PANASONIC & THINKOM

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics)announced the launch of a new, next-generation Ku-band antenna, which will be developed in partnership with ThinKom Solutions, Inc.

The newly designed ThinAir® builds upon ThinKom’s flight proven, VICTS (Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub) technology. It will be offered by Panasonic Avionics to its airline customers for both line-fit and retrofit installations, with first deliveries occurring in 2023.

The antenna will connect aircraft with Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network of high-speed, high-bandwidth Ku-band satellites, which place capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

The new highly efficient and low-profile antenna offers airlines a wide range of advantages. These include support for both LEO (low earth orbit) and GEO (geostationary orbit) satellite networks, higher speed throughput, greater aerodynamic efficiency, gate-to-gate operations, and reduced operating costs.

Jeff Sare, Vice President of In-Flight Connectivity Solutions at Panasonic Avionics, said, “Panasonic is committed to delivering seamless, scalable, and future-proofed in-flight connectivity to our airline customers and their passengers. Our new antenna offering with ThinKom is an integral part of our network and will allow airlines to access both current and future satellite constellations.”
Panasonic Avionics offers global high-speed connectivity service everywhere commercial aircraft fly and has over 210 regulatory approvals across the globe. Its network consists of high-throughput (HTS) and extreme throughput (XTSTM) satellite technologies that provide the best end-user experience possible.

“This agreement with Panasonic Avionics is an important validation of our VICTS phased array antennas, which are designed to seamlessly roam on both LEO and GEO networks, delivering unparalleled flexibility and resiliency to ensure the highest level of bandwidth services and availability to airline customers,” stated Mark Silk, President of ThinKom Solutions, Inc.

“The combination of our VICTS technology and Panasonic Avionics’ experience and commitment to in-flight entertainment and connectivity provides an extremely compelling value proposition to commercial airlines, both today and in the future.”

Over 2,300 aircraft are now connected to Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network, which supports improved airline and passenger experiences including faster internet, video streaming and greater bandwidth for crew applications. Over 3,750 aircraft from various airline customers are currently committed to Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight connectivity services.


BLUEBOX WOW & QANTAS

Bluebox Wow wireless IFE to be deployed on all jet aircraft in QantasLink fleet

Travelers flying the network of cities and regional destinations across Australia served by QantasLink, the regional airline for the Qantas Group, can soon enjoy free wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) on board.
Bluebox Aviation Systems has been selected by QantasLink to deploy its Bluebox Wow W-IFE system on QantasLink’s fleet, initially on Airbus A320 aircraft, then expanding to its Fokker F100, Boeing 717, and Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. The Bluebox Wow system will enhance the regional airline’s service on board, providing entertainment content directly to passenger devices over a captive wireless network.
Bluebox Aviation Systems has been selected by QantasLink to deploy its Bluebox Wow W-IFE system on QantasLink’s fleet, initially on Airbus A320 aircraft, then expanding to its Fokker F100, Boeing 717, and Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. The Bluebox Wow system will enhance the regional airline’s service on board, providing entertainment content directly to passenger devices over a captive wireless network.
The IFE content will include movies, TV, audio books and podcasts. Access to the Bluebox Wow system will be integrated with the Qantas Entertainment app to help facilitate a seamless flight-to-flight IFE experience, but will also be available app-free with simple browser access for anyone who does not have the Qantas Entertainment app loaded on their device.
The Bluebox Wow aircraft-powered option will be deployed, which will also have fully-automated PA Pause functionality. This is provided and fitted via an EASA STC, recently awarded for the A320 Family aircraft and which will be modified for use on the other aircraft in QantasLink’s fleet.
“Recently receiving our STC on the Airbus A320 Family for our aircraft-powered version of Bluebox Wow system, and now being able to announce Qantas’ selection of Bluebox Wow for its QantasLink network, are two exciting and very positive milestones for us to mark as our industry begins to emerge from the global pandemic,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “It’s not insignificant either that we’re demonstrating that our W-IFE systems can replicate offerings of traditional aircraft avionics-based installed systems and proving the value of low-cost W-IFE systems across larger fleets. Just as Bluebox Wow expanded the market for IFE in its original battery-operated form, we’ll now see it capture more of the W-IFE market, given its lower cost of deployment and digital platform scope for everything from entertainment to touch-free retail and to even more as digital in-flight services develop.”
Bluebox Wow is a discrete, lunchbox-sized unit, typically stowed securely in overhead bins. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, it provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games, and other digital content. These services can be offered to passengers on a complimentary basis or paid for via payment card or voucher access with no cabin crew interaction required. Bluebox also offers onboard retail services, including the ability to order and pay for products and services via passenger devices with full inventory synchronization, in parallel to traditional sales from galley carts via cabin crew point-of-sale devices. In addition to onboard touch-free sales, Bluebox’s retail solutions also enable pre-paid (booking path) purchases.
With battery- and aircraft-powered versions of Bluebox Wow, the linefit option for Bluebox’s W-IFE platform available on Airbus OSP and retrofit on traditional avionics grade hardware, Bluebox’s range of hardware options for its digital in-flight platform ensures the greatest choice and flexibility are available to customers, especially those with different aircraft types and fleets of any size. This also means that Bluebox can deploy a consistent customer experience across a fleet – whether that be to provide more traditional entertainment content, offer food & beverage or retail sales on board or through the passenger journey, or deliver other innovative services designed to engage passengers and build customer loyalty as well as increase ancillary revenue.

BOEING

  • Aircraft Lessor Griffin Global Asset Management Orders Five Boeing 737-8 Jets
  • The Los Angeles- and Dublin-based aircraft leasing company places its first direct order with Boeing
  • With the Griffin order, customers have placed 529 gross orders for the 737 MAX family in 2021

Boeing and Griffin Global Asset Management announced the aircraft lessor is expanding its commercial aircraft portfolio with five new 737-8 jets. The purchase is Griffin’s first direct order with Boeing as it sees strategic opportunities to place the airplanes during the market recovery.

“As market conditions rebound, we are finding opportunities to serve our airline customers in innovative ways. An important component of this strategy is providing balanced capacity that meets returning passenger demand. The 737-8 is well-positioned to support this objective, and this order lays a strong foundation for more to come with Boeing and Griffin on future opportunities,” said Ryan McKenna, founder and CEO of Griffin.

Designed and built in Renton, Washington, the 737 MAX family delivers superior efficiency, flexibility and reliability while reducing fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes they replace. The 737-8 seats up to 189 passengers and can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Every 737 MAX features the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins.

“Griffin Global Asset Management is building a first-class aircraft leasing business, and we are delighted that they have selected the 737-8 for their single-aisle portfolio. As Griffin places its first direct order with Boeing, we welcome them to the 737 family and look forward to working with the team in the future,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing.

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity. Learn more at www.boeing.com .
Backed by Bain Capital Credit, Griffin provides commercial aircraft leasing and alternative asset management with offices in Dublin and Los Angeles. The team is staffed by experienced aviation professionals who work closely with airlines, aircraft manufacturers and investors to provide custom fleet solutions and innovative financing products to airlines around the world.

More Boeing News:

Boeing named Matt Welch as vice president of Investor Relations. Welch will succeed Maurita Sutedja, who has accepted an opportunity outside of Boeing following more than a decade of leadership within several finance roles at Boeing. Welch’s appointment is effective immediately.

Welch will lead Boeing’s interactions with the investment community, providing shareholders and financial analysts timely, accurate and transparent information on the company’s market environment, business, performance and outlook.

Welch is a seasoned leader with more than 20 years of deep financial experience across Boeing’s operations. Currently serving as vice president of Revenue Management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Welch has held several roles of increasing responsibility, including in Investor Relations; Financial Planning and Analysis; and program finance


OTHER NEWS

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) is enhancing its in-flight mobile connectivity offering through a strategic partnership with GigSky, a global mobility provider based in Silicon Valley, California.

The partnership between Panasonic Avionics, its subsidiary AeroMobile and GigSky enables any eSIM-equipped mobile phone user to enjoy their in-flight mobile connectivity service—regardless of network operator—on selected airlines and flights. By downloading the award-winning GigSky app prior to departure, passengers can effortlessly pay for and access a daily connectivity pass.

Kevin Rogers, Senior Director, Mobile Services at Panasonic Avionics, said, “Digital innovation is at the forefront of everything we do at Panasonic Avionics. Our collaboration with GigSky marks our first eSIM partnership and enables us to enhance and bring more choice to the passenger experience. With GigSky’s support of our mobile services platform, passengers can connect their mobile phones across the globe regardless of which network provider they are with, replicating on-the-ground integrated connectivity in the skies.

Ravi Rishy-Maharaj, Founder and CEO at GigSky, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Panasonic Avionics to bring a first of its kind service to airlines and passengers. Through the GigSky app, we now offer data services in the air, land and sea with our partners. With the addition of an inflight plan, customers can stay connected at their destination – and in between destinations – truly enabling an always-online, always-connected experience, anywhere they go.”


INMARSAT

  • Inmarsat ELERA will be a catalyst for the next wave of world-changing technologies and is ideally suited for the Internet of Things and the billions of devices that are being connected every year
  • Inmarsat ELERA builds on the company’s global leadership in L-band satellite services with breakthrough technologies that will deliver unparalleled L-band speeds and the smallest, low-cost user terminals, underpinned by Inmarsat’s record for reliability, resilience and availability
  • Inmarsat ELERA will help ensure the world works better for decades to come, by delivering vital services already trusted by businesses and governments worldwide to drive operational efficiency and effectiveness, while protecting people, assets, data and our environment
  • ELERA will be a key component of Inmarsat ORCHESTRA, a world first network that will combine GEO, LEO and 5G into one harmonious solution

In its second major announcement in two weeks, Inmarsat is unveiling Inmarsat ELERA; a global narrowband network that is ideally suited to the rapidly evolving world of the Internet of Things (IoT) and for global mobility customers, including aviation, maritime, governments and select enterprises.

