by every stakeholder—not just the largest or most visible.” ‎


digEcor

IFExpress got this news release in from digEcor: digEcor is very pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Margis as Non-Executive Chairman of digEcor’s Board of Directors. Paul is an industry heavyweight with a track record of spearheading the Airline Inflight Entertainment and Communications Industry. With over 30 years’ experience in the aviation industry including 15 patents relating to innovation across Inflight Entertainment hardware, software, communications and telecommunications pertaining to the commercial aircraft environment and other vehicles. This follows the recent appointment of Richard Denny as a Director in October. Mr. Margis’ career began at Hughes Aircraft and he subsequently joined Matsushita Avionics (now Panasonic Avionics Corporation) in 1992. He quickly rose to the top of Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s executive team in various roles, including: Field Applications Engineer, Director, General Manager and eventually, Vice President of Advanced Systems Engineering where he led the development of AVOD and the popular X Series systems. In 2000, Mr. Margis was promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer and in 2005, he took the helm as President and CEO. David Withers, Chief Executive comments “We are very excited to have Paul join digEcor. He is one of the founders of our industry and his experience and vision will be invaluable to us as we grow” Margis commented “I am excited and honored to be a part of digEcor. I look forward to working with David and the team as they develop innovative products to create a brilliant Passenger experience”. Editors Note: Richard Denny, communications guru has also joined the digEcor board – See the press release here.


Lufthansa Systems

Cockpit Innovation, the high-tech investment arm of EL AL Israel Airlines, and Lufthansa Systems announced the formation of a unique strategic partnership in the realm of aviation and travel entrepreneurship. Under the new partnership, Lufthansa Systems will support with identifying and cultivating breakthrough startup technologies. Furthermore the company will play a major role in the process of locating and selecting startups to cooperate with Cockpit, by sending experts from the company to work with the startups on relevant developments.

Lufthansa Systems’ goal is to partner with promising startups in the aviation and travel industry through the Cockpit Fund activities and then connect the entrepreneurs and their innovative technologies with the industry’s leading airlines. Cockpit has invested so far in seven companies from a variety of fields such as AI, Big Data, communications and fintech (financial technology) that create new, high-quality value for customers and enhance the efficiency of airlines and other sectors in the industry. Among the portfolio are 30secondstofly, Routier and Bidflyer.  Cockpit is the first industry venture fund with the mission to seek out, support and invest in entrepreneurs with disruptive technologies in digital travel, aviation and aerospace. As a global player, Cockpit Innovation serves as a bridge between the startup community and leading players of the air-travel industry, all over the world. As part of the EL AL Group, Cockpit is committed to ventures re-inventing air travel through innovation. By creating unique international channels for entrepreneurs, Cockpit startups get a first class opportunity to pilot ideas, and a chance to introduce products to Cockpit’s stakeholders and partners around the world. Cockpit’s portfolio companies receive a real opportunity for a first enterprise client, resources and strong international network, supporting startups all the way toward global deployment of their innovative ventures.


IMMFLY

As a setup, please note that Immfly is an inflight entertainment and services platform that passengers can access on board via their PEDs. The service enhances the onboard digital experience through a wireless network and offers airlines the fastest and most efficient content syncro in Europe  – there, that was not difficult! They say in their latest new release: Immfly welcomes major brands such as Rakuten, U-talk, American Express, Mondelez and Vodafone to sponsor its In-flight Entertainment System (IFE) onboard. The digital platform enables passengers to use their own devices (phones, tablets and PCS) to access entertainment, travel guides and to book activities while flying. The campaigns can be either online or offline, thereby ranging from channel sponsorship, branded content, to more sophisticated branding actions such as sampling or onboard events. IFE Wireless Solutions are flourishing, and so is Immfly’s advertising inventory.

Immfly, already a leading provider of in-flight sales and communications services in Europe,expects to reach 200 million connected passengers by 2019 following its partnerships with airlines which include carriers such as Iberia Express, Volotea, XL Airways and now easyJet.

They note: The leading European low-cost airline has chosen Immfly as a strategic partner to launch their new innovative wireless in-flight entertainment service, “Air Time”. This is a unique opportunity for brands to exhibit its value and promote themselves with Immfly at 30.000 feet.Here is more: Immfly’s digital platform is present in 114 destinations, with 370.000 annual routes, and currently, reach 11 million passengers.

Chicago | October 31, 2017–Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced it has conducted its first successful test flight and has begun the nationwide rollout of its new regional Air-to-Ground (ATG) inflight network.

The next generation ATG network combined with Gogo’s proprietary aero antenna, in-cabin network and software platform will bring up to 30 times more bandwidth to an aircraft than our original ATG solution.  Once the network upgrades are complete, Gogo will have a North American ATG solution that will deliver performance on the aircraft that is comparable to Gogo’s 2Ku global satellite solution.

Gogo’s next generation ATG network will have peak network capacity of more than 100 Gbps.  When combined with Gogo’s global satellite network, Gogo will have the highest capacity network ever built that’s dedicated to serving aviation.

“Our networks and inflight connectivity solutions are dedicated to serving aviation and today we are delivering more bandwidth to deliver a better passenger experience and support our aviation partners’ operations,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO.

Our next generation ATG network utilizes unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4GHz spectrum band as well as the licensed spectrum from Gogo’s original ATG network to provide greater bandwidth and reliability.  It also leverages Gogo’s existing ATG network backhaul and infrastructure of more than 250 cell towers.  On the aircraft, Gogo has developed a proprietary new antenna and modem that will produce peak speeds of more than 100 Mbps per aircraft.

The solution will be ideal for business aviation aircraft, commercial regional jets and select mainline aircraft operating in the U.S. For business aviation aircraft, this service will be available as an upgrade to aircraft already equipped with Gogo’s Avance L5 connectivity solution.  For commercial aviation, any aircraft outfitted with equipment designed to leverage Gogo’s first generation ATG network will simply need to be outfitted with a new modem and blade antenna to take advantage of the new service.  The network will be available in 2018.

VT Miltope

One thing IFEC shows are really good for – surprises, especially in technology. Case in point, the recent APEX EXPO in Long Beach. The surprise was router security and the folks at VT Miltope certainly caught us unaware – they were well along in the developmental relationship with a cybersecurity expert (RazorSecure) and have a clear view of the issues with hacking and the potential types of attacks that routers might face on flights that provide inflight internet connectivity. While IFExpress has been following the deluge of attacks on the ground, we have been watching Wi-Fi capable planes for over a year now and it is a  fact that the folks who make routers for IFEC are too. In fact, cybersecurity is becoming a “big deal” for aviation. As proof of this conjecture, check out this Cybersat17 Conference coming in November – Cyber Sat Summit, but this year is just a beginning of a bigger focus on cabin data technology and cabin hacking security efforts.

Getting back to the APEX show, the IFExpress graphic rectangle is a portion of an actual page from VT Miltope’s “Cabin Wireless Network: The Next Frontier” presentation and it opened our eyes! The VT Miltope team has been on track with understanding and protecting IFEC wireless hacking issues and is in the process of working with a partner – RazorSecure Software who will assist in the development of more cabin hacking issues.

As a quick visit recap, we took the opportunity during the expo to receive an overview of VT Miltope’s planned MAP3, with the following key enhancements over the nMAP2, 802.11ac WAVE 2, Enhanced CHT, Embedded Server Storage (2 TB) (Optional), RazorSecure Software (Optional). We should also mention that we have a link for the preliminary data sheet for the MAP3 product with future product details which should be available this year. It should be noted that the proposed product will be a takeoff from the successful nMAP2 and by adding WAVE 2 (IEEE 802.11ac hardware and software for upgrading speed and data throughput), CHT (Enhanced Cognitive Hotspot Technology (Optimizing wireless cabin wireless data communication), optional  2 TB of Data Storage, and RazorSecure (Optional) advanced cyber security intrusion detection – protecting data communications). We won’t go into all the new features but from a technology point if view, this router is going to be a big deal! Add the security additions from RazorSecure, and this will be a formable product! It’s security developments will protect against DOS Attacks, Physical Attacks, Remote Shell Access, Critical Configuration Changes, Authentication and Misconfiguration Issues – and more than we can cover here. Here is a link to some of the Wi-Fi security issues facing connectivity –  US Warns Of Security Flaw Which Can Compromise Wi-Fi Connections (Update)  Here is our message: If you have wireless cabin data communication hacking concerns, you had better call VT Miltope! (We should mention the Galgus team as another contributor to the included technology of the VT Miltope product!)


Gogo

Gogo has made Fortune’s “Future 50” list of companies best positioned for strong future growth. Fortune worked together with the Boston Consulting Group to create the list. To identify the Future 50, Boston Consulting Group examined 2,300 publicly traded U.S. companies and reviewed 15 years of financial results through year-end 2016. They divided the companies into two different groups—those above $20 billion in market value at the time of the screening and those below.

“We are very proud to have been selected to the inaugural Future 50 list as it validates our leadership and innovation as the Inflight Internet company,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO.  “We are connecting aircraft and leveraging that connectivity to develop cutting edge products and services that engage passengers and help our aviation partners run a safer and more efficient operation. Our latest technology innovations like 2Ku have us well positioned to fuel future growth.”

Gogo announced that it has been selected by LATAM Airlines Brazil to introduce inflight connectivity using Gogo’s 2Ku technology to 100 of its A320 aircraft, which operate flights in Brazil as well as to other countries in Latin America. Gogo’s inflight connectivity service will begin in the first half of 2018 and the roll-out of the technology is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019. “We have selected the most modern and innovative in-flight internet technology available in order to offer an unrivaled and diverse onboard experience to our passengers in Brazil.  The new service will complement LATAM Entertainment, our wireless entertainment system, and will provide our passengers with the freedom to choose how they want to enjoy their journeys,” said Jerome Cadier, CEO of LATAM Airlines Brazil.

Gogo’s 2Ku technology is installed on more than 350 aircraft today and delivers proven performance of more than 15 Mbps to each passenger device, covering more than 98 percent of all flight hours around the world with 98 percent system availability. With an open architecture that leverages current and future Ku satellites, 2Ku offers unrivaled adaptability to keep airlines connected now and in the future. The equipment installed on LATAM’s aircraft will include Gogo’s new, performance boosting modem. The proprietary features of the new modem significantly increase throughput and reliability to and from the aircraft.


BOEING

Boeing just signed a big deal with Singapore Airlines for 20 777-9s and 19 787-10s and 6 options of each…in the Oval Office. The deal is worth $13.8 B at list prices.

SIA, Boeing firm 777-9, 787-10 order at White House ceremony | Airframes content from ATWOnline

Also, it looks like the all Airbus Hong Kong Airlines is seeking to speed up growth to take on Cathay Pacific and will most likely get some Boeing 787’s. Last week, Reuters also predicted China Southern would buy 38 more Boeing planes worth $5.6 Billion at retail prices.

The company is investigating plans to double the B767 Everett production and apparently have an order which depends on a certain production rate of the planes. And, we understand that Boeing is looking at passenger version of the aircraft. The company has declined comment on the the airline but United Continental has been mentioned in the press. They have 51 B767’s that are quite old and some 77 B757’s that are around 20 years old.

On another front, There have also been rumors of a sale of 100 Boeing 767 freighters to Amazon’s growing Prime Air cargo fleet.


AIRBUS

The first A330neo took off August 19 at Blagnac in Toulouse, France at 09.57 hrs local time, for its maiden flight taking place over south-western France. The aircraft, MSN1795, is a A330-900 and the first of three certification flight-test aircraft to fly, powered by the latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofans. The A330neo’s certification development program itself will last around 1,400 flight-test hours. This will comprise 1,100 flight hours for the A330-900 campaign – to achieve its respective EASA and FAA Type Certification around the middle of 2018; plus 300 flight hours for A330-800 version – which will be certified in 2019. Overall, the full A330neo Family flight-test campaign will be performed by three certification flight-test aircraft, plus the first production aircraft (the latter to validate the Airspace cabin prior to EIS).

Launched in July 2014, the latest generation of Airbus’ widebody family, the A330neo builds on the A330’s proven economics, versatility and reliability while reducing fuel consumption by a further 14 per cent per seat. The NEO’s two versions – the A330-800 and A330-900 – will accommodate 257 and 287 passengers respectively in a three-class seating layout, are powered by the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, accommodate up to 10 more seats, offer new “Airspace” cabin amenities, and feature a new larger span wing with Sharklet wingtip devices.


SITA

The air transport industry has cybersecurity as a top priority with 95% of airlines and 96% of airports investing resources into major cybersecurity programs or pilots over the next three years. Yet research released  from global IT provider SITA shows there is still room for improvement with only one third of boards at airlines, and a fifth at airports, having fully integrated cybersecurity into their business plans.

Speaking today at a gathering of European air transport industry leaders, Barbara Dalibard, CEO of SITA, highlighted that while cybersecurity is the number one priority for almost all airlines and airports, it demands more attention and must be higher on industry board agendas.

Dalibard said: “Recent global cyber attacks demonstrate the risks and the need for a proactive approach. The air transport industry is highly connected and reliant on partners. We must work as a community to fight the global threat to cybersecurity. While we are pleased to see a 46% increase in the number of airlines prepared to deal with major cyber threats over the past year, there is still more to be done. The industry should move from dealing with common cyber threats to being prepared for major ones. As the technology provider owned by industry members, SITA is committed to invest in, and lead, the community effort to maximize cybersecurity. Together we can ramp up the industry’s defenses and ensure we remain one step ahead of any threat.”