“ELERA is perfectly suited to the needs of the connected IoT world,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO, Inmarsat. “Global reach, extraordinary resilience, faster speeds, smaller and lower cost terminals are all part of ensuring that we remain ahead of others in meeting the needs of our customers.”
“ELERA is a further sign of a company with true momentum and one that is delivering new innovations and strong performance,” continued Suri. “I expect that Inmarsat will grow strongly in 2021 compared to the previous year, and that growth will span most of our business units. Our progress was evident in the first half, where we saw strong growth in revenue and EBITDA and robust cash flow. We have sharpened our strategy to focus on driving growth, accelerate decision making, launch new innovations, and are creating a more commercially focused, customer-centric culture.”

ELERA builds on Inmarsat’s #1 position in Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) and will be a springboard for innovation, unlocking, accelerating and scaling pioneering use cases on land, at sea and in the air. Its foundation is Inmarsat’s world class L-band network and incorporates new innovations ranging from higher speeds to smaller, low cost terminals and [the previously announced] Inmarsat-6 satellites, the first of which (I-6 F1) is scheduled to launch before the end of the year.
Coming just 14 days after Inmarsat announced ORCHESTRA, the world’s first network to combine GEO, LEO and 5G into one harmonious global communications solution, ELERA underlines Inmarsat’s strategic focus on the global mobility segment of satellite communications. It is also a signal of a company with momentum, delivering major technological innovations and growth.

The unique capabilities of ELERA, combined with Inmarsat’s superior spectrum and the ideally suited orbital position of its satellite networks, will make it the essential catalyst for new IoT use cases, across everything from autonomous transport and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to industrial and agricultural IoT applications.

ELERA is built on Inmarsat’s market leading L-band network, which already delivers the world’s most reliable and flexible global connectivity service with unique resilience in all conditions and full global redundancy. It supports everything from worldwide maritime and aviation safety services and humanitarian missions to IoT applications across agritech, transportation and utilities, among many others.

The new innovations that the company is investing in to bring to market in the near future include spectrum management technology to deliver L-band speeds up to 1.7Mbps, the smallest footprint, low cost L-band terminal and two new L-band satellites, which are the largest and most sophisticated commercial communication satellites ever created.
The new spectrum management capabilities (known as Carrier Aggregation) being incorporated into the ELERA network will deliver the fastest speeds globally available to L-band customers, far outstripping the capabilities of any other worldwide L-band network.
Live customer trials in commercial aviation are scheduled to start during the course of 2022 and this technology will be rolled out across a range of sector specific applications for Inmarsat’s mobility, government and IoT customers over the coming few years.

ELERA will also see the creation of the smallest footprint, low cost terminal for L-band users, delivering the ideal framework for satcom IoT at scale, with supporting cloud-based management, for vertical sectors such as infrastructure, rail, logistics, mining, agriculture, government, maritime and aviation.

Inmarsat is launching two new satellites to enhance the ELERA network. The I-6 satellites, the first of which is scheduled to launch at the end of 2021, are the largest and most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built.

The L-band capacity on each I-6 satellite will be substantially greater than Inmarsat’s 4th generation spacecraft and, among other enhancements, they will deliver 50% more capacity per beam; meaning that much more data can be carried over the same geographical area, in addition to unlimited beam routing flexibility.

ELERA will also deliver a major extension to Inmarsat’s portfolio of voice-enabled devices, bringing new capabilities and innovations to hundreds of thousands of customers. This initiative represents our commitment to voice service innovation and underlines the company’s long-term commitment to the handheld voice services over satellite market.

“ELERA is the exciting vision of how Inmarsat is planning to transform the capabilities offered to IoT and mobility customers for years to come and confirms our long-term commitment to L-band services. We will be sharing further detail on these innovations with our partner community in the coming months and continue our programme of announcements as we achieve major milestones.” said Rajeev Suri, CEO, Inmarsat.
The investments in ELERA are already included in Inmarsat’s current CAPEX plans and guidance.


HAMBURG AVIATION

With climate change progressing, the measures that are currently planned by the aviation industry will be not enough. A new study by Hamburg-based Sustainable Aero Lab maps 40 promising startups in the new field of sustainable aviation.

The overview by Sustainable Aero Lab maps 40 promising startups, clustering sustainable aviation in four technological fields: Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), Electric Propulsion, Hydrogen, and the Digital Backbone. It also looks at global venture capital investment into zero emission tech, a field that has gained significant traction over the last six years, but so far has been shy to connect with the aviation sector, especially when it comes to complex segments such as hydrogen. Yet with a growing attention in all industries to act on climate change and reduce global CO2 emissions, the potential for new players in aviation technology has never been greater.

Sustainable Aero Lab is focused on accelerating startups and has been mentoring startups in each segment outlined in this study since its launch in February 2021. Some of the most prominent experts from all segments of aviation have already joined as mentors.

You can find the entire study by Sustainable Aero Lab, including the startup map and an analysis of venture capital investments into zero-emission tech, on the Lab’s website www.sustainable.aero.


OTHER NEWS

Editor’s Note: It is with much sadness that IFExpress reports the passing of long time IFE professional, Harry Gray. Harry worked in the inflight entertainment realm for 30 years and was the consummate professional, as well as, an extraordinary salesman. But most importantly, he was a great friend. Our hearts go out to the Gray family at this time. Rest in peace Harry, you will be sorely missed.

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) announced Singapore Airlines (SIA) as the launch customer for its new Marketplace digital eCommerce platform.

This latest digital solution from Panasonic Avionics enables airlines to introduce a turn-key eCommerce experience onboard. It facilitates in-flight food and beverage ordering, expands storefront retail and duty-free offerings with the ability to present dynamic inventory, and initiates promotions throughout the customer journey, in both connected and non-connected environments.
Marketplace will enable Singapore Airlines’ passengers to experience an omni-channel shopping experience, offered in partnership with the carrier and its KrisShop retail platform, that will be branded eShopping. By using Marketplace, the airline can customize its current retail offering and add future stores to deliver real-time inventory updates to KrisShop.

Panasonic Avionics’ eCommerce platform will enhance the shopping experience for Singapore Airlines’ passengers by enabling them to shop in-flight and browse a hugely expanded choice of around 4,000 products. They will have the choice of delivery directly to their homes or on their next flight.

As an integrated solution, Marketplace enables retail catalogs to be pre-loaded on to the airline’s in-flight entertainment content server. This allows passengers to continually browse regardless of the connectivity status at the time.

Singapore Airlines will roll out the platform across its fleet installed with Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight entertainment solutions and is the latest chapter in their longstanding partnership which first commenced in 1995.

Andrew Mohr, Vice President, Digital Solutions at Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “We are thrilled to launch our new Marketplace platform with our longstanding partner Singapore Airlines, whose dedication to pioneering the passenger experience reflects our own.”

“Marketplace marks our latest commitment to revolutionizing and revitalizing the in-flight experience with our growing portfolio of digital solutions, and is an integral part of our efforts to welcome passengers back to the skies.”

Panasonic Avionics has designed Marketplace to enable airlines to customize the passenger experience by route, cabin and destination. For example, different retailer catalogs can be assigned to specific routes and cabins to align the experience to the passenger demographic.

Marketplace incorporates a range of eCommerce analytics tools that enable airlines to continually measure and refine its performance to ensure it meets their passengers’ needs.

Mr. Yeoh Phee Teik, Senior Vice President Customer Experience, Singapore Airlines, said: “E-commerce is the future of shopping, and integrating this feature into our in-flight entertainment system is yet another industry first for SIA. This allows KrisWorld to go beyond movies, television shows, music, and games, and offer customers more of what they want while flying with us. This is part of our unwavering commitment to continuously innovate and enhance our product and service offerings, and augment the travel experience for our customers.”

More News From Panasonic:

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has launched the world’s first full cabin 4K ultra-high-definition in-flight entertainment (IFE) with Cathay Pacific Airways (Cathay Pacific).

Its market-leading 4K screens are taking to the skies on the airline’s new fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft, incorporating on-demand services with one of the largest movie and TV libraries available on a regional single-aisle aircraft.

The rollout of Panasonic Avionics’ screens will also include Bluetooth audio streaming, enabling Cathay Pacific’s passengers to watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters in 4K using their own Bluetooth-enabled headphones.

Panasonic Avionics’ integrated technology delivers the highest quality pixel density of any IFE screen in the skies today, enabling Cathay Pacific’s passengers to enjoy the latest films and box sets in stunning resolution, color depth and contrast.

The new IFE experience will be featured in all cabins on Cathay Pacific’s A321neo fleet. The airline’s economy class seats will feature 11.6-inch personal screens, while business class will feature 15.6-inch personal screens.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics said, “Cathay Pacific has been a strategic and highly valued airline customer of Panasonic Avionics for many years. We are thrilled to help them take their passenger experience to the next level with the introduction of 4K content using our NEXT IFE system.”

“We continue to work tirelessly to develop the highest quality resolution for our seatback screens, and the launch of 4K is the latest milestone in our 40-year long commitment to delivering the world’s best in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions to airlines and their passengers.”

The introduction of 4K IFE marks the latest chapter in Cathay Pacific’s longstanding partnership with Panasonic Avionics, which first commenced in 2007. In addition to introducing its Live Television service in 2016, Panasonic Avionics is the principal provider of in-flight entertainment systems for Cathay Pacific’s fleet of over 130 aircraft.

“We are excited with the launch of the most advanced in-flight entertainment system with our long-term partner, Panasonic Avionics, on our A321neo aircraft,” said Vivian Lo, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager Customer Experience and Design. “We’ve always aimed to provide our passengers a comparable entertainment experience as what they would find at home. With the large screens and 4K ultra-high-definition viewing experience, passengers may enjoy our curated premium 4K content with their personal Bluetooth wireless headphones. We are determined to continuously elevate our passengers’ travel experience, and today, we are marking a milestone with our new A321neo fleet.”

The new 4K screens are an integral part of Panasonic Avionics’ NEXT IFE Series, the industry’s most powerful in-flight entertainment system. Incorporating the latest advancements in aircraft architecture, NEXT delivers an augmented cinematic experience and simplified seat integration for every cabin class.

And More News:

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) announced China Eastern Airlines (China Eastern) as the launch customer in China for its in-flight Live Television service.

The service will be rolled out across its entire widebody fleet of Airbus A330, A350 and Boeing B777 and B787 aircraft in the future, initially providing their passengers with unmissable live coverage from major local broadcasters, such as CCTV and CGTN.

Live Television is enabled by Panasonic Avionics’ third-generation (Gen-3) communications network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites. The network covers over 99% of all routes, and places capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.

The most recent addition to the Gen-3 network is APSTAR 6D, Panasonic Avionics’ first extreme high throughput satellite, which has significantly boosted satellite capacity over China through teleports which have just gone live in Beijing. This will enable China Eastern, and other airlines based in China and flying over it, to benefit from this enhanced capacity and a range of other in-flight connectivity services.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “China is a strategically important market for Panasonic Avionics, and we are delighted to welcome China Eastern as the first airline in this market to launch our Live Television service. Their passengers can now stay up to date with global news and sporting events in-flight, taking advantage of the additional satellite capacity we have just invested in over China.”

Panasonic Avionics’ Live Television service offers premium live sports and news events as they unfold, connecting passengers to unmissable on-the-ground entertainment from the comfort of their seats. The integrated service enables passengers to watch their favorite national news channels. It broadcasts 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting passengers to over 16 hours of premium live content each day. Over 30 different global sports leagues, federations and unique events will be shown in 2021, including the Olympics Games Tokyo 2020 and UEFA Euro 2020 tournament.


ASTRONICS

  • Sales for the quarter were $111.2 million
  • Net loss was $8.1 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA* was $0.4 million
  • Bookings for the quarter continued sequential improvement to $126.3 million; Achieved book-to-bill ratio of 1.14
  • Aerospace segment book-to-bill of 1.32 for the quarter
  • Backlog increased 5% sequentially to $312.7 million

Peter J. Gundermann, the Company’s President and CEO, commented, “Our second quarter was one of slow but steady progress. Our core aerospace markets strengthened as vaccinations took hold and passenger traffic accelerated. We are encouraged by our bookings trend, especially in our Aerospace segment, where we achieved a book-to-bill ratio of 1.32 for the quarter. We expect these bookings will drive higher sales in the second half of 2021.”


THALES

  • Thales Partners with DAS in Fully Supporting Hong Kong International Airport’s Three-Runway System Expansion Project
  • Thales partners with DAS to provide an advanced Instrument Landing System (ILS) solution in fully supporting the Three-runway System (3RS) expansion project at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) helping to further improve the capacity and efficiency of aircraft landing while maintaining the highest standard of flight safety.
  • As one of the most trusted partners, Thales has been providing various critical air navigation service equipment to the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government for over 20 years.
  • Thales state-of-the-art ILS solution has already been implemented in various major international airports worldwide.

BOEING

Boeing announced a $500,000 (equivalent to IDR 7.2 billion) donation from the Boeing Charitable Trust to CARE in support of COVID-19 relief efforts in Indonesia. Funds will be used to increase capacity of local health centers, provide inflatable negative pressure tents and beds to accommodate COVID-19 patients, as well as personal protective equipment kits and food supplements for health care workers.

“Boeing stands by the people of Indonesia as the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread across the country, leaving families and communities in desperate need of assistance,” said Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing International. “We are in this fight against COVID-19 together, and Boeing is committed to helping communities respond to this most recent surge in cases. This donation will help save lives and support those impacted the most.”

“As the COVID-19 crisis grows in densely populated areas in Indonesia, CARE’s support to treatment facilities and isolation centers is more critical than ever,” said Bonaria Siahaan, CEO Yayasan CARE Peduli (CARE Indonesia). “We are grateful to our partners at Boeing for joining this enormous effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable communities.”

Only slightly more than 11% of the Indonesian population has been fully vaccinated against the virus. CARE is currently mobilizing response efforts that include converting health centers into treatment facilities and isolation centers; supporting communities with water and sanitation facilities; and providing nutritional support for vulnerable children under the age of 5. CARE is also ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region.

As part of the Boeing Gift Match program, the company will match dollar for dollar monetary donations made by Boeing employees to charitable organizations supporting COVID-19 relief in Indonesia. This will extend the reach of assistance being provided to the Indonesian people.

COVID-19 relief efforts in Indonesia align with Boeing’s ongoing commitment to the communities where Boeing employees live and work. Boeing’s presence in Indonesia spans more than 70 years. Over the past decade, Boeing has contributed more than $2.8 million in charitable giving in the country.


OTHER NEWS

AVIATION RECOVERY IMPACTED BY LACK OF GLOBAL SYNCHRONISATION, INDUSTRY LEADERS STATE DURING RECORD-BREAKING VIRTUAL BROADCAST

FlightPlan: C-Suite Week, hosted by Inmarsat and APEX, aired a series of ‘no holds barred’ discussions with the CEOs of Qatar Airways, AirAsia, United Airlines, TAP Air Portugal and IATA

Exclusive interviews were viewed by 6,500 viewers from 80 countries around the world, with thousands more expected to watch the videos on demand

26 JULY 2021: The biggest names in global aviation came together at FlightPlan: C-Suite Week for a series of exclusive ‘no holds barred’ interviews with leading BBC World News reporter Aaron Heslehurst, touching on the most immediate and pressing issues facing air travel in 2021.

The latest edition in the popular FlightPlan online broadcast, developed by Inmarsat Aviation and APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association), attracted a record-breaking audience of 6,500 from 80 countries worldwide last week, with thousands more expected to watch the videos on demand.

FlightPlan: C-Suite Week aired interviews on five consecutive days with:

  • Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways.
  • Tony Fernandes, CEO and Founder, AirAsia Group.
  • Scott Kirby, CEO, United Airlines and APEX/IFSA Board of Governors Chair.
  • Christine Ourmières-Widener, CEO, TAP Air Portugal.
  • Willie Walsh, Director General, IATA (and former CEO of IAG).

Several pertinent topics were debated during the daily ‘power hour’ broadcasts, including leadership lessons from the industry’s biggest ever crisis, how airline recovery has been stilted by a lack of global synchronization, and the importance of addressing sustainability challenges. The interviews also explored the ability of digitalization to accelerate profitable growth for airlines and meet evolving passenger needs.

Summarizing the event, Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “FlightPlan was launched by Inmarsat and APEX during the very onset of the global pandemic, bringing the global aviation industry together for much needed debates, discussions and direction at a time of great uncertainty.

“The response has been phenomenal, with a combined audience of approximately 17,000 for the first three editions, reinforcing its position as the industry’s biggest virtual broadcast. FlightPlan: C-Suite Week delivered insight into the difficult decisions faced by leaders over the past 18 months. It also uncovered many impressive future-facing initiatives underway – from sustainability to passenger experience – that will not only secure a strong recovery for airlines, but also ensure a bright future for the industry at large.”

Never waste a crisis

FlightPlan’s C-Suite line-up shared valuable leadership lessons from steering their aviation businesses through the COVID-19 travel crisis over the past 18 months. Al Baker shared his biggest learning for leaders: “there should always be a plan B and even sometimes a plan C of how to conduct your business in dire circumstances like the pandemic.”

For Kirby, a major learning has been the critical importance of customer experience. “Many of us in aviation have a new focus and commitment to change the customer experience. To use what we went through – the worst crisis in history – as a transformative moment to really make it better for customers,” he said. Kirby’s ambition is to turn flying into something passengers truly enjoy as part of the journey, “so that their vacation starts the moment they leave the house, instead of once they land at the other side”.

Unilateralism has stilted recovery

Across the board, the interviewees agreed that industry recovery has been stilted by unilateralism and a lack of global synchronization. For Fernandes, co-ordination between different governments “has been a failure… because every country has their own vaccine rules and entry requirements”. Lamenting the lack of standardised policies, he called for closer co-ordination between airlines and airports, noting: “we’re symbiotic; we need each other”.

Walsh echoed the challenges of a siloed international approach: “You would have expected the EU to have corralled everybody together and say, look, ‘we’ve got to demonstrate to everybody now that we are in this together’. That’s probably been the most disappointing thing for me. If we’ve struggled to see a political and a coordinated political response from the EU, I think we’ve no hope of expecting to see a coordinated political response globally.”