SITA has conducted in depth research into the level of cybersecurity maturity at airlines and airports in the fight against this global threat. The results show that there are very high levels of security awareness among staff at airlines (82%) and airports (85%). This year, beyond cybersecurity protection, the industry is focusing on threat detection and response management. Already CIOs at 69% of airlines and 47% of airports are implementing security events and correlation monitoring, while security incident response management is being put in place at 77% of airlines and 60% airports.

Dalibard added: “Airlines and airports are building their critical defenses and preparing to deal with common threats but we must all bring it to the highest level and integrate cybersecurity at executive and board level. Together we must identify, detect and react to cyber threats and protect the industry’s assets from attack.”

Having identified the challenge, SITA earlier this year partnered with Airbus to address the air transport industry’s distinct concerns and created a unique CyberSecurity Aviation Security Operations Center (SOC). It acts like a cyber control tower with an integrated combination of processes, people and technology to detect, analyze, respond to, and report on cybersecurity incidents.

Markus Braendle, Head, Airbus Cybersecurity, said: “The air transport industry has unique cybersecurity challenges because of the varied and increasing use of smart end points across a largely distributed infrastructure. Digital transformation is enabling the air transport industry to deliver better services to its customers, but raising its threat exposure. Together SITA and Airbus CyberSecurity bring expertise and solutions to help airlines and airports monitor their digital assets to detect and respond to incidents.”

The SOC is part of a broader portfolio of SITA products and services that help airlines and airports identify threats and protect against, detect and respond to cyber attacks.

SITA also operates the Community Cyber Threat Center, a security information sharing service run on behalf of SITA’s more than 400 air transport industry members. It enables actionable information on cyber threats to be shared in a timely manner among key industry stakeholders.

These initiatives are part of SITA’s commitment to lead the air transport community fight against cyber threats and to improve the integration of cybersecurity into business plans at board level at airlines and airports.

SITA’s 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights are available here. Over the coming months, further insight into the results will be made available.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat is pleased to announce it has recently joined the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center (A-ISAC), the trusted international membership association for sharing cybersecurity information targeted at the aviation sector. As part of the A-ISAC, Inmarsat joins a global contingent of aviation industry companies working collaboratively to develop and share timely and actionable information related to best practices, protective measures, threats and vulnerabilities. A-ISAC members are located on five continents and are leaders in the airline, airport, platform, satellite, and equipment manufacturing segments of the industry.


SECURITY

The US government is getting very concerned about the potential misidentification of bad devices in laptops and US passengers and planes might come under a security ban for the larger devices in the aircraft baggage holds…and in some cases, in the cabin. The US FAA is suggesting a worldwide ban on laptops in checked bags for obvious reasons. The issue in the checked bags is related to lithium-ion batteries and related potential issues with fire and explosions. There is also concern that nothing larger than an iPhone will be permitted in the cabin. If the cabin becomes out of bounds for laptops, you had better get a reliable source of small, secure data storage and a lot of carry-on print matter. Perhaps iPads that have more capability will become common, but we think they have a way to go to get laptop-like usage. We will see!

That laptop ban could be about to get a whole lot worse for plane passengers


MORE STUFF

  • In case you didn’t know, FTE Asia is Nov.7- 8, 2017 in Singapore and the folks at IFPL will be there as well. They told IFExpress: “We will be showcasing their latest USB-A and USB-C power solutions and how they are delivering seamless seat integration to truly enhance the ergonomics and aesthetics of the seat. Further, in line with passenger demand for consumer technology on-board, IFPL will be demonstrating their latest range of USB-A and USB-C outlets, AC power outlets, inductive charge and their traditional audio jackpassenger control units and seat back payment terminal solutions. We invite you to visit stand A33.”
  • Lastly, we have a freebie for you! While looking for a recap of the the Delta-CS100-Boeing-Airbus story, we came across Jason Cottrell’s excellent weekly airline publication (Airline Weekly) and his Fleet Sheet story on page 3 is a great summary. We asked for Jason’s permission to share it with you, so here it is:‎ airlineweekly.com/102317.pdf We also suggest you consider a subscription if you are airline data oriented. You can find out how by contacting him at jcottrell@airlineweekly.com – a really great airline publication.

Firstly, IFExpress has our APEX show images on line and you will find them here.

Next, we talked to Rich Salter at the APEX show and he told IFExpress that FTS had hosted a Chinese IFEC Summit and had conducted a successful live Ka-Band HTS Satcom connectivity demo in Beijing and we asked for more information for our readers and here is what he sent:

“On September 14th, 2017, FTS hosted an IFEC Summit and conducted a live demo of their Ka-Band HTS Satcom Connectivity solution to multiple Chinese airlines, government officials, and technology partners in Beijing, China. Taking place at the ultra-modern Zpark Technology and Conference Center, more than 150 attendees listened to speakers who shared insights on broad topics like regulations, market development and technology trends.  This is indicative of the recent surge in interest and accelerated pace of rolling out inflight connectivity in China.

For the live Ka-Band Satcom Connectivity demo, FTS leveraged on ChinaSat-16 Ka-Band satellite, connected to full FTS Xstream-Sat hardware, including Satellite Antenna, Modman, General Network Server and Cabin Wireless Access Points.  FTS was able to demonstrate downlink speed in excess of 70Mbps in what was the debut of the first China Ka-Band satellite for IFC.  All attendees were connected to internet via satellite on their mobile devices as if they were on a flight. Each attendee was assigned a virtual seat number and could stream videos, surf websites, order food and beverages as well as indulge in some onboard shopping on the FTS Xstream inflight software platform throughout the demo. Flight attendants serviced the attendee requests and orders in real time and the demo was a great success.

With the recent announcement of the Chinese government to allow the use of PEDs and cellphones inflight, the timing of the event could not have been more advantageous. “We are very pleased with the number of airlines and industry partners that attended the event and with the successful demo of our IFC solution, we look forward to growing our footprint in China in tandem with our great partners,” said Rich Salter, CTO of FTS.  This issue’s rectangle picture is from the FTS demonstration.


IFEC Breaking News (Sorta!) – Follow the Money!

Ok, see if you can follow this:

1. Bombardier developed a CSeries (CS 100), single-aisle, 100 to 150 passenger aircraft in Quebec, Canada.

2. Delta ordered 75 of the CSeries planes ( with 50 more as an option) in April of this year as part of their fleet upgrade ($4 to $5 Billion) with the hopes of a 2018 introduction.

3. In May, Boeing claimed the US aerospace industry was at risk if the planes are sold and stated that Bombardier should be fined for price dumping. Boeing proceeded to file a complaint with the ITC and the US Department of Commerce charging that selling the planes at $19.6 million each should be considered a “dumping” price. A 218 page transcript was reviewed that noted that the CSeries selling at that price would kill the Boeing B737-700 and the MAX 7. While Delta did buy some Boeing planes, they were going to loose the “100 seat market the plane need” and since there was a financial bailout of Bombardier by the Canadian Government, the CSeries should receive a US Government tariff. Initial US Commerce Department rulings recommended that US Airlines should pay as much as 300% in import duties.

4. Delta CEO Ed Bastian was not going to buy the planes at the new price!

5. On October 16, Airbus and Bombardier formed a partnership (Airbus – 50.01%, Bombardier 31%, Quebec – 19%) and announced the plane will be built in two countries (Quebec and Mobile, Alabama in the US where their A321’s are made), and guess where the Delta planes will be built? In about one month, Airbus put the deal together and since they see 6,000 of the CS types in the  small-plane market (most in the US), it worked for both companies. We note, airplanes built in the US are not subject to US duties – at least not today.

And lastly, why are you reading about it here? Because this is the plane that Delta will launch the new Gogo Vision Touch, the wireless seatback solution for connected IFEC, on in 2018. Check out this link for more details on Gogo Vision Touch!


NEWS:

Astronics
Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), was recently selected by six major North American airlines to install industry-leading EMPOWER in-seat power systems on up to 1,400 narrow- body and regional jet aircraft.

Astronics AES will equip the airplanes with 110VAC and high output USB power for every passenger from “nose to tail,” including the cabin crew stations. Line-fit and retrofit installations will occur from early 2018 through 2023.

Peter J. Gundermann, President of Astronics Corporation, noted, “Being selected for these significant fleet upgrades further solidifies our leading global market position for passenger power on commercial aircraft and is a strong indication of the increasing trend for airlines to provide power for their passengers on narrow-body and regional aircraft. Carriers worldwide are responding to passenger requests for power at the seat so they can use their personal electronic devices to fully enjoy the streamed in-flight entertainment and upgraded connectivity systems provided by the airlines, while remaining fully charged when they land.”

Statistics show that 97% of passengers travel with personal electronic devices, and a large percentage carry more than one. For over 20 years, Astronics AES has supplied intelligent power management systems for airline passengers’ benefits. The EMPOWER system is currently in service with over 230 airline and OEM customers with over one million power outlets installed.

Zodiac
Here is part of a recent news release we received: “Today we are announcing the consolidation of all Zodiac Seats California (ZSC) operations from Rancho Cucamonga, California to our Gainesville and Chihuahua facilities. We anticipate this consolidation will take six to nine months to fully complete. This consolidation of operations is in line with Zodiac Aerospace’s focus on optimizing the global industrial footprint of the Group.”

Airbus
Airbus’ A340 laminar-flow “BLADE” test demonstrator aircraft (A340-300 MSN001) has made its successful maiden flight for the EU-sponsored Clean Sky “Blade” project. The aircraft, dubbed “Flight Lab”, took off from the Tarbes aerodrome in southern France at local time 11:00, and after a series of successful tests it landed at Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse Blagnac. The overall flight time was 3hrs/38mins.

The BLADE project – which stands for “Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe” – is tasked with assessing the feasibility of introducing the technology for commercial aviation. It aims to improve aviation’s ecological footprint, bringing with it a 50% reduction of wing friction and up to five percent lower CO2 emission. Airbus’ A340 Flight Lab is the first test aircraft in the world to combine a transonic laminar wing profile with a true internal primary structure.

On the outside the aircraft is fitted with two representative transonic laminar outer-wings, while inside the cabin a highly complex specialist flight-test-instrumentation (FTI) station has been installed. The extensive modifications to the A340-300 test-bed aircraft took place during the course of a 16-month working party in Tarbes, with the support of numerous industrial partners across Europe. Today’s first-flight marks the kick-off of the Blade flight-test campaign to explore the wing’s characteristics in flight. A key goal of Blade is to be able to measure the tolerances and imperfections which can be present and still sustain laminarity. To this end, Airbus will simulate every type of imperfection in a controlled manner, so that at the end of the campaign the tolerances for building a laminar wing will be fully known. The flight Lab will perform around 150 flight hours in the coming months.

Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE), an MRO centre based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, partially owned by Airbus since 2011, has become a fully owned Airbus subsidiary, following the acquisition by Airbus of its remaining shares.With this acquisition, SAE becomes an integral part of the Airbus Customer Services network and is set to represent a key element of Services by Airbus’ growth strategy in the dynamic Asia Pacific market.

JetBlue
JetBlue will become the first airline to introduce Airspace by Airbus on the A320 Family, the agreement was introduced at APEX Expo. JetBlue customers will experience this newest A320 Family cabin aboard JetBlue aircraft starting in late 2020. Highlights of the new Airspace cabin in the A320 Family include: a unique welcome experience. In particular, a customizable welcome effect is extended throughout the cabin by a central lighting strip which is visible even with open bin doors during boarding. The A320 Family cabin with Airspace features the industry’s largest overhead bins, whose conformal exterior profile facilitates smooth boarding. Throughout the cabin passengers will appreciate the increased interior width, the soothing ambience of the latest full-color LED lighting, and a contemporary lavatory design with new comfort features.

Inmarsat
Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced that AirAsia Group has selected its next-generation GX Aviation inflight broadband solution for more than 120 Airbus aircraft. This contract supports Inmarsat’s strategy of providing airlines with tailored scalable capacity by designing, owning and operating a global network of High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). GX Aviation is the world’s first in-flight connectivity solution with seamless, reliable high-speed global coverage provided through a single operator. It is the only service in the market that guarantees minimum data rates, ensuring that airline passengers can browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground.

Also, AirAsia Group will connect to the GX network using exclusive new JetWave terminals produced by Honeywell Aerospace. The terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.

SITAONAIR
International carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has selected SITAONAIR to make its global high-speed connected passenger experience ambitions a reality over GX Aviation. SITAONAIR is to deliver the upgrade of PAL’s existing B777 Swift Broadband fleet to GX Aviation, powered by Honeywell’s JetWave SATCOM terminal, together with line-fitting PAL’s new Airbus A350s and A321s. Once complete, SITAONAIR will activate its rich nose-to-tail package of bespoke inflight connectivity (IFC) services, achieving a significantly enhanced and consistent connected experience for passengers and cabin crews. SITAONAIR’s award-winning, intuitive Internet ONAIR portal offers contextualized and personalized content, satisfying digitally-demanding passengers over GX connectivity by mirroring their ‘at-home’ experience, and with free 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions and cheaper price plans on offer to all passengers. In addition, PAL customers will benefit from SITAONAIR’s mobile connectivity over GX via SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIRONAIR Plug’s secure online channel for inflight card transactions and crew and passenger interactions; plus integrated, connected inflight entertainment from Zodiac Inflight Innovations. The close partnership between SITAONAIR and Zodiac Inflight Innovations with PAL plays an important part in the program’s success.