Sustainability in aviation

With climate change rapidly rising up the consumer, corporate and policy agenda, sustainability was highlighted as an urgent priority for the airline industry to ensure its right to operate in the future. As OurmieÌres-Widener told viewers: “Our contribution to the future of the climate is key.”

Walsh backed further political focus on environmental performance, noting: “The equipment that we have on aircraft today is so advanced and yet we’re still operating the way we were back in the 1960s. It’s a scandal on environmental grounds and is making our operations so much more inefficient than they could be.” He speculated, “Why isn’t it being done? Because there’s a lack of political will to address the issue.”

Kirby agreed that policies are needed to drive forward ambitious targets, but that “we have to be real about the art of the doable,” noting that Net Zero by 2035 would come at the expense of reliable power supplies. He shared insight on United’s efforts to invest in Boom aircraft that run on sustainable fuel – part of the airline’s commitment to reach Net Zero without carbon offsetting.

Qatar Airways is also underway with its sustainability drive, according to Al Baker, who said: “We are prepared to look after our environment, and this is why we are continuously investing in aeroplanes that are more fuel-efficient.” 

Readiness for digital transformation

OurmieÌres-Widener mused that while the crisis brought many challenges to the industry, it has also confirmed several trends – one being the huge opportunity for airlines that embrace digitiation. She said that the “full digital experience” is no longer just a buzzword, but a reality that airlines need to offer.

Digitization is well underway for AirAsia, too, with data sitting at the heart of Fernandes’ vision to make the brand more than just an airline. “We have much better customer data than Uber,” from credit card to loyalty information, Fernandes explained. His ambition is to make AirAsia “a travel company like Expedia,” encompassing services from currency to grocery delivery. “We’re trying to turn the AirAsia customer on the plane into a customer on the ground, keeping them with us before and after their flight,” he said.

To watch all interviews on demand, visit: flightplan.wavecast.io.


FLIGHTAWARE

FlightAware, the largest global provider of flight information and actionable aviation intelligence, announced the launch of Aviator, the ultimate flight tracking suite for piston airplane pilots and operators.

FlightAware’s Aviator is an inexpensive subscription-based software, accessible via the web and iOS. Any subscriber can register multiple aircraft, including rentals, and unlock indispensable features like Ready To Taxi™, Premium Weather and Map Layers, Surface Visualizations, FBO Scheduling, and ETAs automatically updated via FlightAware’s powerful machine predictive technology, Foresight™.

“Aviator was created by FlightAware pilots to share advanced flight tracking features with other piston airplane pilots. Over the years we’ve gone from flight tracking to becoming the central data hub for both the business and commercial aviation industries. With Aviator, we’re bringing a product with robust tools and processes developed for the most sophisticated flight departments and commercial airlines, right to the GA pilot.” said Daniel Baker, FlightAware CEO.

With Aviator family, friends, and FBOs can receive alerts from preflight and taxi out, through landing and taxi in.

Communications are coordinated as stakeholders stay informed. From surface visualizations displaying taxiing planes and surface movements to comprehensive airborne flight tracks, Aviator also provides monthly history reports for pilots and operators to review critical flight details.


MORGAN STANLEY

Airlines: Corporate Travel Survey 2H2021: US is leading the recovery

High number of Covid cases and slow lifting of travel bans have postponed the recovery of corporate travel budgets to post 2022. The shift of travel volume to virtual has stabilized at 27% by 2022 and is expected to be 19% by 2023. US travel is benefiting from a quicker corporate recovery vs EU and Asia.

We conducted an online survey of ~140 corporate travel managers between June 30-July 12, who represent over US$8B of typical annual travel spend. Around 67% are headquartered in the US, 19% in Europe, and 14% in Asia/Other, and their travel budgets are allocated relatively similarly. This survey is the fourth wave since the Covid pandemic started a stabilization, which we find interesting to track changes in trends as we return to normal.

Travel budgets recovery has slowed down, with the US leading the recovery. Travel budgets are expected to be down an average of 39.2% vs 2019 in 2H21 compared to the 57.3% drop seen in the 1H21. The pace of recovery will increase in 2022 with budgets expected to be down only 17.5% on average, which is 2pp worse than our previous survey in March. The US will lead the recovery as 17% of US based respondents replied that their 2H21 travel budgets would be increasing vs 2019, compared to 10% of Europeans and 0% of Asian/Other responders. In addition, while 62% of European responders expected cuts of greater than 50%, only 45% of US counterparts expected the same.

Passenger volumes continue to deteriorate, though expectations are for higher fare increases. Similar to travel budgets, our latest data suggests 2022 volumes vs 2019 will be down 21.1%, a 2.7pp decrease vs March. Once again Europe will be the laggard with 57% expecting a decline of 30-50% compared to just 25% of US respondents expecting the same. Expectations of air fares have improved, with 2.8% increases in 2022 (up 80bps vs March).

The shift to virtual meetings trend seems to be stabilizing. Despite some deterioration in corporate travel expectations for 2021/2022, the shift to virtual meetings in 2022 remains at 27% level, with 2023 expected to be 19%, on average.

Time and cost cited as key issues for switch to virtual, with environmental concerns higher in Europe. More efficient use of employee time and cost reductions were cited by 74% and 72% of respondents, respectively, as at least a top 3 reason for replacing travel with virtual options. Perhaps unsurprisingly, European companies considered environmental concerns as the most important reason to replace corporate travel. 25% of Europe based travel managers cited this as their number 1 reason compared to just 5% of US counterparts.

Conclusions for Europe: We think US based respondents’ more positive outlook for travel could be an indication of a faster recovery once restrictions ease. Nonetheless, we still do not anticipate corporate air travel in Europe to recover before 2023/2024, and higher environmental concerns on travel support our thesis. All in all, weaker demand and 27% convergence of travel into virtual events should negatively affect legacy carriers (Lufthansa, IAG and Air France-KLM, in that order) more than low cost carriers (easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz). We continue to prefer Ryanair and easyjet (OW), over Lufthansa and AF-KLM.

Conclusions for US Airlines: From a US perspective, it is encouraging to see the results lead the rest of the world given the higher pace of vaccinations and the growing momentum toward return to the office, which will likely lead corporate travel. We note that most airlines have already seen a notable pickup in corporate travel from -80% vs. 2019 in April to -60% in May and expected to be -40-45% in September.

Furtherrmore, the Airlines expect the momentum to continue to pick up in 3Q/4Q and their internal surveys show that permanent substitution of corporate travel will be as little as 5% (in DAL’s survey down from 8% a quarter ago) to zero (for UAL), vs. our ~20-25%. Perhaps all this tells us is that there is still significant uncertainty out there on how much the corporate tide will rise as we re-open and whether that will stop 20%, 10% or 0% below 2019 levels or even exceed 2019 levels. What is clear to us is that the initial rising tide (returning to 70-80% of normal corporate) is nowhere close to being priced into the US Airline stocks today (esp. Legacies like DAL and UAL) and none of this debate really impacts the investment decision on the LCC/ULCC stocks (JBLU, ALK, ALGT, ULCC, LUV) that have limited exposure to corporate. As a result, we continue to remain bullish on the US Airline stocks. We will closely watch the progression of the COVID variant but if we do not see incremental lockdowns or steps backward by Labor Day (Sept 7), we expect corporate travel to recover quickly after that.

“The U.S. will not lift international travel restrictions at this time due to the Covid-19 Delta variant. The U.S. announced earlier this week that it will not lift any existing travel restrictions “at this point” due to concerns over the highly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant and the rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases. According to a White House official, cases of Covid-19 are rising within the U.S., particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear “likely to continue to increase in the weeks ahead.” This comes a week after the Biden Administration said U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least August 21st, despite Canada announcing it will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated Americans beginning on August 9th. In early June, the Biden Administration formed expert working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the U.K. to determine how to best reopen international borders safely; however, the White House official stated that any decision to lift restrictions “has to be a sustainable decision” going forward. Although international travel restrictions remain in place for now, many U.S. airlines stated that the Delta variant has not had much of an impact on domestic leisure bookings. During an earnings conference call, UAL’s management said the company hadn’t seen “any impact at all on bookings” due to the Covid-19 Delta variant, and ALK’s management noted that they have seen “no slowing signs of demand,” but that they are continuing to watch trends carefully.”


BOEING

Boeing released its first Sustainability Report. In the report, the company shares its vision for the future of sustainable aerospace, establishes broad sustainability goals and highlights environmental, social and governance (ESG) progress in alignment with global sustainability standards.

“In September 2020, amidst a global pandemic, Boeing formed a Sustainability organization dedicated to advancing our ESG efforts across the enterprise. As we continue on this journey, we are pleased to publish our first comprehensive report, focused on stakeholder responsiveness and data transparency,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. “We know there’s still work to do and are committed to communicating our progress and holding ourselves accountable to ensure the aerospace industry is safe and sustainable for generations to come.”

Boeing’s sustainability efforts are organized around four key pillars: people, products and services, operations and communities. In 2020, highlights across these four pillars included:

Establishing six broad new sustainability goals in alignment with our key sustainability priorities and stakeholder interests.

Defining the company’s vision for the future of sustainable aerospace through fleet renewal, network operational efficiency, renewable energy and advanced technology.

Committing to deliver commercial airplanes capable of flying on 100% sustainable fuels by 2030.

Partnering with Etihad Airways on the 2020 ecoDemonstrator program, which tested sustainable technologies on one of the airline’s new 787-10 Dreamliners.