Immfly
Immfly, based in Barcelona, was selected by easyJet to launch its IFE product on the basis of the high-performance digital platform it provides. It offers the flexibility to dynamically deliver a broad range of digital content and innovative tools to effectively engage customers. Immfly’s product is at the forefront of the industry providing passengers with the ability to access a unique in-flight entertainment experience with personalized capabilities through their own smart devices, rendering old built-in monitors obsolete. Immfly, already a leading provider of in-flight sales and communications services in Europe, expects to reach 100 million connected passengers by 2018 following its partnerships with airlines which include carriers such as Iberia Express, Volotea, XL Airways and now easyJet. Rakuten, a global leader in internet services with over 1 billion members worldwide and an ecosystem of more than 70 services, will be the Official Entertainment Sponsor of easyJet’s in-flight entertainment service integrated by Immfly.


More Stuff:

 

  • Rockwell Collins’ largest nose-to-tail connectivity contract to date
  • Passengers will have access to fastest in-flight internet speeds available
  • Airline crew and operations will benefit from enhanced efficiency and increased access to information, including global flight tracking

Long Beach, California | September 26, 2017– A large Asia Pacific-based airline has selected Rockwell Collins as its provider of nose-to-tail connectivity services for its fleet of 100 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Cabin connectivity services will be provided by Rockwell Collins’ CabinConnectTM wireless in-flight connectivity and entertainment solution using Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network. The system will be linefit on the aircraft.

“The ability to stay connected while flying is critically important to airline passengers today, especially in the growing Asia Pac region,” said David Nieuwsma, senior vice president, Information Management Services at Rockwell Collins. “These passengers want to stream video and chat with family, and also enjoy the benefit of flying with a highly efficient airline. That’s exactly what this solution provides.”

With the installation of the new service, passengers will enjoy an improved travel experience, with the ability to surf the internet, use social networks and various instant messenger applications, as well as check emails via smartphones, tablets and personal computers. Passengers will also be able to stream onboard entertainment content using their personal devices.

In the flight deck, the airline will also implement Rockwell Collins’ ARINC GLOBALink services, including a unique multimedia ACARS communications package with Very High Frequency (VHF), High Frequency (HF) and SwiftBroadband-Safety Services (SB-S). The ARINC GLOBALink service securely and reliably delivers voice and data communications between the aircraft and ground operations over a private aviation network that features 99.999 percent availability. For back office operations, the airline will utilize ARINC OpCenterSM, the company’s cloud-based ACARS host processor and will be able to monitor its aircraft fleet anywhere in the world using the Rockwell Collins ARINC MultiLinkSM flight tracking solution.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for installation of Honeywell JetWave™ system will provide access to next generation Wi-Fi service on popular business jet

October 12, 2017–Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that its Jet ConneX business aviation inflight Wi-Fi service has received a Supplement Type Certificate (STC) for the popular Gulfstream G550 aircraft.

The certificate, awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), approves Gulfstream G550 business jets to be equipped with the exclusive JetWave™ antenna and terminal, produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell. The system enables seamless access to Jet ConneX high-speed Wi-Fi across major flight routes and islands off the beaten path, allowing passengers to browse the web, stream live television, video conference and more.

Following more than a year of investment in development and testing, initial installations on G550 aircraft are now underway. Gulfstream, in cooperation with Inmarsat and Honeywell, is currently conducting in-service evaluation and final terminal Type Approval activities. 

Kurt Weidemeyer, Vice President of Business Aviation at Inmarsat, said: “The Gulfstream G550 community has been eagerly awaiting this Jet ConneX installation approvaland has told us about their desire to have a powerful global high-speed Wi-Fi solution for their principals. Many are heavy users of Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband solution and are happy with the service reliability but are now looking to upgrade to a next-generation network that is fast enough to handle the demands of today’s applications.”

Honeywell is the exclusive provider of JetWave™ hardware and played an integral role in supporting the Gulfstream G550 STC.

Warren Nechtman, Vice President of Connected Aircraft Systems at Honeywell, commented: “Honeywell worked closely with Gulfstream to successfully integrate the JetWave™ hardware into the existing G550 architecture. However the real credit goes to the Gulfstream team who worked expeditiously to bring Jet ConneX to their customers. They did it in record time.”

Jet ConneX is the only global, high-speed Wi-Fi option available for business jets today. It offers the same fast and reliable on-board connectivity experience comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground. Using Inmarsat’s advanced Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers data plans up to 15Mbps and consistent global coverage, providing a differentiator to do business whenever and wherever.

Expansion of popular programme allows Dassault Aviation customers to use their existing radomes to connect to Jet ConneX

October 11, 2017–Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that additional data plans are now available for its Jet ConneX inflight Wi-Fi solution on Dassault business jets. The expanded offering gives Dassault customers five tiered data plans to choose from using their existing non-Ka-band radomes. The highest data plan offers speeds up to 11Mbps.

Business aviation customers are normally required to install the Honeywell JetWave hardware for Jet ConneX with a fully approved Ka-band optimised radome. However, that requirement has been waived while Dassault Aviation finishes development of a fully approved Ka-band radome, which is expected next year.

With the installation of an approved Ka-band radome, Dassault customers will become eligible for the entire Jet ConneX data plan catalogue, which currently offers tiered plans up to 15Mbps.

Kurt Weidemeyer, Vice President of Business and General Aviation at Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Jet ConneX has received an extremely positive response from Dassault customers and we decided to expand this programme with more data plans as Inmarsat has more than enough capability and capacity to support even non-Ka-band radomes. In fact, keep an eye out for even higher data plans for all our customers.”

Jet ConneX is the only global, high-speed Wi-Fi option available for Dassault aircraft today. It offers the same fast and reliable on-board connectivity experience comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground, with business jets connecting to the service using exclusive JetWave hardware produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell. Using Inmarsat’s advanced Ka-band satellite network, Jet ConneX offers consistent global coverage across 100 percent of major airline routes and islands off the beaten path for business aviation customers.

With more than 100 installations, Supplemental Type Certifications (STCs) with all major aircraft manufactures and a rising number of aftermarket installers, across 15 of the most popular type models, Jet ConneX has become the most installed inflight Wi-Fi solution of 2017. The total number of business jet installations for the service is expected to double in the next year alone.

Non-Ka radome programme data plan speeds and pricing can be obtained from the Jet ConneX global network of Service Providers; Arinc Direct, Honeywell Go Direct, Satcom Direct (SD) or SitaOnAir, who offer tailored service plans on a monthly subscription basis, as well as 24/7 technical support, billing and value-added services to help customers manage usage and optimise bandwidth..

Last issue we began the EXPO updates for our IFExpress content, and we continue with it this week. However, it may take longer to cover APEX as we plan to keep covering the latest news in our weekly coverage as well. So, lets get started with Lufthansa Systems and Telefonix:

1) Lufthansa Systems

Norbert Müller, previously Head of BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems, has taken on a new role as Head of the Americas region at Lufthansa Systems as of October 1, 2017. The LS folks said that he is pleased to hand over the baton to his successor Jan-Peter Gänse, who has so far been responsible for certifications and strategically important projects in the area of BoardConnect.

“I am pleased to be able to take on this task from a highly esteemed colleague and industry expert who has accompanied me over the past few years in my previous area of responsibility. My goal is to further expand the already established and successful path with our product line BoardConnect. With currently 12 customers, we are on the right track.” And while in Long Beach, we met the affable Jan-Peter and we really enjoyed visiting with him – and we are certain you will too!

From a hardware/services perspective, the company announced the following relationship during APEX. A completely new approach to content services provisioning characterizes the BoardConnect Media Services offered by Lufthansa Systems in collaboration with Touch Inflight Solutions Inc. (Touch). Since the two companies began cooperating closely just over a year ago, their product has been successfully installed on more than 100 aircraft of commercial airlines – including Eurowings, Austrian Airlines and Azul Linhas Aereas.

Although demand for an Internet connection is rising when it comes to onboard entertainment, current bandwidth is not yet sufficient to enable all passengers to stream content simultaneously. “While we expect connectivity to increase further and prices to drop in the next three to five years, bandwidth in the air will not be comparable to normal bandwidth on the ground even then,” said Michael Childers, Chief Consultant Content and Media Services at Lufthansa Systems. “That’s why providing airlines with a content offering stored on local servers on board the aircraft and streamed via a local WiFi network is a reliable and sustainable option that can also be combined with future Internet services. Our wireless BoardConnect in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution enables us to offer our customers exactly that.”

Integrated approach

Unlike some other IFE providers, Lufthansa Systems and Touch have adopted an integrated approach to in-flight entertainment. Rather than seeing the content and system-based components as separate entities, they directly consider the technological possibilities of the IFEC system when determining which content the product should include. The infrastructure, design and selection of content maximizes the system’s performance. What’s more, new content should be available even faster than ever. By using cloud technology and eDelivery, it makes it possible to place new content on the platform extremely fast, quickly taking Lufthansa Systems and Touch from the industry’s 90 days window to a mere fraction of this period.

“When we design the infrastructure components for the content, we have to be aware of the technical capabilities of the passengers’ current smartphones and tablets. Only then can we do everything we can to offer them a passenger experience that gets the best out of their devices,” said Joe Carreira, Managing Director of Touch Inflight Solutions. “We are working closely with Lufthansa Systems in this context. Our aim is to create solutions customized to fit the individual requirements of airlines and their passengers.”

The individual content on offer ranges from global and regional films and TV series, branded and web content, music, magazines as well as airport guides and destination content. When it comes to offering Hollywood movies, Lufthansa Systems and Touch Inflight Solutions have a direct, close and long-term working relationship with the film studios.

2) Telefonix

During APEX EXPO Telefonix PDT was selected by Gogo to develop the next generation Air-to-Ground Modem Controller Unit. Here is some additional information from Telefonix PDT on the product. The AMCU product is an evolution of the currently fielded Airborne Controller Processor Unit 2 (ACPU2), which allows seamless enablement of Gogo’s next generation ATG service while maintaining installed electronics footprint. Gogo’s next generation ATG network is slated for North American availability in 2018. The AMCU incorporates a proprietary modem that utilizes LTE technology in the unlicensed 2.4GHz band. This system is designed to provide peak speeds of more than 100Mbps. The AMCU is a continuation of the work the Telefonix PDT team has been doing during its long-standing development partnership with Gogo. The AMCU is the latest product to be developed by Telefonix PDT and has grown out of the insights and technological advancements from partnerships such as Gogo. The AMCU features a modular design for its key components, enhancing the serviceability of the LRU, while also providing a future pathway for upgrading those components.

To fully enable Gogo’s new network, the AMCU is designed to deliver advanced processing capabilities, with a modern quad core Intel Xeon processor. The AMCU supports both ARINC 429 and ARINC 717 data bus interfaces, a managed multi-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, avionic discretes, an 802.11g/a/n/ac Wi-Fi client, 4G/LTE Terrestrial modem, and an extended onboard multi-Terabyte SSD storage capability, all packaged in an ARINC 600, 6 MCU chassis. The cornerstone of the AMCU is Gogo’s innovative ATG modem; the AMCU chassis will manage and provide for the modem’s unique mechanical, electrical and thermal requirements.

Pat Walsh, Sr. Vice President of Engineering at Gogo noted, “The AMCU will be an integral component of Gogo’s evolving connectivity solution, and we couldn’t be happier to once again be working with the Telefonix PDT team to ensure an optimized product for our customers.”

Gogo’s awarding of the AMCU program underlines the faith Gogo has placed in the Telefonix PDT team to continue innovating the next generation of ATG services. “The Telefonix PDT team values its long-standing relationship with Gogo and is proud to have been selected for the AMCU program,” says Michael Kuehn, President of Telefonix, Inc. “Our team is committed to working side by side with the Gogo development team in delivering a best-in-class modem solution for Gogo’s ATG network and meeting the expectations of Gogo’s customers going forward.” The Telefonix PDT development team is on schedule to meet Gogo’s development and installation schedule, with planning underway for DO-160G qualification, with a final delivery expected in Q2 in 2018.


NEWS

  • PANASONIC AVIONICS-Mexico City-based Interjet has selected Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) innovative inflight entertainment (IFE) system and Wi-Fi connectivity service for its fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The initial aircraft will be delivered from Airbus in November 2017, and this A321 NEO aircraft will be the first Panasonic-equipped aircraft to be line fit with connectivity by the OEM. Headquartered in Mexico City, Interjet serves over 11 million passengers each year with routes in Mexico as well as the United States, Canada and Central and South America providing air service to 54 destinations in eight countries. It operates a fleet of 76 aircraft and has revenue of more than 1 billion dollars per year.  With Panasonic, Interjet will be able to offer a premium, connected entertainment experience across international markets and one of the most extensive domestic route structures available from Airlines in the region. Panasonic’s connectivity service will let passengers surf the web, send email, and use their favorite social media apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, and more over inflight broadband Wi-Fi. eXO is one of the industry’s most innovative overhead solutions. It features Panasonic’s new large-format 12-inch 1080p retractable overhead monitors, and gives Interjet a path to deliver wireless streaming to passenger devices in the future. It creates a theater like experience allowing passengers to view high definition video content on large-format overhead screens.
  • Gogo announced it completed 110 installations of its industry leading 2Ku inflight connectivity solution in the third quarter of 2017. The company had a total of 340 2Ku installed aircraft as of Sept. 30, 2017. “Our rapid deployment of 2Ku is transforming global aviation. Based on our pace of installs since Labor Day, we are well positioned to nearly double the number of 2Ku installations in the fourth quarter as compared to the third quarter,” said John Wade, Gogo’s executive vice president and COO.   “We are delivering the most bandwidth, the broadest global coverage and highest system availability for aviation.” Gogo will have approximately 600 total 2Ku aircraft online across 10 airlines by the end of this year.  The company has shortened installation times to less than two days, which is less than half the time that it typically takes to install a broadband satellite connectivity solution.
  • Astronics, a leading supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Astronics Max-Viz, announced  that more than 2,500 of its Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS) have now been installed in rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. 
  • Airbus logged 56 jetliner sales last month (single aisle & wide body) while delivering 55 aircraft for September (versus 62 in September 2016). Airbus’ overall net orders for the first nine months of 2017 totaled 271 jets (462 in 2017 versus 462 one year ago) . As one source notes: “Airbus’ overall backlog of jetliners as of 30 September stood at 6,691– the equivalent of approximately nine years of production at current rates.”
  • BOEING delivered 78 aircraft in September vs 72 in Sept 2016. It has delivered 554 aircraft over first three quarters of 2017 vs 563 a year ago.
  • And if you were wondering why the US came down so hard on Canadian Bombardier’s C Series aircraft dumping, you really must read the Danny Lam article in Aviation Week – China is the issue!

Lastly, if you didn’t have the opportunity to attend APEX in Long Beach or you were simply too busy to walk the expo floor be certain to check out our flickr link in the upper right hand column!

SKYfi the new catalogue selection for the OEM’s E-Jets E2 Program

Buxtehude, Germany | September 2017– KID-Systeme’s SKYfi Club – a wireless streaming onboard platform for passenger and corporate aircraft – has been selected by Embraer as catalogue linefit  option for the OEM’s E-Jets E2 Program. Airline customers are able to choose KID-Systeme’s streaming solution on aircraft types E195-E2, E190-E2 and E175-E2. The hardware will be offered by Embraer, customized software solutions will be provided to the airline customers by KID.

SKYfi Club streams content to passengers’ personal electronic devices, allowing them to access the available entertainment options, such as movies, e-books and magazines. The technology is based on the trusted ALNA (Airline Network Architecture) connectivity platform, which flies on over 650 aircraft already. The mature system provides a scalable and modular architecture adaptable to customer need. It enables a wide range of additional services such as GSM telephony, internet access and data services. Further SKYfi can be complemented by SKYpower, KID-Systeme’s in-seat power and cabin power management system.

Peter Schetschine, Managing Director of KID comments: “KID-Systeme is honoured and delighted about this selection. It is a recognition for our continuous striving for value adding innovations, high quality products and first class customer service.”

The E-Jets E2s, consisting of three aircraft types, entering into the market as the second generation of the Embraer E-jet family.

Kontron to supply cabin Wi-Fi hardware and certification services

Long Beach, California | September 27, 2017–Kontron, a leading global provider of embedded computing inflight entertainment and connectivity equipment, today announced that it has signed an agreement with Air Esurfing, a fully owned subsidiary of Air Media online Group, to jointly explore China aviation Wi-Fi market.  The Air Esurfing system solution will integrate Kontron’s ACE Flight™ Server and Cab-N-Connect™ wireless access point for inflight connectivity applications that utilize China’s Ku-band and Ku/Ka-band HTS capacity. Kontron is also providing STC certification services to ensure that the new system is qualified to meet the safety and regulatory standards required for commercial aviation in China.

Kontron’s certified IFE&C open platforms were selected for their ability to help reduce the complexity and costs associated with developing next-generation “connected aircraft” systems including new Satcom applications. The new services from Air Esurfing are scheduled to be launched in early 2018 with pilot programs that will offer in-cabin video streaming and inflight Internet connectivity to passengers on China domestic flights.

“Kontron is very pleased to sign this cooperation agreement with Air Esurfing, who is a key player in the rapidly growing China IFE&C market, ” said Andy Mason, Vice President of Technology at Kontron America. “We can support this partnership with cabin and connectivity products already certified and flying with the Chinese airlines, plus the regional and global experience that enables fast time-to-market.”

“Kontron brings proven hardware solutions for inflight WiFi and connectivity,” said Mr. Zhou Hong, General Manager Air Esurfing. “These enabling platforms will enable us to offer the most state-of-the-art IFE&C services to the domestic Chinese market.”

APEX 2017 is over, and as usual, there was a lot to see and talk about. This first post-show issue of IFExpress is not the place to cover all we saw, so over the next few weeks we will get into the details. However, this week we will give our readers a Summary, talk a bit about a few of the Big Deals we saw, give our readers some Trend/Forecast data based on the show, and provide a People Update on some of the “interesting” folks we saw cruising the aisles or working in different booths. Lastly, please understand this summary may not include “your” booth as we have limited space, but never fear, if your story has depth, we will cover it – at least for those booths we had time to visit.

First, we need to be sure we are in a business that will support the forthcoming technology – and we are certain we are. With well over 26,000 commercial aircraft in service today served by over 1,400 airlines, this industry will be around for a while. Further, with passenger traffic predictions indicating that volumes will double in the next fifteen years, growth is assuredly on the horizon. But here is the catch – what passengers want/need in the way of IFEC is changing and vendors (and airlines) need to be aware of these changes if the businesses are to succeed. In fact, we think you might want to be thinking in terms of C+IFE instead of IFEC.

Also, let us say that the IFEC world is changing, and in many cases, it is because many of the people influencing and using it, have changed, at least their technology has changed. Also, readers should note that because many companies and products are evolving, the communication of changes will occur later than this show. In other words, never fear, more will come in the future, and if what we saw is an indication, there will be a lot to write about then. Also, please note, industry competition success will be determined by passenger approval in most cases, and based on it, don’t bet on the obvious – keep an open mind till you try it out. A perfect example for us was Uber. When we got more information about the driver, their car and their present location – all with better service and lower cost, we changed from taxi’s!

IFEC is the area of driving change we mentioned earlier and the ability to use one’s own devices are a plus in many cases. Inflight Wi-Fi is the technology changing the experience, but you knew that. The ability of an airline (or content service provider) to “use” a preloaded app is a good idea for a couple reasons – it provides a link to the passengers’ phone or tablet and it allows more “involvement” with the user and their devices. Airlines like this solution as well as others and many have an app that allows inflight content personalization, in the air and on the ground. After all, a companion app is an airline sales pitch in the long run – and if you don’t see the value in this solution, perhaps you should try maintenance!?

Having said all that, here are some of the product capabilities we saw and feel will be a “big deal” downstream, and since this issue of IFExpress is a quick summary, we wanted to be sure that you have a good list to follow-up on. So here it goes!

Some Big Deals

FlightPath 3D – When IFExpress sat down with the FlightPath 3D team during last week’s APEX, we were blown away! The company is trying to evolve the inflight experience to be more ‘passenger centric’. The journey should not be just about when the passenger arrives at their destination but a more immersive experience. FlightPath 3D is achieving this target through brilliantly crafted 3D content with full street maps with places to visit and things to do as well as gameification. The company has a 3-pillar model: 1) explore the passenger destination & plan your travel 2) provide an immersive experience and pre-experience the destination 3) drive ancillary revenue for the airline. As we mentioned, IFExpress was really impressed with the quality of the maps, the ease of use, and the scope of FlightPath 3D’s vision. Expect more on this product in a future issue of IFExpress.


Netflix– One of the exciting “show stoppers” was presented by Netflix who propose free or low price inflight movie watching. In 2018, Netflix plans on deploying new, more efficient mobile encodes for use in flight. By providing the airplane available IP ranges, an airline will be able to provide video streaming inflight – content for users! The new solution on board will provide up to 75% bandwidth savings. Video streaming will be the answer for airlines that work with Netflix. For passengers with an existing Netflix account, the Netflix content will be free. If you are not a Netflix customer, you will be able to sign-up for a 30-day free trial – passengers win, the airlines win (if they have satcom hardware), and Netflix wins by giving free content to potential future customers. Overall, one could say it is a win-win-win!


Gogo Vision Touch – During the show, Gogo announced a new seatback product that facilitates wireless streaming of IFE content. The product will be launched on Delta’s Bombardier CS100 aircraft. The aircraft will utilize 2Ku connectivity technology as well as Gogo Vision Touch. The system will leverage the 2Ku in cabin network technology (server, modem and WAPS). Gogo stated during our interview that the system has Early Windows Content approval. And the seatback unit is manufactured by another company and will be installed by the seat provider. Expect more on this in the future.


Rockwell Collins Ku/Ka Band Antenna- The new flat plane antenna from Rockwell Collins features a transmit and receive flat surface approximately 3/4 of a meter each. One dual dish will do Ku and another will do Ka band. Interestingly, Rockwell Collins notes that only 3 electronics boxes are used in providing interface to the aircraft. We understand the technology for this antenna comes from the RC antenna experts on the military side of the house. Furthermore, each system can talk to two satellites. Amazingly, the MTBF is purported to be around 50K hours, which means no moving parts. The company is in the process of testing and certifying this unit, so stay tuned!


Inmarsat (EAN)- “EAN is the world’s first dedicated aviation connectivity solution to integrate space-based and ground-based networks to deliver a seamless W-iFi experience for airline passengers throughout Europe. Inmarsat’s strategic partner, Deutsche Telekom, is well advanced in the construction of the complementary ground network, which will be fully integrated with the S-band satellite to deliver a truly seamless service for Europe’s airlines and their passengers. Deutsche Telekom uses 300 cell phone towers that cover the entire footprint of the EAN (pointing up of course). The Inmarsat S-band satellite, a state-of the-art platform, will provide multi-beam pan-European coverage. The satellite is custom-designed to offer innovative MSS services to commercial and business airlines flying over the dense European routes, exploiting Inmarsat’s 30MHz (2 x 15MHz) S-band spectrum allocation in all 28 EU member states. More importantly, the service operates over one S-band satellite whose footprint is tailored around the countries involved in the service.”


VT Miltope –  VT Miltope brought on RazorSecure to help improve inflight Wi-Fi security while preventing hacker attacks on the IFEC system. Their approach is completely different as they focus on the attack analysis and then relate to the hardware/software that is being protected. We will not cover too much in this issue of IFExpress, but understand, that their approach to secure inflight connectivity is going to change the way that the IFEC industry looks at wireless security. IFExpress will have a more in-depth story in coming issues.


Trends/Forecasts

  • The passenger expectations and the PEDs they carry onboard the aircraft are changing: devices are smaller, have more memory, are longer playing; thus they are having a significant impact on cabin entertainment, especially on single-aisle aircraft.
  • Hardware is changing – The platforms are becoming expandable/modular and the software is more ‘App-like’. The result: flexibility – it is easier to modify hardware and software for different aircraft and airline requirements. Thus, it will be cheaper and easier to, design, build, certify, and install.
  • Connectivity is changing – Firstly, satellite availability and bandwidth are increasing, and thus, there is more available connectivity to the aircraft. Secondly, there are more satellites and coverage available globally. The result: connectivity is becoming the driver for seat solutions. Having said this, we must also note that IFE is anything but dead. It is our opinion that embedded IFE will always be installed on long-haul twin-aisle aircraft, as well as, some of the new, longer-range single-aisle aircraft coming down the pike.
  • Keep your eye on China! Future aircraft sales look to be strong in this Asian country and no doubt, they will prefer IFEC selections from companies that have Chinese manufacturing/distribution.
  • CyberSecurity is in its infancy in IFEC. This is a growing market and when the next hacking incident occurs in the back of the plane, it will get more exposure than any of us can image. On the ground, a recent hacker situation placed a Wi-Fi related virus that was spread by users moving to new ground-based networks. If this were to get on an IFEC system, passenger concern would be extreme since they might not be aware of the separation between the IFEC systems and the aircraft.
  • Consolidation is a big deal – We don’t know how long many of you have been in the IFE game, but if you harken back to the 1994 & 1995 timeframe, there were 7 large IFE vendors in the arena. The industry size did not bear that many players – simply put, there were far too many and the market scaled the number back to 3 or 4 big suppliers. Today, we are facing a similar issue with connectivity and satcom service providers. Yes, our industry has grown, and yes, there are large number of future aircraft deliveries forecast, as well as, a high number of potential retrofits, but the simple fact is there maybe too many players in the satcom/connectivity marketplace to make a successful business model for all. Therefore, we see mergers, buyouts, consolidation, and some departures, as well as, new technology changing the future for all of us.

People Update:

Here are a few people that IFExpress saw during last week’s exhibition that had either retired, changed companies, are consulting, or had left and then returned to the industry. Either way, it was great to see you all!