Implementing digital engineering tools on the T-7A Red Hawk program, achieving a 75% increase in first-time engineering quality and an 80% reduction in assembly hours.

Advancing flight tests for Cora, an all-electric, self-flying air taxi developed by Boeing and Kitty Hawk joint venture Wisk.

Responding to COVID-19 by executing airlift missions to transport supplies, providing community vaccination sites and minimizing air travel health risks through the Confident Travel Initiative.

Establishing a 20-member Racial Equity Task Force to represent diverse viewpoints and amplify all voices at Boeing.

Setting 2030 environmental performance goals to reduce emissions, waste, water use and energy consumption.

Achieving net-zero carbon emissions at work sites, while reducing energy consumption by 12%, water use by 23%, solid waste by 44% and hazardous waste by 34%.

Attaining the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award for Sustained Excellence every year since 2010.

Contributing $234 million in community giving, working with 13,400 community partners and volunteering 250,000 hours.

United Aviate Academy has selected Boeing to provide a comprehensive suite of training tools, materials and digital solutions to develop and provide early career training to United Airlines’ next generation of pilots. The companies commemorated the five-year training agreement with a ceremonial signing event at EAA AirVenture.

The comprehensive training package of courseware and multimedia materials spans Boeing’s portfolio of service offerings, including its Jeppesen and ForeFlight solutions, and provides United Aviate Academy with the tools to help cadets master key concepts and information needed to confidently and safely pilot aircraft.

“We are pleased to extend our long-term partnership with Boeing to help train the next generation of United pilots,” said Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations. “Boeing’s unique suite of tools and materials will help provide effective training for Aviate pilots who are working to meet future air travel demands and uphold United’s high standards of safety and excellence.”

The agreement includes:

  • Initial cadet assessment materials with accompanying online courses and e-books, supporting higher program completion rates through analytics of data-driven assessments
  • Jeppesen Academy courseware, textbooks and digital learning materials for private, instrument, commercial, multiengine and instructor training
  • The ForeFlight Mobile integrated flight app for pilots equipped with Jeppesen NavData®, electronic charts and Airway Manuals, a one-stop shop for flight tasks like routing flights, planning and filing flight plans, managing electronic charts and maps, and gathering destination and weather information
  • Pilot supplies including Bose headsets, computers, student flight bags, logbooks and more
  • GPS NavData for the United Aviate Academy fleet

“We are fully committed to providing United Aviate Academy—and all of our customers—with tailored, high-quality training solutions that enhance safety and meet the learning and development needs of pilots from all backgrounds,” said Chris Broom, vice president of Training Solutions, Boeing Global Services. “By leveraging our broad portfolio of solutions, we offer customers tremendous value in delivering efficient, effective training throughout the pilot training life cycle.”

Following the agreement signing, Boeing further demonstrated its support for the program and its commitment to diversity by presenting Delia Nina Nava with a scholarship to United Aviate Academy to join a future pilot training class. Nava is a Hispanic woman from Houston with a passion for aviation and aspirations of becoming an airline pilot. She is a graduate of Ross Shaw Sterling Aviation High School and a student at the University of Houston.

Boeing produced their first sustainability report this week and you can read it here: Boeing: 2021 Sustainability Report Interestingly, they want to deliver commercial planes flying on sustainable fuels by 2030. Here is another bit of data on the report: Boeing’s 1st Sustainability Report: Here’s What You Need To Know – Simple Flying


OTHER NEWS

  • A lot of folks have quotes but this one is really significant and important. Steve Jobs, a person we have forever respected, had a remark we think makes a lot of sense: “You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it is worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains!” (Editor’s Note: Also, we should probably mention that Robin Williams said something that means a lot to us as well: “Being a famous print journalist is like being the best-dressed woman on the radio.”)
  • If Boeing regressions have you wondering, you need to read this story because there are a number of downward changes that might be a clue to what is going on and what might happen! Boeing ($BA) News: Talent Loss to Amazon, SpaceX Hurts Turnaround Prospects – Bloomberg

NetForecast

In advance of a Department of Transportation proposal to mandate fee refunds when inflight Wi-Fi “doesn’t work,” NetForecast is launching a new service to independently and proactively monitor passenger Wi-Fi experience quality—enabling airlines to identify and correct Wi-Fi performance issues. The service, QMap® Inflight Internet Experience Monitoring, continuously measures the passenger Wi-Fi experience from personal electronic devices, and reports on end-to-end network experience quality in near real-time. The service notifies airlines when the passenger experience degrades below pre-determined thresholds, and locates problem areas along the network path within the aircraft Wi-Fi network, between the aircraft and the ground station, and beyond that to intermediate networks and network destinations.

End-to-end monitoring is important because the quality of a passenger’s Wi-Fi experience depends on the aggregated quality of service delivered by all elements along the network path. NetForecast’s QMap service is calibrated to reflect realistic performance expectations for each network technology (e.g., geosynchronous satellite, cellular, low earth orbit satellite, etc.).

According to Rebecca Wetzel, NetForecast President: “As members of the Airline Passenger Experience Association’s Connectivity Working Group, we collaborated with the industry to create a specification that provides guidance for measuring and assessing passenger inflight Wi-Fi experience quality. We are excited to put that industry guidance to work with our new QMap service to empower airlines to deliver the best possible experience to their Wi-Fi connected passengers.”

NetForecast is a privately held, woman-owned company headquartered in Charlottesville VA. It is an independent provider of internet performance measurement and data usage accuracy audit solutions. NetForecast customers provide Internet service to over 60 percent of US broadband Internet subscribers.


Bluebox

Bluebox Aviation Systems has been granted an Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the aircraft-powered version of its wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) system, Bluebox Wow. Issued by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to Design Organization Approval (DOA) holder Aerospace Engineering Solutions, the STC applies to all Airbus A320 Family aircraft. The STC was approved after testing was completed with a soon-to-be-announced customer in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The granting of this STC is an exciting and major milestone for us as we continue to sign up new airline customers eager to return to the business of delivering exceptional digital in-flight experiences to their passengers,” said James Macrae, CTO, Bluebox. “Our original version of Bluebox Wow, with its swappable battery system, has been a game-changer in the IFE market, introducing a cost-effective way to deploy IFE to airlines that might never have considered it before due to the high costs involved with installing fully embedded systems. But as the demand for W-IFE has grown – in conjunction with the development of our more powerful digital platforms that our customers can use for engaging their passengers and earning ancillary revenue – we’re attracting the interest of airlines with larger fleets. By utilizing aircraft power, Bluebox Wow devices can deliver the same digital IFE services without a battery present, eliminating the need for logistics management of batteries, and still offering a considerably lighter and lower-cost system than fully fitted W-IFE.”

Macrae continues: “The STC also includes automatic Pause on PA functionality that pauses playback in the event of announcements from the flight deck or cabin crew. Further, by removing the battery completely from this version of Bluebox Wow, we avoid the need for complicated battery/flight status logic and control and the possible risks involved with that – making it much easier to ensure our system is DO-178 compliant. It’s a simple and elegant approach.”

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games, and other digital content. These services can be offered to passengers on a complimentary basis or paid for via payment card or voucher access with no cabin crew interaction required. Bluebox also offers onboard retail services, including the ability to order and pay for products and services via passenger devices with full inventory synchronization, in parallel to traditional sales from galley carts via cabin crew point-of-sale devices. In addition to onboard touch-free sales, Bluebox’s retail solutions also enable pre-paid (booking path) purchases. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, lunchbox-sized unit, typically stowed securely in overhead bins.

With battery- and aircraft-powered versions of Bluebox Wow, the linefit option for Bluebox’s W-IFE platform available on Airbus OSP and retrofit on traditional avionics grade hardware, Bluebox’s range of hardware options for its digital in-flight platform ensures the greatest choice and flexibility are available to customers, especially those with different aircraft types and fleets of any size. This also means that Bluebox can deploy a consistent customer experience across a fleet – whether that be to provide more traditional entertainment content, offer food & beverage or retail sales on board or through the passenger journey, or deliver other innovative services designed to engage passengers and build customer loyalty as well as increase ancillary revenue.


GOGO

Cirrus Aircraft has selected Gogo Business Aviation’s  AVANCE L3 system to be installed as a factory option on new production G2+ Vision JetTM aircraft.

The G2+ Vision Jet is the first “Personal Jet” aircraft to add Gogo’s inflight connectivity service. Cirrus joins Gogo’s distinguished list of aircraft manufacturers that offer Gogo equipment from the factory, which includes all nine of the largest manufacturers of business aviation aircraft in the world.

“The need and desire to be connected in flight is not bound by aircraft size or aircraft mission – everyone who flies in their own aircraft deserves to have fast, reliable connectivity,” said Mark Sander, vice president of OEM sales for Gogo. “The AVANCE L3 is clearly the best solution for personal jet owners and operators who want, fast, reliable inflight connectivity on the most reliable network for aviation.”

Cirrus’s selection of the AVANCE L3 highlights the increasing desire for connectivity on aircraft of all sizes and mission types. The L3 delivers the power of the AVANCE platform in the lightest and smallest form factor available, enabling passengers and crew to be connected to email, browse the web, or access AVANCE L3’s other value-added features such as moving maps, news feeds, and flight information.

“Last year Gogo lowered its minimum service level from 10,000 feet AGL (above ground level) to 3,000 feet AGL which provides additional connectivity time to each flight,” Sander continued. “Today we’re seeing a trend where connectivity has become increasingly important on smaller aircraft such as light jets and turboprops.”

Launched in 2016, the Vision Jet defined a new category in aviation – the Personal JetTM – with its spacious pilot and passenger-friendly cabin featuring panoramic windows, reclining seats, comfortable legroom for five adults and two children and the only turbine aircraft with a whole airframe parachute system as standard equipment. The G2+ Vision Jet is a versatile single-engine jet capable of adapting to the unique needs of business and personal travel missions.


Boeing

Boeing, SkyNRG and SkyNRG Americas announced a partnership focused on scaling the availability and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) globally. Boeing will also invest in SkyNRG Americas’ SAF production project, for which Alaska Airlines is a previously announced partner.

“Sustainable aviation fuels are safe, proven and offer the greatest potential to reduce our industry’s carbon emissions in the near, medium and long term,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. “This partnership is an important milestone on our journey to decarbonize aerospace, while ensuring that its societal and economic benefits are available to people everywhere.”

Boeing, SkyNRG and SkyNRG Americas will work together to accelerate SAF development globally, focusing on scaling production capacity, building awareness and engaging stakeholders throughout the value chain, including airlines, governments and environmental organizations.

“We are extremely proud to take the longstanding Boeing-SkyNRG relationship to this new level. We have always been strong collaborators and through this teaming effort, we’re strengthening our relationship even further,” said Maarten van Dijk, Managing Director of SkyNRG.

As a leader in the SAF industry, SkyNRG sources and supplies SAF, develops production capacity, advises on policy decisions, manages corporate SAF programs and takes the high road on sustainability. SkyNRG Americas is a new company focused on growing SAF production in North America. Its first dedicated U.S. production facility for SAF will supply airports and airlines on the West Coast. Boeing’s investment in the project includes the advance purchase of SAF from this facility for use in company flight tests and other operations.

“We are thrilled to be in this partnership with Boeing and grateful for their leadership by providing an advance payment for SAF from our first facility. With this teaming agreement, SkyNRG Americas will be able to accelerate our efforts to expand the SAF industry throughout North America,” said John Plaza, CEO of SkyNRG Americas.

The partnership builds on Boeing’s long-term industry leadership and investment in SAF. The company began SAF test flights in 2008 and helped gain approval for commercial use in 2011. The Boeing ecoDemonstrator uses SAF for all flight test programs and completed the world’s first commercial airplane flight using 100% SAF in 2018. Earlier this year, Boeing committed that its commercial airplanes will be capable and certified to fly on 100% SAF by 2030.

“Our industry will need a strong, reliable supply of SAF to address climate change and drive adoption,” said Raymond. “We aspire to partner and help create that supply.”


Other News

  • If you are into AI or want to be, we strongly suggest subscribing to INSIDE AI. Here is last weekend, July 18 issue – Inside AI – July 18th, 2021

THALES

  • New line of Thales displays (4K high dynamic range HDR) enhanced with Samsung QLED technology to provide unrivaled picture quality plus a 50% increase in reliability and a 30% decrease in weight.
  • Smart power supply solutions designed with the passenger in mind, allocating power where they need it all while reducing weight and total cost of ownership.
  • New digital technologies to drive operational efficiency and to maximize passenger satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.
  • More than 30 leading airlines worldwide are equipped with the AVANT IFE system.
  • Optiq – 4K QLED HDR Displays

Developed in partnership with HARMAN, a Samsung Company, Optiq by Thales is the industry’s first line of intelligent 4K high dynamic range (HDR) displays enhanced with Samsung QLED proprietary technology. The new in-seat and cabin displays have a sleek passenger centric design focused on ergonomics and fits seamlessly into the modern cabin environment. Optiq provides passengers with the best experience in the air, with an unrivaled picture quality featuring more than one billion colors. Two Bluetooth connections and built-in Wi-Fi allows passengers to pair multiple devices simultaneously to the system. Airlines benefit from a significantly reduced total cost of ownership, thanks to a lower acquisition cost, 30% weight reduction, 50% increase in reliability, and improved durability and serviceability.

Pulse – Smart Power Management

Thales’ Pulse power solutions are designed to meet the specific power needs of passengers, now and in the future, as PED devices increasingly migrate to the USB Power Delivery standard. Pulse is a modular system built with smart power management that dynamically allocates power where the passengers need it. Pulse is highly efficient while being compact in size, providing a 30% weight reduction, lower heat dissipation and the ability to install Pulse between the seat beams. With more power, improved seat integration, and reduced acquisition and operational cost, Pulse provides substantial benefits to the passenger and the airline.

Digital Services – Unlocking the True Potential of IFE
AVANT’s open platform allows Thales to work with an extensive network of partners to develop and deploy new applications for airlines, offering passengers the latest features and a broad range of interactive entertainment options. Thales’s digital product portfolio features e-commerce capabilities with Airfree’s shopping platform, a multifaceted approach for delivering personalization, and an industry leading advertising platform.

Their Ready to Fly digital portfolio is designed to help airline customers restore passenger confidence in air travel in a post-pandemic world. Such as Thales’s “touchless” solutions, allowing passengers to safely control the inflight entertainment system with their mobile phones for a full IFE experience. Thales digital technologies provide airlines fresh opportunities to maximize passenger satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.

In another news story, Thales to acquire Moog navigation aids business.

  • Moog navigation aid offerings complement Thales’ family of navigation aids.
  • Upon acquisition closing, in addition to fixed navigation aids, Thales will gain “man-portable” technology, further supporting contingency air operations as well as evolving military mobility needs.
  • The post-acquisition integration will augment Thales U.S.-based engineering, industrial and technology capabilities.
  • Thales has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Moog ground-based navigation aids business located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

MOMENT

Moment announces a partnership with Air Cairo, amongst the largest hybrid and scheduled operation carriers in Egypt. The airline’s fleet will be equipped with the Flymingo box, Moment’s Wireless In-Flight Entertainment system, to elevate passenger experience and contribute to enhanced comfort in the cabin.

Established in 2003 and based in Cairo, the airline operates 7 aircrafts (Airbus A320-200 aircraft and Airbus A320-ceo & neo aircraft) and already contracted to add 3 more aircraft by the end of the year 2021 and are planning to reach 19 aircraft by the end of 2024, schedules flights to the Middle East and Europe, and serves 30 destinations. Affiliated with EGYPTAIR, the national carrier and second largest airline on the continent, Air Cairo is experiencing a new dynamic of expansion. The airline’s growth strategy includes the opening of new routes to West Africa, East Europe, Middle east, and Europe.

The airline has selected Moment to support its ambition with a cutting-edge digital entertainment service designed to enhance the customer experience while providing new opportunities to generate ancillary revenues in-flight. For Air Cairo, it was essential to offer a personalized digital traveler experience as an increasing number of passengers bring their smartphones or tablets aboard. The capacity to provide a global IFE service was a determining factor for Air Cairo. “We were on the lookout for a full-service IFE company that could support us in all aspects from provisioning the hardware, to creating an engaging IFE portal and sourcing a variety of content.” said Mr. Hussein Sherif, Chairman & CEO at Air Cairo.

As the most powerful W-IFE server on the market, with a capacity of 100 simultaneous streaming sessions, Moment’s Flymingo Box met Air Cairo expectations as the company was searching for both a powerful and compact W-IFE device. The seamless, multi-DRM and browser-based platform gives passengers the opportunity to choose entertainment programs from an international and Arabic catalogue of films, documentaries or podcasts.


GOGO

Gogo has installed the first two 5G antennas on a tower. With the antennas now installed, the company will conduct prototype testing of system performance. Gogo completed development of its 5G air card prototypes and recently completed coast-to-coast flight testing of its 5G belly-mounted antennas to validate their performance. Additionally, Gogo conducted a flight test and successfully established a connection between the 5G antennas on the aircraft and the 5G antennas on the ground tower. Gogo has also successfully performed an end-to-end call using a 5G SIM card, from the onboard equipment to the cell site, through the data center to the internet, and back. The Gogo 5G network is being designed for aircraft operating within the contiguous United States. Gogo, which has 349 patents in its portfolio, expects the nationwide 5G network to be available in the second half of 2022.


SMARTSKY

The folks at SmartSky Networks have selected Honeywell as an authorized reseller of its air-to-ground connectivity services for North American business aviation operators. Since 2019, Honeywell has had the commercial aviation market there as well.


AIRBUS

United Airlines placed an order for 70 Airbus A321neo aircraft, positioning the airline to grow its presence in the single-aisle market in alignment with its “United Next” initiative. The new order complements existing orders from United for 50 A321XLR aircraft, bringing the total commitment from the airline to 120 A321 aircraft.
“Such a significant order from a great airline like United underscores that the A321neo offers unmatched capabilities, operating economics, and passenger friendliness,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International. “No other aircraft can do what the A321neo can do, and the Airbus team is most gratified by United’s strong affirmation of its premium status. The A321neo will complement United’s future A321XLR aircraft, together creating a privileged segment on its own.”

Another reason the A321neo is in such high demand globally is that the aircraft provides superior environmental performance with the lowest CO₂ emissions per seat in its class. The A321neo’s lower carbon footprint will support United along its journey to reduce the airline’s CO₂ emissions 100% by 2050.

United’s A321neo aircraft will feature Airbus’ Airspace cabin design, which brings the following passenger-pleasing enhancements: unique welcome and customizable hero lighting (which helps reduce jet lag); new slimmer sidewall panels for extra personal space at shoulder level; better views through the windows with their redesigned bezels and completely integrated window shades; the latest full LED lighting technologies; the largest overhead bin in class; and new lavatories with hygienic touchless features and antimicrobial surfaces.