Brinder Bhatia – Retired

Lori Salazar – Independent business consultant

Paul Margis – Independent business consultant

Greg Fialcowitz – Independent business

John Guidon – Unknown

Lou Sharkey – Independent business consultant

Glen Latta – Now with GEE

Mike Moeller – Now with GEE

Earle Olson – Now with Airborne Wireless Network


Summary

We wanted to say a few words of thanks to our readers, advertising clients and the folks who make this business what it is – Thank you for taking the time to talk to IFExpress and share your stories. We would not be where we are without you. And a special thanks to the APEX team as organizing this kind of show is really work intensive – we feel your pain! Also, last week saw a deluge of press releases – far too many for a single issue of IFExpress; therefore, we will be releasing them over the next three editions. However, if you just can’t wait they are available on our website: www.airfax.com/blog. And lastly, we look forward to the next 25 years – Patricia Wiseman | Editor & Co-Founder, IFExpress & AIRFAX.com/blog

APEX 0415: Onboard Advertising

First up, at APEX 2017 in Long Beach, California.  On Monday, there is an educational session that you should attend in the afternoon for sure. It is an inflight advertising initiative and Michael Childers, the Inflight Ad Guru, will talk about the constraining technical and organizational issues surrounding the challenge of inflight advertising. Why are there issues on this subject? We asked Michael Childers about it and he told IFExpress about the need for this seminar. “This is a heads-up regarding an important initiative that we’re launching in the Technology Committee  that will establish the necessary specifications and guidelines that will enable IFE to become part of a global, cross-platform digital advertising ecosystem that opens IFE to ad buys from the major Madison Avenue buyers and agencies.” We pressed Michael for more information on what his presentation will be about and he said: “For ages, airlines have dreamed of advertising revenues paying for all of the costs of IFE, but that was never realistic. However, there is definitely an opportunity today for airlines to greatly improve the revenue potential of advertising on their IFE systems. How? By making IFE a part of the emerging global, cross-platform advertising ecosystem that integrates traditional broadcast advertising and cable and satellite advertising with Internet advertising, OTT (Amazon, Hulu, Netflix), and particularly the growing ‘out-of-home’ and ‘digital place-based’ advertising sectors.” 

If you are like many of our readers (or us for that matter), you probably thought that either the IFE advertising world was pretty well sorted out, or that like standard print media, you chose your space and you paid for the content – no big deal. But that would be wrong, noted Childers: “Traditional IFE content delivery doesn’t support dynamic ad placement, nor does it leverage the highly desirable demographics of airline passengers and their specific location and environment to personalize ads. But with APEX 0415 laying the groundwork, IFE now has a big opportunity to re-invent IFE ad delivery and significantly impact IFE ad revenues over the next few years. We will discuss this during the Content Track B3, “Content Delivery Ecosystem” on 25 September at EXPO, and again at APEX TECH on 23-24 January 2018 at the Sheraton. So, if you plan advertising, or you want to see the inflight advertising world you might not have pictured, this should be on your Monday agenda.” Michael has a few program plans and discussion answers that you should probably see and comment/contribute to. See you on Monday!


Some Booth Highlights

Thales
Booth: 213

Contact: Adam.KOSTECKI@us.thalesgroup.com

This year at APEX Expo, Thales is focused on the essential passenger engagement technologies – integrated connectivity and IFE.

Thales’ InFlyt 360 vision of passenger engagement takes the concepts of paired connectivity and IFE to a new level by combining those enablers with leading digital expertise. Together, these technologies create passenger profiles and tailored content for a more personalized passenger experience.

With its state-of-the-art AVANT IFE system this experience comes to life. Enabled by an open architecture platform for its evolving operating system, software environment, state of the art security and the capability to enable data-driven decisions, Thales’ best-in-class HD and 4K resolution displays bring a new brilliance to the passenger experience.

Bookended by connectivity, Thales’ offerings for seamless global and regional coverage provide the most for passengers with Global Xpress and FlytLIVETM – the most advanced and efficient aeronautical connectivity solution in the Americas region.

Lufthansa Systems
Booth: 453
Contactansgar.luebbehusen@lhsystems.com

Lufthansa Systems and group subsidiary Lufthansa Technik are sharing a stand for the first time. The two Lufthansa Group companies, who collaborate closely in providing on-board Internet and entertainment, are both presenting their own connectivity solutions. Lufthansa Systems will demonstrate the multi-award-winning BoardConnect wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) platform and its different hardware versions, while Lufthansa Technik will showcase its LConnect hardware and service package. The airline IT provider is also presenting its new mCabin/Messenger app, one of the apps of the mCabin Product Line.

Panasonic
Booth: 955

This year part of our focus will be on the “Internet of Me”

Similar to the “Internet of Things” concept, the “Internet of Me” takes all of the things that people care about and brings them together to deliver hyper-personalized and contextual experiences. We are the sum of all our things and the relationships in between.

Targeted advertisements based on browsing history, the “login with Facebook” capability on all of our favorite websites, and location-based services are just a few examples of digital experiences on the ground that are uniquely yours because of the “Internet of Me”.

We’ll also be looking at ways to automate Operations with services like ZeroTouch and our automated analytics services.

AXINOM
Booth: 135

You’re invited to visit Axinom at APEX in Long Beach at booth #135 to discover company’s latest technology advancements, enjoy product showcases and get their experts’ advice on any topic of your interest.

If you’re interested to learn more about how Axinom CDS enables a new digital flight experience and how you can benefit,  read this short article
and this  letter from AXINOM re their product offering

Rockwell Collins
Booth: 711

Rockwell Collins will be showcasing its suite of aircraft cabin and connectivity solutions at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Expo in Long Beach, Calif., Sept. 25-28. The company will have two separate exhibits, booth 419 and booth 711, that will feature demonstrations of its wireless connectivity and interior cabin products that are helping reimagine the air travel experience for both passengers and crew.

This marks the first APEX that Rockwell Collins will feature both cabin connectivity and interior systems products since the company acquired B/E Aerospace in April 2017.

“Our goal at APEX is to help airlines see the innovative options available to them that deliver a better passenger experience while improving cabin crew productivity,” said Alexis Hickox, head of business development, Commercial Aircraft Cabin Solutions for Rockwell Collins.  LINK TO FULL RELEASE

SkyLights
Booth: 566

On 26th September SkyLights will reveal its 2nd generation immersive-IFE solution at the Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) Expo in Long Beach. Be sure to stop by our booth and visit us!

SPAFAX
Booth: 619

  • Education Day:
    • Catch our own Andrea Whyte, Director of Commercial Content Strategy on the Content Track panel from 15:05-15:55 as she weighs in on how to make the most of your IFE investment.
    • Mary Rae Esposito, our Media Sales Director based in New York, leads a discussion on how to effectively monetize the passenger journey.
  • Where to find us:
    • Booth 619 – come say hello!
    • Join us for Happy Hour at our booth on Tuesday from 4 PM and Wednesday from 5 PM.
  • Education Day:
    • Catch our own Andrea Whyte, Director of Commercial Content Strategy on the Content Track panel from 15:05-15:55 as she weighs in on how to make the most of your IFE investment.
    • Mary Rae Esposito, our Media Sales Director based in New York, leads a discussion on how to effectively monetize the passenger journey.
  • Where to find us:
    • Booth 619 – come say hello!
    • Join us for Happy Hour at our booth on Tuesday from 4 PM and Wednesday from 5 PM. 

Note from the IFExpress Team: We expect this week’s APEX EXPO to be an innovative one with many new technological advances and product iterations. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in the coming days. Be certain to send us your press releases so we can cover your show highlights and we wish you all a successful and fun filled time in Long Beach.

  • First aircraft delivered to Southwest Airlines with Global Eagle Entertainment’s KU Band connectivity installed at Boeing factory

Long Beach, CA | September 25, 2017– Kontron, a leading global provider of embedded computing inflight entertainment and connectivity equipment, today announced the launch of Boeing 737 MAX line-fit deliveries in association with a one of its key customers, Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT).  Securing line-fit offerability from Boeing and Airbus is a strategic priority for Kontron, given the resulting efficiencies that can be offered to airlines in terms of cost savings and eliminating the need to take an aircraft out of service. Global Eagle recently announced that its Airconnect 3.0 inflight equipment is the first catalog-offerable line-fit connectivity system available for installation during assembly of the new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Kontron began working with Global Eagle in 2015 to obtain Boeing line-fit approval for Kontron’s Server Management Unit, Modem Data Unit and Cab-N-Connect™ wireless access point. These Kontron designed and manufactured Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) are enabling components of the Global Eagle Airconnect 3.0 inflight Wi-Fi system. Airconnect 3.0 provides KU Band connectivity, IPTV and wireless IFE services to passengers and crew, and is already proven on 865 aircraft around the world.

To obtain Boeing line-fit approval for the three LRUs, Kontron worked with Global Eagle to develop an extensive qualification test program to the Boeing specifications for 737 MAX cabin equipment. The test procedures were successfully executed on the three LRUs by the combined Global Eagle and Kontron teams, with Boeing representatives witnessing. The final qualification test report was generated by Kontron and approved by Global Eagle and Boeing.

“Kontron’s aviation product development strategy includes the concept of line-fit readiness,” said Andy Mason, vice president technology at Kontron America. “This means Boeing and Airbus OEM requirements are considered during the product design and preliminary qualification phase. Our due diligence in creating a qualification test program matched to strict aircraft cabin specifications is proving useful for the future. Kontron is actively pursuing Boeing and Airbus line-fit qualification for our new ACE Flight™ 4608 Server and other avionics products.”

 

“Our collaboration with Kontron adds best-in-class inflight connectivity and helps to remove the worry of aircraft downtime and revenue loss for retrofit installations,” said Per Norén, Global Eagle Senior Vice President, Aviation.

 

Kontron will showcase its extensive line of certified IFE&C open platform solutions at the 2017 APEX Expo in Long Beach, California, September 25-28in Kontron Booth #533. For more information on its avionics product portfolio, please visit: https://www.kontron.com/industries/avionics

Wednesday 20 September 2017 – Saudia and SITAONAIR are taking the inflight Wi-Fi experience for passengers to new heights by activating fresh functionalities for personalizing the onboard digital journey.

SITAONAIR has deployed its enhanced Internet ONAIR – an inflight Wi-Fi hub providing seamless inflight internet connectivity to airline passengers – aboard 76 Saudia aircraft flying to 34 destinations worldwide. It features a new, ‘world-first’ e-ticket solution, designed by SITAONAIR and Saudia, giving First and Business Class passengers access to free inflight Wi-Fi, simply by entering their e-ticket code into the portal.

Thanks to SITAONAIR’s expert integration of its Internet ONAIR service within Saudia’s customer relationship management (CRM) systems, the airline has been given full control and flexibility over creating special inflight connectivity offers for certain passenger demographics, such as frequent fliers, and for specific routes. It also means no codes need to be handled by Saudia or sent to passengers to receive their inflight Wi-Fi treat.

Saudia’s enhanced Internet ONAIR passenger experience also benefits from:
•    An augmented ‘look and feel’ for mobile users, with over 90% of all Wi-Fi sessions used on mobile devices
•    A new, ergonomic website design, with improved navigation and user interface
•    Faster speeds for registering, validating credit cards and starting Wi-Fi sessions
•    A powerful in-built ad server tool that harmonizes various advertising formats without spoiling the passenger experience.

As part of their commitment to continue providing a world-class passenger experience and pushing the boundaries of innovation, Saudia has also introduced the ability for passengers travelling on their IFC-enabled fleet to purchase Wi-Fi sessions during the initial booking phase through their passenger service system (PSS). SITAONAIR has worked in partnership with the airline and Amadeus on an Application Programming Interface (API) integration project to give passengers greater control over their inflight connectivity experience.

Director General Of Saudia, Engr. Saleh Al Jasser, says: “As an airline we recognize our passengers’ desire for seamless connectivity that speaks to them as an individual – it is at the core of our digital transformation vision. SITAONAIR’s flexible approach and digital harmonization mastery has enabled us to offer a more bespoke, enhanced Internet ONAIR experience, in full support of our innovative IFC strategy. This total enhancement has enabled us to reconfigure our Wi-Fi price plans for all our passengers, enabling us to offer the service for a lower cost.”

Dominique El Bez, VP of Strategy, SITAONAIR, says: “It has been a privilege to work with our customer Saudia to support their evolving connected aircraft reality and passenger experience goals. Our latest Internet ONAIR enhancements are delivering a next-level IFC experience for passengers through greater personalization and flexibility of service to both airlines and their passengers. Every SITAONAIR Internet ONAIR-activated airline can now benefit from our more ergonomic, mobile-friendly design and augmented user experience, and take that next step to achieving the brand-defining, individualized IFC experience passengers value.”

Internet ONAIR’s new integrated capabilities tap directly into demand from airline passengers for greater personalization in their onboard digital experience, as highlighted by SITA’s 2017 Passenger IT Trends Survey.

To discover SITAONAIR’s complete connected aircraft portfolio, and enquire about our solutions, speak to your local SITAONAIR contact or explore www.sitaonair.aero

IFExpress found a few data points on industry folks who will be at APEX. Check them out!

FTS Technologies Inc.
Booth: 665
Contact: Ben Fuller, Director of Sales for Americas.  Darrel Chua, General Manager of FTS (and Sales for Asia) – darrel@fts-aero.com

APEX Highlights: We will be demonstrating our latest Xstream Lite wireless streaming system, with new revenue-generating opportunities.  Will also be showing our FlightButler(tm) app for flight attendant’s smartwatch, and our Modman for Satellite Connectivity.

Come and have some fun with the FTS Superhero team at booth 665 !  (and get your own Superhero giveaway).

Latitude Aero
Booth: 411
Contact: Kelvin Boyette:, +1 336-676-3183.

Latitude Aero will be exhibiting in AIX Booth 2351, but will have seats on display on the APEX side in DDC’s (Pascall) booth, 411.

APEX Highlights: Latitude Aero is a FAA Part 145 Repair Station, specializing in aircraft seating refurbishment, upgrades, modifications, and repairs.  We look forward to meeting customer at both events.  Please stop by our booth at AIX, and definitely stop by Pascall’s booth to see our newest project, a prototype USB power system that will debut in our refurbished seats on their stand.  Latitude will have staff on both stands for the duration of the show.

Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems
Booth: 441
Contact: Dennis Markert (dennis.markert@astronics.com)

APEX Highlights: Astronics AES is looking forward to meeting with you at APEX Expo 2017.  We have several new, innovative products that we are excited to unveil.  Here is a preview of products and solutions that will be on display.

SIE
Booth: 902
Contact: John Courtright: +1-206-618-3128

APEX Highlights: SIE is a U.S. and European based engineering firm with AS9100C and ISO 9001 accreditation for Design, Engineering, Certification, Program Management, and Procurement of Aircraft Systems and Structures. Our specialty is the design, engineering, systems integration, certification (STC), and parts kitting for major IFEC installation programs for commercial, military, and VIP aircraft. Projects include  installation and certification for Ka/Ku-Band Satcom Systems and Cabin IFE and Interior Re-configurations on 737NG, 757, 777, MD-10, and A320 aircraft.  Customers include:  Southwest Airlines, Norwegian, IcelandAir, United Airlines, Honeywell, Global Eagle, Panasonic, and others.

VTMiltope
Booth:1211
Contact: Jeff.Drader@Miltope.com

APEX Highlights: VT Miltope is proud to be an APEX member exhibiting in Long Beach this year.  We are highlighting our upcoming Multi-Function Access Point 3 (MAP3) featuring:  faster WAVE 2, Enhanced CHT, an Embedded Server, and Cyber Security.  Please stop by VT Miltope booth 1211 to say hello and learn more about the remarkable MAP3.

Flightpath Labs
Booth: 949
Contact – Jackie Frimer <jackie@flightpath3d.com>

APEX Highlights: The Latest from our Flightpath Labs, FlightPath360 where passengers can take a virtual flight over a destination with panorama technology making you feel as if you are in the sky over major cities and destination. Jjoin us at our booth to see this full 360-degree immersive view of cities and destinations from the sky. It allows airlines to give passengers control of the viewing direction with stunning panoramic views to zoom, rotate or hover over wonders of the world. Book your appointment now for Booth #949 to see for yourself how we have transformed a simple inflight map into a powerful tool for passengers and airlines

And lastly, here is some show info that might help, APEX, IFSA, and AIX – Schedule | APEX EXPO

Gogo
Booth: 502
Contact: Meredith Payette <mpayette@gogoair.com>

Gogo is the Inflight Internet Company. We are the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation. We design and source innovative network solutions that connect aircraft to the Internet, and develop software and platforms that enable customizable solutions for and by our aviation partners. Once connected, we provide industry leading reliability around the world. Our mission is to help aviation go farther by making planes fly smarter, so our aviation partners perform better and their passengers travel happier. You can find Gogo’s products and services including Gogo 2Ku, our global satellite connectivity solution at Booth 502.

 


More News:

Lufthansa Systems
Passengers now expect the same level of connectivity in the air that they enjoy on the ground. This is why Lufthansa Systems is focusing on connectivity at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX) in Long Beach, California. Group subsidiary Lufthansa Technik is sharing a stand for the first time. The two Lufthansa Group companies, who collaborate closely in providing on-board Internet and entertainment, are both presenting their own connectivity solutions. Lufthansa Systems will demonstrate the multi-award-winning BoardConnect wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) platform and its different hardware versions, while Lufthansa Technik will showcase its LConnect hardware and service package. The airline IT provider is also presenting its new mCabin/Messenger app, one of the apps of the mCabin Product Line. Visit Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik from September 26 to 28 at APEX at stand #453.

Thales
Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) announces today the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire the US company Guavus, a pioneer in real-time Big Data analytics.The acquisition of Guavus follows several acquisitions in the fields of connectivity, mobility and cyber security, and strengthens Thales’s positioning in one of the key technologies at the heart of digital transformation, the processing and predictive analysis of “big data”, an increasingly critical factor in real-time decision-making.Airlines, satellite, air traffic control, metro or train operators, armed forces or security officials of large urban or energy infrastructures rely on Thales’s high technology solutions to take the best decisions in real time. In a world facing exponential growth in the volume of data coming from increasingly connected sensors, Guavus’s acquisition opens broad opportunities for Thales in areas including predictive maintenance, cyber security, monitoring of critical infrastructures, network and telecommunication systems optimization. Guavus, a leader in real-time big data processing and analytics, is perfectly suited to the growing needs of an increasingly connected global ecosystem. The company has built a recognized industrial “big data” platform particularly suited to real-time analytics, designed to be easily implemented across any number of new markets. In addition, by bringing the expertise of its 160 strong R&D engineering workforce, Guavus will significantly enrich Thales’s expertise in this field.

Gogo
Gogo Business Aviation (NASDAQ: GOGO), long recognized as the leading provider of broadband connectivity products and services for business aviation in North America, is expanding its reach to become a global provider with the announcement of a high throughput satellite service for business aviation. The new service will utilize Gogo’s existing Ku-band satellite network, the same trusted high capacity satellite network that is currently providing bandwidth for more than 550 commercial aviation aircraft across 10 airlines globally. Gogo is currently bringing additional HTS (high throughput satellite) capacity online as part of its global satellite network, which will boost the performance of both its new business aviation Ku solution and its commercial aviation network solutions. Service is expected to be available in the second half of 2018.

INMARSAT/Rockwell Collins
Inmarsat has signed a strategic agreement with Rockwell Collins, a leading provider of aviation and high-integrity solutions, for the global distribution of its next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) flightdeck connectivity solution. The agreement builds on a successful long-term strategic relationship between the two companies and will bring new levels of safety and operational efficiency to the aviation industry.

SITA
Airlines and airports are estimated to spend nearly US$33 billion on IT this year, according to the SITA 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights released today. And they are focusing their technology investments on similar priorities. Top of the agenda for CIOs at both airlines and airports, are investments in cyber security and cloud services. In addition, they are prioritizing investments in passenger self-service. SITA’s research of the world’s airlines and airports shows that IT spend remains strong. Airlines’ spend as a percentage of revenue will rise to an estimated 3.30% or US$24.3 billion[1] in 2017. For airports, the rise is to an expected 5.05% for this year or US$8.43 billion. Looking ahead to 2018 over 70% of airlines and 88% of airports are expecting IT spend to increase or remain at the same levels as today. As IT spend increases, both airlines and airports agree that the number one priority for their investments is cyber security. Nearly all of them – 95% of airlines and 96% of airports – plan to invest in major programs or R&D on cyber security initiatives over the next three years. This shows alignment across the industry on the importance of investing in this area.

Cloud services are another top investment priority with 95% of airlines and 85% of airports planning to invest over the next three years, continuing an upward trend that SITA has recorded since 2015. The third key area of investment that was highlighted by both airlines and airports is to provide extra self-service options to passengers.

Airlines are focusing on providing mobile services. Today the vast majority of airlines provide check-in (73%), boarding (70%) and flight status notifications (68%) via mobile and by 2020 more than 97% plan to do so. A key area of growth will be providing real-time flight updates over social media which will jump from 31% of airlines doing so to 92% in the next three years.

Providing a seamless experience is key to the airlines. In total, 94% rate streamlining services into a single app as a priority, with 58% rating this as a high priority. Mobile app capabilities and usability are developing quickly and an increasing number of airlines plan to use mobile as a customer service tool, including at times of disruption.

At airports, self-service processes at check-in, bag drop and boarding are increasingly popular with passengers and 89% of airports are investing in these processes. Airports operators have a keen focus on improving the journey through the terminal and are looking to new technologies such as the Internet of Things, beacons and sensors, to support their goals. SITA’s insights show that 80% are investing, or planning to invest, in these technologies over the next three years. Nearly three quarters, 74%, are investing in way-finding solutions and 68% in solutions to improve personalization for the passenger. SITA’s IT Trends are well established as the global benchmark research for the air transport industry. Senior IT executives at the top airlines and airports took part in the research earlier this year. The 2017 results once again provide a clear insight on the air transport industry’s IT strategic thinking and developments.

Black Swan
Today, Black Swan Data, one of Europe’s leading data science technology companies, has announced the appointment of Patrick Prefontaine as Chief Commercial Officer at Black Swan Avionics (BSA).

Patrick’s appointment is part of the ongoing growth of BSA and its innovative work, including delivering inflight solutions for the 2017 launch of LEVEL, the International Airlines Group’s (IAG) new long-haul, low cost airline brand. Working in partnership with IAG, Panasonic, VISA, Cybersource and First Data, on the launch of LEVEL, and in collaboration with visual design agency MASSIVE, BSA has delivered in-seat interactive technology, portal and app development, crew applications, data resource management in a fully holistic solution. The innovative Pair & Pay functionality is unique to LEVEL and the first in the airline industry. Patrick will be at APEX EXPO 2017 in Long Beach, CA, from 24th-28th September and is available for interviews and meetings.


OTHER

Meet with Kontron to learn how it’s certified IFE&C open platform solutions are key  enabling components in new KU Band connectivity applications

Long Beach, California | September 11, 2017– Kontron, a leading global provider of Embedded Computing Technology (ECT), is set to announce a new range of customer engagements and additions to its advanced hardware, software and services at the upcoming APEX Expo 2017. Kontron’s certified IFE&C open platform solutions are proven to help reduce the complexity and costs associated with developing next-generation “connected aircraft” applications.

We invite you to meet with Kontron to discover how its platforms and services streamline design, qualification and installation of new and line fit connectivity applications. Developers that work with Kontron, in turn, help airlines enhance the passenger experience with the latest technologies while reducing costs by saving time and operational expenses.

Booth highlights include:
• Kontron’s leading ACE Flight™ airborne server product line that includes the ACE Flight™ 4608, ACE Flight™ 4600, ACE Flight™ 4780 MODMAN, ACE Flight™ 904, ACE Flight™ 2600 and ACE Flight™ 1600 gateway router.
• Supporting next-generation HD video streaming, Kontron’s Cab-n-Connect A100 wireless access point (CWAP) features 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, WiNG 5™, and advanced AirDefense™ capabilities for best-in-class wireless security and asset tracking.
• Kontron Cabin Wi-Fi STC for ACE Flight™ and Cab-n-Connect A100 that includes a complete installation kit. Plus, avionics design services and support programs that help accelerate aircraft installations and certifications.

Where: APEX Expo, Long Beach, CA
When: September 25-28, 2017
Location: Kontron Booth #533

To schedule a pre-show briefing or an onsite meeting, please contact Annette Keller, 707-947-7232 or annettekeller@sbcglobal.net.

São Paulo, Brazil | 5 September 2017– Following hard on the heels of LABACE, the business aviation connectivity company Satcom Direct (SD) has become the first service provider to activate the Inmarsat Jet ConneX technology for a Brazilian registered executive aircraft. The privately owned Gulfstream G650, based in São Paulo, will begin using the service in September.

The activation of the Jet ConneX, Ka-band technology will enable passengers and crew to maximize high-speed data transfers to support a variety of functionality. Live video and TV streaming, WiFi internet capability across multiple personal devices, video conferencing, as well as voice and text services, will all be available, across the globe.
The always-on connectivity is provided through the on-board Satcom Direct Router, SDR™ which maximises the cabin’s connection to the Inmarsat Global Xpress satellite network. The SDR also facilitates the use of SD value-added technologies, providing increased control and functionality of the cabin Wi-Fi network.

“Jet ConneX means you’ll never miss a football match, an important email or a Facetime call from your family while in the air. We understand how important it is to have a reliable internet connection and following this, our first South American activation, we anticipate there will be more to follow as the region’s executive aviation market continues to develop.” said Ewerton Libanio, Managing Director of SD Brazil.

SD was one of the first companies to activate the Jet ConneX service for business aviation customers over the entire Global Xpress (GX) network in June 2016. Jet ConneX is the only globally available, high-speed internet solution available today for business jets.

IFExpress has a lot of news to cover this week, so let’s get underway!

Thales

On July 7, 2017, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted Thales a blanket license authorization for operation of its airborne terminals communicating with geostationary satellites; EchoStar XVII, EchoStar XIX, AMC-15 and AMC-16.

In only three months – from initial application to approval – the FCC granted Thales this license to use its terminals on all U.S. and non-U.S. registered aircraft anywhere in the network’s coverage footprint for all four satellites in operation. This 15-year license is a significant milestone for the launch of Thales’ FlytLIVE™ network.

And, it allows Thales to begin extensive network testing this year as initially projected, leading to commercial service availability in late 2017. In addition to other notable achievements, Thales is paving the way to conclude registrations with other regulatory administrations throughout the Americas region.

“This is a necessary step to launch service this year on our new FlytLIVE Ka-band network for the Americas,” according to Dominique Giannoni, the CEO of Thales InFlyt Experience. “This terminal will operate with all four satellites we have deployed in our network. The satellites, terminal, and network technologies are all converging to meet our program objectives.”

This is the latest development to the announcements made by Thales and SES earlier this year for a set of strategic agreements with Hughes to enhance the delivery of FlytLIVE which will provide increased capacity, coverage and redundancy over the Americas. In 2016, Thales announced its initial two agreements with SES. With these agreements, Thales will offer airlines the most efficient inflight connectivity experience and will add to its network the new SES-17 satellite – uniquely designed for Aeronautical Connectivity – to be launched in 2020.

Gogo

The connectivity provider  announced recently that its next generation modem has been introduced into commercial airline service. The proprietary features of the new modem will significantly increase throughput from the satellite to end users on the aircraft. The modem is capable of delivering more than 16x the throughput of Gogo’s existing modem, which offers plenty of room to support the increased capacity of next generation high-throughput satellites as they come online. The new modem includes dual channels to simultaneously support internet traffic and broadcast IPTV. It also features faster and more sophisticated processing that enables much shorter hand-offs from one satellite to the next“We are always looking at new innovations in each component of our connectivity solutions,” said Anand Chari, chief technology officer“This new modem greatly improves the performance of our industry leading 2Ku solution, as well as our Ku solution, and is forward compatible with new HTS satellite constellations. This modem helps us future proof our in-flight connectivity solutions.” The new modem will be retrofitted on more than 450 aircraft on which Gogo’s 2Ku or Ku systems are installed through an easy plug and play installation process. In addition, the 2Ku system installed on Gogo’s backlog of more than 1400 aircraft will include the new modem.

Panasonic

The company was selected by Air China to supply eX3 IFEC system for 10 A350s. Air China, the flag carrierand one of the major airlines of the People’s Republic of China, has selected inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions from Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) for its fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft. Under the terms of the agreement, Panasonic will provide its industry-leading eX3 inflight entertainment for 10 Air China A350 aircraft. The first of these aircraft will be delivered in December 2017. By selecting eX3, Air China will offer a unique passenger experience that includes audio and video on demand, a content library that can offer up to 300 movies, 200 TV shows, games, music, a moving map, and much more.

These A350 aircraft will also offer global connectivity services, which will allow Air China passengers to keep in touch with friends, families, co-workers and current events everywhere these aircraft fly. Panasonic operates connectivity service in 210 countries, including China.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We are honored to partner with Air China on its A350 program. Because the airline’s route structure includes very long flights to all seven continents, it needed an IFEC solution that would help keep passengers entertained and offer new opportunities for it to generate revenue.

“With eX3, Air China will offer its passengers a memorable experience that lets them watch movies and television, listen to music or connect to their favorite social media applications like WeChat. The reliability, performance and flexibility of eX3 and our connectivity service makes it an ideal choice for these aircraft.”

Inmarsat

Inmarsat, provider of global mobile satellite communications, unveils the results of its third annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey. The survey, which reflects the views of 9,000 airline passengers from 18 countries across the globe, reveals:

·  60% of passengers believe inflight connectivity is a necessity not a luxury

·  61% of passengers who have experienced good inflight Wi-Fi consider it more important than inflight entertainment when choosing an airline

·  44% of passengers would stop using their preferred airline in the next year if it offered poor quality inflight connectivity

·  61% agree that inflight Wi-Fi takes anxiety out of flying because they can stay in contact with people on the ground

· 66% of parents traveling with children said IFC is a “life saver”

Inflight broadband is changing the airline industry and revolutionizing passengers’ expectations of the onboard experience. That is the conclusion from the third annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey, published today by Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, in association with market research company GfK.

Overwhelmingly, passengers now expect the same levels of connectivity and access to online services whilst they are at 30,000 feet as they receive on the ground. As such, 60% of all passengers say that inflight Wi-Fi is now a necessity rather than a luxury. The majority (61%) of global passengers who have experienced high-quality inflight Wi-Fi rate it higher on their list of priorities than inflight entertainment when choosing an airline. With airlines in every market racing to install or upgrade their Wi-Fi offering, passengers will have a choice to opt for an airline that offers high-quality broadband, and will soon turn their back on airlines not offering this. Nearly half of respondents (44%) said they would stop using their preferred airline within the next year if it did not offer connectivity enabling them to stream or browse online without interruption. The ability to connect to personal devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets now sits within the top three considerations when choosing an airline, behind ticket price (53%) and flight slots (44%) for 40% of passengers who have experienced high-quality Wi-Fi. What’s more, the ability to remain online and work during a flight is greatly improving passenger experience, according to more than half (56%) of business travellers who have previously used inflight Wi-Fi.

The survey reflects the responses of 9,000 airline passengers from 18 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and North and Latin America, and is the largest global passenger survey of its kind.

Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “High-quality inflight Wi-Fi is changing the way people think about flying and how they spend their time in the air. Whether using the time to work, to connect with friends and family, or to pass time shopping or viewing entertainment, the availability of inflight broadband has become a major factor when choosing an airline.”

He continued: “The annual Inflight Connectivity Survey has become a barometer for passenger sentiment. This year’s survey reveals that 60% of passengers believe that inflight Wi-Fi is a necessity and no longer a luxury. This will only increase as more people experience inflight connectivity. It is clear the opportunity that connectivity presents to airlines cannot be underestimated.”

Global survey highlights

·    Two thirds (66%) of parents travelling with children said inflight Wi-Fi is a “life saver” when helping to keep children occupied during flights

·   Of passengers who have experienced high-quality inflight Wi-Fi: 61% say it is more important to them than onboard entertainment 45% would rather pay for Wi-Fi than use free onboard entertainment

·    56% of passengers say a lack of reliable inflight Wi-Fi is a major cause of frustration with plane journeys

·    61% agree that inflight Wi-Fi takes the anxiety out of flying because they can stay in contact with people on the ground

·    77% of passengers would pay for inflight connectivity on short haul leisure flights, an increase from 64% in 2016. Those happiest to pay are passengers aged 25-34, parents traveling with children and passengers traveling in Asia Pacific and the United States

·    89% of passengers are willing to pay for inflight connectivity on long haul leisure flights

·    Passengers have the highest expectations of connectivity in the Asia Pacific region, where 91% of passengers are willing to pay for Wi-Fi on a long haul flight

·    52% of passengers would take advantage of the ability to purchase items during a flight and collect them upon arrival at the airport, providing huge opportunities for inflight e-commerce

AIRBUS

Airbus has delivered its 100th A350 XWB, just some 30 months after the first delivery of the world’s most modern widebody aircraft in December 2014. The 100th aircraft delivered is an A350-900 for China Airlines.

“The 100th A350 XWB milestone comes as we reach our fastest widebody production ramp-up, on track to meet the target of 10 A350 deliveries per month by the end of 2018,” said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus COO and President Commercial Aircraft. “We are especially proud to deliver today’s aircraft to our long-standing customer China Airlines. The A350 is setting new standards for long haul air travel in terms of efficiency and comfort, thus being the perfect aircraft for China Airlines to expand its long-haul network.” To date the A350 has been delivered to 14 airlines worldwide and is flying with an outstanding operational reliability rate of 99%*. “This is a remarkable statistic at this early stage of the programme,” Fabrice Bregier adds.

The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. As the founding member of “Airspace by Airbus” cabin brand, the A350 XWB cabin provides passengers and crews the best in comfort, well-being and technology.

The A350-1000 is the new member of the A350 XWB family and benefits from its high level of commonality with the A350-900. Scheduled for Type Certification and first Customer delivery in the fourth quarter of 2017, the A350-1000 is currently performing an intensive and successful flight test campaign.

To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 847 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.


MORE

  • Latitude Aero is pleased to announce Neil Robinson as the new Director of Global Sales. “With over 20 years of aviation experience, Robinson possesses impressive leadership skills and a deep understanding of customer centric sales,” said Kelvin Boyette, Latitude Aero’s CEO. “He is highly experienced at business development, innovation, marketing, and consultative based selling across multiple verticals with a specific focus on commercial aviation,” Boyette added. “The bottom line is I am excited about him joining.  He brings a vast amount of experience in international sales, and will lead our global sales efforts and will be tasked with the development of our network of globally based sales professionals,” concluded Boyette.
  • Luo Gang has been appointed CEO of Airbus’ new innovation centre to be set up in China. A location will be announced at a later date. With a degree in electrical engineering from Tianjin University and an MBA from the London Business School, Gang spent nearly three years establishing Uber China’s business before it was acquired by Didi Chuxing in 2016. His experience in London with UK start-up Rangespan taught him how quickly technology can transform traditional businesses.
  • One reader wrote us: Maybe an article about SMPTE might be of interest to your readers among whom I conclude are Content Providers or IFE Video providers, etc. Does this subject have an interest for you? If so, you may want to register for the 2017 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition in Hollywood, CA October 23-26, 2017. Register here!
  • John Courtright noted possible future seating issues:  The key here will be to watch the industry responses, from airlines, seat supplier, and flyer’s rights’ groups, during the “Comment Period.  Comment Periods are supposed to open for view and I suspect that comments should start within 30 days of the deadline the judge set! This will be interesting” .  Judge Orders Review Of Airline Seat Sizes, Legroom « WCCO | CBS Minnesota  also Passenger rights group wins court victory in fight to keep airline seats from shrinking – LA Times
  • It looks like Boeing has a new organization that will produce avionics and other electronics. As we understand, the company is planning in the next decade to compete with the likes of Rockwell Collins and others. The goal is drive down costs and provide avionics in the vertical manufacturing process. Stay Tuned!

Lake Forest, CA | July 26, 2017–  Air China, the flag carrier and one of the major airlines of the People’s Republic of China, has selected inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions from Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) for its fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft.

Under the terms of the agreement, Panasonic will provide its industry-leading eX3 inflight entertainment for 10 Air China A350 aircraft. The first of these aircraft will be delivered in December 2017.

By selecting eX3, Air China will offer a unique passenger experience that includes audio and video on demand, a content library that can offer up to 300 movies, 200 TV shows, games, music, a moving map, and much more.

These A350 aircraft will also offer global connectivity services, which will allow Air China passengers to keep in touch with friends, families, co-workers and current events everywhere these aircraft fly. Panasonic operates connectivity service in 210 countries, including China.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We are honored to partner with Air China on its A350 program. Because the airline’s route structure includes very long flights to all seven continents, it needed an IFEC solution that would help keep passengers entertained and offer new opportunities for it to generate revenue.”

“With eX3, Air China will offer its passengers a memorable experience that lets them watch movies and television, listen to music or connect to their favorite social media applications like WeChat. The reliability, performance and flexibility of eX3 and our connectivity service makes it an ideal choice for these aircraft.”

Los Angeles, CA | July 20, 2017– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ:ENT) has won a new five-year contract with Norwegian Air Shuttle that aims to significantly improve the airline’s passenger experience through enhanced WiFi connectivity, live television, portal based content, services and support. The new agreement covers Norwegian Air Shuttle’s entire Boeing 737 New Generation fleet, more than 120 aircraft, until 2023.

“Our cooperation with Norwegian improves how its passengers experience the airline’s inflight entertainment service on board,” said Per Norén, Global Eagle Senior VP Aviation. “Norwegian is a world-class award-winning airline that is innovating in the aviation industry globally and how it approaches the passenger total travel experience. We are pleased to be part of their long-term plan.”

Norwegian Air Shuttle was the first airline to offer high-speed internet and live television on flights within Europe, and was the first airline in Europe to offer Video-on-Demand directly to a passenger’s own device.

Global Eagle initially signed an agreement with Norwegian in 2011 for 40 aircraft, and the two companies have worked closely since then on the passenger experience through the partnership. In 2015, Global Eagle launched live TV on

Norwegian’s Boeing 737NG aircraft. The new agreement includes the option for the airline to cover additional new-generation 737 aircraft for use on trans-Atlantic routes.

“We currently have Global Eagle passenger features on more than 100 Norwegian aircraft, and this agreement widens the scope of both the fleet size and products that the airline can offer on board,” Norén said.

Global Eagle also will be providing additional satellite bandwidth and network performance optimization under the new agreement, which better supports the passenger experience for free WiFi.

FTS

Perhaps you don’t remember FTS but they are an up-and-coming IFE supplier and we heard from its Chief Technical Officer, Rich Salter, about a new inflight Wi-Fi certification that they recently obtained, so we asked him what’s up? He told IFExpress: “This is the first of many certifications FTS has in the pipeline, and it’s always good to get the first one in the books – now we have a solid base of documentation and safety testing to build future certs on.” He went on: “Down the road you’ll see lots more technology rolling out, ranging from the Flight Butler flight attendant smart watch to satellite interfaces for Ku and Ka systems.  And the software apps are really starting to roll too, including on-board shopping for revenue generation.” So, we guess we should now show you the press release –

FTS announces EASA STC award for its Xstream Inflight WiFi streaming system on Airbus A320 Family of Aircraft

FTS, a fast rising provider of Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions, announces that its Xstream inflight WiFi streaming system has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for Airbus A320 family of aircraft.  This marks a major milestone in the product rollout and growth. FTS Xstream hardware qualification on Myanmar Airways International aircraft was achieved following multiple rigorous trials aboard an Airbus A319 test aircraft.  The certification validates the reliability and safety compliance of FTS onboard hardware in meeting stringent EASA standards and paves the way for the rollout of Xstream systems for global airlines.

The Xstream next generation inflight wireless entertainment and connectivity system is completely designed and manufactured in-house within FTS.  The system features a high performance 2-MCU embedded file server, 2 wireless access points that support the latest 802.11AC WiFi standard and a revolutionary 3G/4G cellular modem that takes up to 4 sim cards.  Passengers can connect to the onboard wireless network through their own mobile devices and enjoy streaming HD-quality video and audio entertainment, play single/multiplayer games, read latest news, view 2D/3D flight progress maps and indulge in shopping. “I am proud of the team’s achievement in attaining the EASA STC,” said Rich Salter, CTO of FTS based in the California, USA office. “Our software teams have also been hard at work to get the software platform ready for the commercial launch onboard, integrating ancillary revenue generating services and a payment processing gateway.  By next year, the Xstream product family will be further boosted with the addition of Ku and Ka HTS satellite connectivity and In-seat Wireless Smart Display solutions as our customers demand a viable product upgrade path with smooth transitions”.  FTS had previously announced launch airline customers in Asia and North America within the first year of the company’s operation.  In parallel with the EASA STC, FTS is also pursuing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) STC on Boeing aircraft models which is expected to be awarded in September 2017.  In April 2017, FTS added another feather in the cap by receiving a “ONE TO WATCH” award from Onboard Hospitality magazine for its FLIGHT BUTLER flight attendant smart watch application.