A significant number of the newly-ordered aircraft will be produced at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama. Globally, as of the end of May 2021, the A320neo Family had achieved 7,400 firm orders from 121 customers.


BOEING

Boeing and United Airlines announced the carrier will expand its 737 order book by purchasing an additional 200 737 MAX jets, including 150 for the largest member of the family, the 737-10, and 50 for the airplane that serves the heart of the single-aisle market, the 737-8. The new purchase positions United’s fleet for growth and accelerating demand for air travel.

The purchase increases United’s order book for the fuel-efficient, single-aisle family to 380 airplanes, including 30 that have been delivered. As the launch customer for the 737-10, United placed its first order in 2017 by converting 100 737-9 orders to the larger 737-10 variant. Today’s agreement also includes the purchase of Boeing 737 MAX training simulator data packages to support United’s pilot training programs.

Designed and built in Renton, Washington, the 737 MAX family delivers superior efficiency, flexibility and reliability while reducing fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes it replaces. The 737-8 seats up to 189 passengers and can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers.

The largest model in the family, the 737-10 seats up to 230 passengers in a single-class configuration and can fly up to 3,300 miles. The fuel-efficient jet can cover 99% of single-aisle routes, including routes served by 757s.

“We are truly humbled by United Airlines’ confidence in the people of Boeing and the airplanes we design and build every day. Our strong partnership, dating back to United’s founding, has helped us grow and weather challenges through the decades. As we look forward to the recovery ahead, we are honored that United has once again chosen the 737 family’s performance, efficiency and flexibility to power their growing network. The Boeing team is excited to be building hundreds of these new jets for United and delivering on a landmark agreement that solidifies our future together for the next decades,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.


VISION-BOX

Vision-Box, a world leader in biometrics seamless travel, automated border control and digital identity solutions has announced the launch of a Frontex awarded trial to implement an innovative pilot project at two land borders in Bulgaria, in the context of the EU Entry/Exit System (EES). The EES is a landmark framework set to replace traditional border controls of Third-Country Nationals with interoperable digital data processing and automated biometric data collection in 2022. The Frontex pilot, which went live in June 2021 in Bulgaria in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and the Border Police will be for coaches, cars and pedestrians at entry of Kapitan Andreevo BCP from Turkey for phase 1, and exit at Kalotina BCP to Serbia for phase 2.

The implementation of the EES will influence the flow of travelers and the technology deployed at the border to collect the required data, in order to cope with the variety of sites and related complexities. This effect will possibly be more important at the EU land border crossings, which are more constrained environments as compared with airports and ports, as many travelers arrive in their vehicles. Therefore, the introduction of EES will have a significant impact on travelers’ flow at those border crossing points (BCP).

The purpose of the pilot project is to deliver a Self-Service Enrolment System to enable travelers to perform a self-service collection of travel document data, biometric data and other information (e.g., questionnaire on entry conditions). It also executes real-time intensive queries into the Bulgarian national border control systems, in combination with an EU EES backend simulator. After the Enrolment, travelers are invited to go to an open corridor and be identified On-the-Move to directly cross the Border, or to be redirected to the manual control booth to be verified by a border guard with last generation Coppernic handheld technology. The secured linkage and encrypted communications with the national and EU border control systems, performing border checks on all travellers and EES registration/verification on third country nationals, is jointly performed by Vision-Box and the respective border agencies.

The EES Frontex pilot applies to short stay visa and visa-exempt third country nationals as well as EU citizens entering or leaving the European Union.

The pilot ecosystem (enrolment kiosks, biometric corridor, handheld tablets) is powered by Vision-Box’s award-winning Orchestra™ Identity & Border Management Platform. Orchestra™ removes the time-consuming task of manual data collection and verification, meaning that travelers do not need to physically interact with touchpoints or manually exchange travel documents and biometrics at counters. The whole process leverages identity and biometrics’ tokenization to digitize the operation in a touchless manner. This also reduces long queuing at checkpoints and curtails crowding at clearance hotspots, allowing travellers to navigate the border a lot quicker and safely with biometric recognition technology. Facial recognition biometrics offers the highest level of convenience for traveller identity proofing, in compliance with the EU regulations, combined with touchless fingerprint sensors for combined verification against the EU EES biometric backend systems. The solution drives significant improvements over traditional manual and touch-based identification procedures in terms of hygiene, accuracy, and privacy protections.

The powerful Orchestra™ Service Platform is compliant with EU GDPR regulations through its unique Privacy-by-Design certification. It operates under user-centric business rules and is the kernel of the advanced management of Identity proofing and Flow Monitoring of traveler processes at the border. The platform’s powerful capability allows it to process the full extent of national border passenger volume, thanks to its future-proof scalable design and resilient architecture.

For this pilot delivery, Vision-Box has hired the services of PwC Luxembourg, in order to help sustain the definition of the use cases, their testing, and overall pilot reporting. In addition, Bulgarian system integrator – Global Sat, is supporting Vision-Box in the deployment of the solution on the ground and its maintenance during the overall 6 months’ operation of the two pilot phases at the two different land borders.

With the industry expected to resume travel as restrictions begin to ease, Vision-Box’s technology is proving crucial in guaranteeing a safe and efficient travel processes. Over the past months, Vision-Box has also inaugurated Automated Border Control eGates at Malta International Airport in collaboration with the Malta Police Force, implemented an integrated Biometric experience for Emirates Airline at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport, and secured a regional strategic partnership with AirAsia Group, to implement industry leading, identity management technology across its network of 152 airports.


OTHER NEWS

European Aviation Network

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a milestone decision answering a set of questions referred to the ECJ in proceedings initiated by Eutelsat (and supported by Viasat) regarding Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN). The decision rejects the arguments of Inmarsat’s competitors, which have been trying for years to deprive European consumers of the pro-competitive, innovative and efficient EAN service offering.

Inmarsat operates EAN with Deutsche Telekom and has always known that its EAN platform complies with applicable EU rules.

Brad Swann, Inmarsat General Counsel, said: “Inmarsat welcomes the ruling of the European Court of Justice rejecting our competitors’ arguments aimed at limiting the operation of the European Aviation Network. EAN is an asset for Europe as a whole and it is proving very popular with passengers and airlines. Inmarsat looks forward to continuing to provide the rapidly growing number of EAN users with a world-leading in-flight connectivity experience.”

This decision by the ECJ is final and binding.

Inmarsat has always known that the allegations made by its competitors were entirely without merit and fundamentally misconceived. The legal actions by Inmarsat’s competitors were filed with the sole intention of artificially creating legal and regulatory uncertainty around EAN. The claims of Inmarsat’s competitors have been rejected by all national administrations in the 27 EU Member States and in the UK. Legal actions have also been rejected by courts in the countries where litigation was initiated by either Viasat or Eutelsat, including the UK (including on appeal, now final and binding), Germany and Belgium, as well as in not less than four other earlier decisions of the Court of Justice of the EU (three by the General Court and another one of the Court of Justice).

EAN is an award-winning inflight broadband solution based on outstanding technological innovation developed by European businesses, which has taken years of hard work and commitment by Inmarsat, Deutsche Telekom and a range of European technology partners to deliver. It is providing high quality connectivity services to thousands of passengers on hundreds of flights across Europe. The successful operation and roll-out continues and over the coming months thousands more European airline passengers will be able to experience a world-class cabin Wi-Fi service.


Gogo

Jet Edge, a leader in full-service private aviation, is proud to announce a new partnership with Gogo Business Aviation, the industry’s top inflight internet provider. The long-term partnership will upgrade Jet Edge’s AdvantEdge and Managed super-mid and large cabin fleet to AVANCE L5, Gogo’s most popular connectivity system that delivers a robust inflight 4G Wi-Fi experience.
Jet Edge offers the most extensive and elevated selection of point-to-point super-mid Bombardier Challenger and large cabin Gulfstream aircraft in the United States, and will have the first-ever fleet to be entirely equipped with Gogo AVANCE L5. The conversion is slated for final completion by end of Q3-2021. The commitment to an all-AVANCE L5 Charter fleet has already begun, with over 20 aircraft now equipped with Gogo’s 4G Wi-Fi connectivity. Gogo’s advanced system enables the use of popular streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu, video conferencing, and on-demand movie viewing. Passengers are able to access high-speed internet for web browsing on their personal smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Real-time data for cockpit apps, and remote diagnostics and support are also available.


Boeing

Boeing and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) announced the aircraft lessor is growing its 737 MAX portfolio with an order for 15 737-8 jets. DAE had been investing in the 737 MAX by buying jets from existing customers and leasing them back to the carriers. The new order is DAE’s first direct 737 MAX purchase from Boeing as it modernizes its portfolio for better economic and environmental performance.

The order will appear on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once finalized.

Firoz Tarapore, Chief Executive Officer of DAE, said: “We are delighted to deepen our already strong relationship with Boeing. Including this order, we own and manage 162 Boeing aircraft. An increasing number of global aviation regulators are returning the MAX to the skies. We are confident in the success of these aircraft as domestic and regional air travel are seeing strong signs of recovery.”

The new purchase is DAE’s second investment in the 737 MAX in the past year. In the third quarter of 2020, the lessor signed an agreement with American Airlines to purchase and lease back 18 new 737-8 airplanes. Since the agreement, the lessor has delivered 17 of the jets to the U.S. carrier. DAE previously completed a similar purchase-leaseback deal with Brazilian carrier GOL for five 737-8s.