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) subsidiary AeroMobile today announced that it has added 100th aircraft to its 3.5G mobile network. With 60 percent of airlines now offering 3.5G inflight connectivity, users of the AeroMobile service grew by 57 percent between 4Q16 and 1Q17. The AeroMobile service allows passengers to use their own mobile devices to text, make calls, listen to voicemail and browse the internet while inflight. The service is easy to use with no onboard payment or registration; passengers simply turn on their mobile device to connect to the network and are billed directly by their mobile operator. Noted Kevin Rogers, AeroMobile CEO: “The milestone of 100 3.5G connected aircraft is testament to the continued airline adoption of the service and strong passenger demand. We have seen rapid growth in the 3.5G service and already 60 percent of our airline partners are rolling it out. In 2017 alone, 3.5G connected aircraft have already flown to 127 destinations in 65 countries.” The inflight 3.5G network is complementary to Panasonic’s global inflight connectivity service. It offers passengers a simple and elegant way to stay in touch with friends, family, co-workers and current events while in the air. It gives passengers the same connectivity options as they have on the ground, and when combined with inflight Wi-Fi, enables data speeds that are comparable to a terrestrial service.

(Editor’s Note: AeroMobile’s phone service is already in use on over 500 aircraft across 21 airlines worldwide including Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, Emirates, Etihad, EuroWings, EVA Air, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Kuwait Airways, Lufthansa, Malindo Air, Qatar Airways, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, SWISS, Turkish Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. We note: AeroMobile was the first to introduce mobile phone services in 2008 and now has over 350 roaming agreements in more than 150 countries. AeroMobile Communications Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, is a UK-based mobile service provider for the aviation industry. Their services enable airline passengers to use their own mobile phones for voice, texting and mobile data whilst inflight. As part of the Panasonic Group’s Global Communication Suite, AeroMobile’s services are available for installation either at the point of aircraft manufacture (line fit) or on aircraft in service (retrofit) across both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Since 2008, over 40 million passengers have successfully connected to the AeroMobile network inflight.)

GOGO

IFExpress recently came across another Gogo research efforts and we think our readers will find great value in it because it represents a “real world” view of todays travel and some of the important changes. Simply put, it answers the following questions very well:

  • Who are the travelers of tomorrow
  • Why their inflight preferences matter
  • Why being mobile is so important to future travelers
  • What expectations exist around inflight connectivity
  • What role personal devices play in flight

So, we contacted Gogo’s, SteveNolan, and he told IFExpress;

“To foster a deeper understanding of today’s flyers, the Gogo global insights team commissioned a comprehensive research study of travelers’ inflight habits and behaviors entitled Understanding the Global Traveler. Based on information gathered across six regions of the world, the study delivers an overview of current airline passenger preferences with a special focus on connectivity. Further, understanding the Global Traveler is part of the 2017 Gogo Global Traveler Research Series, a collection of reports on air passenger trends and preferences. The Series covers 15 countries and five continents, and includes data collected from more than 4,500 travelers who flew within the last year.” To learn more, visit gogoair.com/globaltraveler

SITA

Passenger satisfaction is higher during the airline journey when self-service technologies are used, particularly at bag tag and collection, and passport checkpoints. This is according to the 2017 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, a global survey released today by IT provider SITA and co-sponsored by Air Transport World. The survey shows that passengers rate their journey very highly with an overall satisfaction rate of 8.2 of out 10 but this is boosted even further when technologies such as mobile services and biometrics are used. Ilya Gutlin, President, Air Travel Solutions, SITA, said: “Passengers are increasingly comfortable with the use of technology in their everyday lives, and they are demanding more services as they appreciate the benefits technology can bring to their journey. Airports and airlines can take note that technology solutions can boost passenger satisfaction every step of the way.” In the global air transport industry, identity checks are a vital element of the passenger journey. SITA’s survey shows that technology, such as biometrics, can support security while offering a better passenger experience. Automated identity checks at passport control and boarding increases passenger satisfaction.

A total of 37% of travelers surveyed by SITA used automated ID control on their last flight. Of these, 55% said they had used biometrics at departure security, 33% for boarding and 12% for international arrivals. Looking forward, 57% of passengers said they would use biometrics for their next trip. Passengers who use biometrics are highly satisfied. In fact, they rated the experience 8.4, well above the ratings for face-to-face transactions at passport check (8) and boarding (8.2), demonstrating passenger acceptance of this secure technology to deliver a seamless journey.

Baggage collection is another area where technology is improving the passenger experience. Airlines and airports are helping to relieve the anxiety of waiting for bags to arrive by providing real-time information to passengers. On their last flight, more than half (58%) of passengers who checked in bags received real-time bag-collection information upon arrival. These passengers were happier than those who did not receive any information, rating their experience 8.4 out 10. Passengers are even more satisfied when they receive the information to their mobile devices. SITA’s survey shows that this bumped up satisfaction levels by an extra 10%.

Technology is also driving passenger satisfaction for baggage management earlier in the journey as more airlines and airports offer self-bag tagging. The use of this technology increased satisfaction to a rating of 8.4 out of 10. Nearly half (47%) of all passengers took advantage of a self-service tagging option on their most recent trip, which is a healthy increase from 31% in 2016. As more self-bag tag options are made available we can expect passenger satisfaction at this point of the journey to increase.

This year’s survey also highlights that as passengers become more familiar using technology during travel, the more likely they are to switch to newer, more efficient platforms. They are increasingly using smarter, mobile-enabled websites to book and check-in. Airline and airport apps, meanwhile, meet passengers’ desire for new services to help them better manage their journey. They want personalized information about their flight, their baggage and how to find their gate directly on their mobile device. The appetite for new services using technology is high: three quarters (74%) of passengers say they would definitely use flight and gate alerts pushed to their mobile devices; 57% would use airport wayfinding; and 57% would use biometrics to smooth identification each step of the way. Gutlin said: “Passengers aren’t deciding anymore whether they should use technology but which technology to use. They want to make each step of the journey as easy as possible. Tech adoption will be driven by both context and usability. For this reason, a clear focus on the end-users’ demands should shape the services airlines and airports offer.” This is the 12th edition of the SITA/ATW Passenger IT Trends Survey. It was conducted with more than 7,000 passengers from 17 countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa representing almost three-quarters of global passenger traffic.


MORE STUFF

BizJets

Don’t forget, The Business Aircraft show is on now and more than 90 aircraft on static display in Las Vegas. They also have a nearly sold-out indoor static display on the exhibit floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). In addition to the incredible static displays, they will also have over 1,100 other exhibitors showcasing every product and service Biz Aircraft could possibly need. July 10-11-12.

Blockchain

Don’t know what it is? Here is a fast definition from SpeedNews: Suffice to say that it is a huge, global distributed ledger or database running on many devices and open to anyone within the blockchain. In the Blockchain, information, or anything of value can be stored. Its purpose is to ensure a 100 percent secure, verifiable and traceable database protocol. And here is the story with an aviation focus.

ReOrgs

Airbus has completed it’s Commercial Aircraft reorganization and now has the four divisions as a single company – Commercial Aircraft, Helicopters, Space, and Defense. Further, Airbus now has one single corporate headquarters in Toulouse, home to the Company’s single largest industrial site, Commercial Aircraft. We should probably also note that Boeing has now reorganized along a similar line too – Commercial, Defense, Space, and Services.

Airplane Data Growth

And lastly, if you suspected that the data available from new planes has increased – give yourself a pat on the back! Check it out!

Newport Beach, California | July 6, 2017– FTS, a fast rising provider of Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions, announces that its Xstream™ inflight WiFi streaming system has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for Airbus A320 family of aircraft. This marks a major milestone in the product rollout and growth.

FTS Xstream™ hardware qualification on Myanmar Airways International aircraft was achieved following multiple rigorous trials aboard an Airbus A319 test aircraft. The certification validates the reliability and safety compliance of FTS onboard hardware in meeting stringent EASA standards and paves the way for the rollout of Xstream™ systems for global airlines.

The Xstream™ next generation inflight wireless entertainment and connectivity system is completely designed and manufactured in-house within FTS. The system features a high performance 2-MCU embedded file server, 2 wireless access points that support the latest 802.11AC WiFi standard and a revolutionary 3G/4G cellular modem that takes up to 4 sim cards. Passengers can connect to the onboard wireless network through their own mobile devices and enjoy streaming HD-quality video and audio entertainment, play single/multiplayer games, read latest news, view 2D/3D flight progress maps and indulge in shopping.

“I am proud of the team’s achievement in attaining the EASA STC,” said Rich Salter, CTO of FTS based in the California, USA office. “Our software teams have also been hard at work to get the software platform ready for the commercial launch onboard, integrating ancillary revenue generating services and a payment processing gateway. By next year, the Xstream™ product family will be further boosted with the addition of Ku and Ka HTS satellite connectivity and In-seat Wireless Smart Display solutions as our customers demand a viable product upgrade path with smooth transitions”.

FTS had previously announced launch airline customers in Asia and North America within the first year of the company’s operation. In parallel with the EASA STC, FTS is also pursuing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) STC on Boeing aircraft models which is expected to be awarded in September 2017. In April 2017, FTS added another feather in the cap by receiving a “ONE TO WATCH” award from Onboard Hospitality magazine for its FLIGHT BUTLER™ flight attendant smart watch application.

Lufthansa Technik’s Two-In-One-Solution (TIOS) type approved for Boeing Business Jet 3 (737-900ER) aircraft on Inmarsat’s advanced high-speed Jet ConneX broadband network

EBACE, Geneva, Switzerland | May 23, 2017– Inmarsat (ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that its next-generation Jet ConneX inflight wi-fi service is now available to a growing number of Boeing Business Jet customers worldwide using the advanced Lufthansa Technik Two-In-One Solution (TIOS) radome.

The TIOS radome, which connects to Jet ConneX using exclusive JetWave hardware produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell, was recently type approved for Boeing Business Jet 3 (based on the Boeing 737-900ER aircraft). In addition, it has already been approved for Boeing Business Jets 1 and 2, which are based on Boeing’s 737-700 and 737-800 aircraft respectively.

TIOS has been specifically developed by Lufthansa Technik to accommodate two antennas in one radome, using an innovative space-saving tail-mounted assembly that reduces drag and noise. Operators also benefit from reduced installation and operational costs.

Kurt Weidemeyer, Inmarsat’s Vice President of Business and General Aviation, said: “Boeing VVIP and corporate customers are globe trotters that need a consistent, reliable and global high-speed Wi-Fi solution now. Lufthansa Technik’s TIOS installation is faster and customers are eligible for the same data plans as fuselage mounted antenna installations. It’s a win-win, allowing Inmarsat to offer our next-generation Jet ConneX service to an even wider market.”

Dassault Falcon business jets to be equipped with first high-speed broadband Wi-Fi service to span the world

Geneva, Switzerland | May 21, 2017– Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced today that its high-speed broadband Wi-Fi system, designed to provide aircraft with Internet speeds similar to those in homes and offices is now an option for new Dassault Falcon business jets. The system can also be installed on planes already in service. Honeywell’s JetWave antennas and hardware enable Inmarsat’s high-speed Jet ConneX service. Once installed, the system allows Dassault fliers to enjoy video streaming and phone calls, music and movie downloads, access to private company networks, online shopping, and much more through one global network with significantly fewer signal drops than other connectivity services, even over oceans.

Based on a wider wireless frequency pipe than other global satellite networks, Honeywell’s system enables global Ka-band connection. Honeywell’s JetWave is now available as an option for installation aboard new Falcon 900LX, Falcon 7X, Falcon 8X, Falcon 5X business jets with initial delivery in mid-2017. For existing Dassault customers, Honeywell’s JetWave hardware is available for current installation on the Falcon 7X and Falcon 900 Series aircraft.

“We believe that the future of business aviation lies in global connectivity. Demand from our customers and operators for reliable, high-speed, global Wi-Fi is growing exponentially,” said Olivier Villa, executive vice president, Civil Aircraft, Dassault Aviation. “Honeywell’s JetWave hardware, combined with Jet ConneX service from Inmarsat, is just the right solution to meet this need. It is one of the best offerings on the market and ensures our customers the ultimate in onboard comfort and productivity.”

“With JetWave, Dassault operators and owners can now benefit from consistent, high-speed connectivity to browse the internet, stream videos and videoconference virtually anywhere in the world,” said Michael Edmonds, president, Services and Connectivity, Honeywell Aerospace. “As truly global high-speed connectivity becomes more accessible to business jet operators, they can connect their aircraft beyond the cabin, which will help them fly safer and more efficiently, ultimately increasing the passenger experience.” Kurt Weidemeyer, Inmarsat vice president of Business Aviation, said: “Jet ConneX is the only global, high-speed Wi-Fi service option for business jets, offering levels of speed and reliability that have not previously been available in the air. We are pleased to bring this unmatched technology to Dassault’s loyal customers, giving them the ability to work, enjoy entertainment and stay in touch with what’s happening on the ground.”