“DAE has been instrumental in helping its customers realize the operating economics and environmental performance of the 737-8. We are delighted that they have come back to add more 737 aircraft to its growth plan as it positions itself for the recovery in commercial passenger traffic,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. “We are honored by DAE’s trust in the 737 family and we look forward to partnering with them to serve the fleet requirements of airlines around the world.”

The 737-8 is a member of the 737 MAX family which is designed to offer more fuel efficiency, reliability and flexibility in the single-aisle market. The airplane can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Compared to the airplanes it replaces, the 737-8 also delivers superior efficiency, using 16% less fuel and significantly reducing CO2 emissions and operating costs.

Also From Boeing:

Boeing projects global and diversified funding will continue to flow into the aircraft financing sector as the aviation sector navigates the global pandemic and vaccine deployment continues to accelerate.

“Financiers and investors understand the industry’s resilience and the long-term fundamentals that make aircraft a valuable asset class,” said Tim Myers, president of Boeing Capital Corporation. “Despite the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 on the global aerospace industry, there generally continues to be liquidity in the market for our customers, and we expect it to further improve as travel begins to rebound.”

The 2021 Current Aircraft Finance Market Outlook (CAFMO), the first published since 2019, reflects Boeing’s near-term view of market dynamics and assesses financing sources for new commercial airplane deliveries. Due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, the 2021 CAFMO excludes its customary one- and five-year industry financing projections.

“Industry fundamentals continue to show varying degrees of strength in different markets depending on the regional trends of the global pandemic,” Myers said. “We expect that capital will continue to be routed into the sector by established players and as new entrants seek opportunities during the industry’s recovery.”

The 2021 CAFMO reports the aircraft financing environment ended 2020 with enough liquidity to finance deliveries, but with stresses particularly in the bank debt and tax equity markets. The 2021 CAFMO, an introductory video and regional financing data is available at here. Select highlights include the following:

  • At the industry level, commercial aircraft delivery funding volume totaled $59 billion, a 40% decrease from 2019 levels.
  • The top sources of Boeing delivery financing were cash, bank debt and capital markets, and 100% of Boeing deliveries were financed by third parties.
  • Aircraft lessors executed a significant volume of sale-leaseback transactions, and the industry-wide leased fleet climbed to 46%.
  • Capital markets for aviation volumes were 70% higher than 2019.
  • Commercial banks shored up the aviation industry’s need for liquidity early in the pandemic, but long-term bank debt became one of the less utilized forms of financing.
  • Institutional investors and funds continued to seek aviation exposure, stepping up as some financiers paused and sector credit spreads widened.
  • Export credit agencies remain a small but important funding source during the pandemic.
  • Credit-enhanced financing saw further progress as a complementary funding source, totaling to 4% of the financing mix for Boeing deliveries.

The Boeing 2020 Commercial Market Outlook, a separate annual 20-year forecast addressing the market for commercial airplanes and services, projects passenger traffic growth at an average rate of 4% per year. The global commercial fleet is expected to reach 48,400 by 2039, up from 25,900 airplanes today.


Galgus

Panasonic Avionics

In late 2020, Panasonic Avionics, in conjunction with a major airline, conducted a trial providing passengers unlimited inflight Wi-Fi. The trial ran over several months with the goal of finding out how the airline could enhance the relationship with their passengers by providing high-quality onboard Wi-Fi. Specifically, it allowed them to better understand if Wi-Fi boosted passenger loyalty; to see if Wi-Fi facilitated a better understanding of passenger behavior; and if better Wi-Fi correlates to an increase in potential revenue.

The Wi-Fi experiment was quietly rolled out on 109 aircraft with very limited promotion but once available, the service was quickly discovered by passengers – and they began streaming. On average, the engagement time per user increased by 23%, streaming content was viewed 41 minutes more with YouTube and Netflix being the top choices watched by passengers and music aficionados tuned into their Spotify and Apple Music Apps to stream their favorite tunes. Prior to the trial the average passenger data consumption per aircraft was 1.6 GB of data which jumped to 3 GB during it.

The trial ran during the holiday travel times, which had the highest travel numbers since the start of the pandemic. Even with the increased load factors, complaints about slow inflight internet rates fell by up to 46% in December and 61% in January! Amazing.

The most significant takeaways from the trial: 1) Fast, reliable, highspeed internet is a cornerstone of the passenger experience. 2) Increased usage of streaming apps, either via PEDS or seatback screens, provide a big opportunity for increased revenue-generating ads and content for the airlines.

Panasonic states that the trial was possible because of their Gen-3 network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites that direct capacity to where it is needed most. Panasonic reports that In February, their first of high-throughput satellite (XTS) joined their network and entered service over Asia-Pacific. Also, the new Newtec modems played an integral part in the success of the trial. Additionally, the migration from Panasonics’ previous generation IFEC technology means faster browsing and higher reliability in video streaming. The Gen-3 network also enables 4G and VoIP services and powers Live TV channels like Sport 24.

The trial proved that passenger demand for highspeed, high quality internet is growing. This is supported by: 1) an increase in long-haul flights 2) passengers are carrying more connected devices 3) high customer expectations for technology and airlines. Further, the increase in BYOD (bring your own device) will continue the drive the demand for high quality, connectivity. Perhaps more significantly, this increasing expectation and new demands for inflight services are encouraging airlines to brand their onboard entertainment experiences, not only for the seatback IFE, but also the BYOD and to coordinate these efforts with the IFEC manufactures.

Embracing highspeed, reliable connectivity will put airlines in a better position to meet their passenger needs, both now and in the future, whether the service is free or paid. As the industry begins to recover from the pandemic, maximizing connectivity will be a major differentiator.

Also From Panasonic Avionics & JetBlue:

JetBlue announced  that it has selected Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) for its live sports in-flight offering on the airline’s Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft.

This offering will expand JetBlue’s transatlantic inflight entertainment options to include one  channel of live sports, Sport 24, with satellite-based streaming facilitated by the airline’s connectivity provider. JetBlue’s new fleet of Airbus A321LR aircraft due to be delivered from 2021 onwards, will be outfitted with the service.

Panasonic is the exclusive provider of Sport 24, the world’s first and only live in-flight sports platform. It broadcasts 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting airline passengers to over 16 hours of premium live content from over 30 different global sports leagues each day.

From 2021, JetBlue’s customers will be able to enjoy all the live action from the world’s top sporting events, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, all four Tennis Grand Slams, all four Golf Majors, the NRL, the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Bundesliga, and more.

Sport 24 creates a unique viewing experience for passengers – from the casual to the avid sports fan – which results in a dwell time almost three times higher than the most popular US sports channel.

Almost 1,000 aircraft across the globe are installed with Panasonic’s Live Television service, of which Sport 24 are an integral part.


Hiring Trends Survey: Covid-19 Impact Results

JSfirm.com, an aviation job website, released their Hiring Trends Survey for 2021. Of the hiring professionals, executives, and business owners surveyed, over 50% are projecting growth in 2021. Additionally, 66% of those surveyed did not cut any jobs in 2020, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

In summary:

  • 200 aviation companies across various sectors were surveyed
  • 84% are projecting moderate growth in 2021
  • 93% expect to hire in the 2nd Quarter (Apr – Jun) of 2021
  • Pilots, maintenance & avionics technicians remain in highest demand

Sam Scanlon, Managing Partner of JSfirm.com, said, “The results of our recent survey are encouraging for the industry. It’s interesting to see how many companies were not affected too much by the pandemic: airlines make the headlines, but the fact is, the small to medium size companies that make up the majority of our infrastructure made it through the past year and are now gearing up for growth.” He continued, “Overall traffic on our website continues to increase from both job seekers and companies – we are anxious to see how the remainder of 2021 plays out.”


Morgan Stanley
Airlines: More than Just a Re-Opening Trade; Fundamentals Still Supportive of Upside: Upgrade UAL, ALK; Initiate on AAL

Morgan Stanley (MS) reiterates their Attractive view on the US Airlines despite the stocks up 85% in the last 5 months. With a clear path to re-opening now in focus, they look out to 2022+ and find consensus numbers are too low given their view of strong volume and cost tailwinds. MS are ~30%+ above consensus in 2023.

They initiate coverage on American Airlines (AAL) at Underweight. MS upgrades Alaska Air Group (ALK) from Equal-weight to Overweight and United Airlines (UAL) from Underweight to Equal-weight. Remain Overweight on Southwest Airlines (LUV), JetBlue Airways (JBLU), Allegiant Travel (ALGT) and Delta Airlines (DAL).

MS sees ~30% upside to our price targets and 45% upside to consensus 2023 estimates, on average, driven by quick rebound of air traffic, structural cost savings and a supportive jet fuel environment. They also believe a Roaring ’20s/Swinging ’60s-like macro environment can drive traffic significantly higher than a 2019 baseline level, in a bull case. MS sees the most upside at names with the most idiosyncratic tailwinds especially LUV, JBLU, ALK and ALGT though international and corporate could also surprise to the upside relative to expectations keeping the Legacies in play (especially DAL).

Morgan Stanley also believes the market is missing a few powerful tailwinds driving upside to our estimates vs. consensus:

1. 2022+ estimates still do not reflect a rapid reopening. The circumstantial evidence points to the bull case on a traffic recovery. Yet, consensus is modeling in 2022 revenues ~20% below and 2022 ASMs (Available Seat Miles or volume) ~10% below 2019 levels, which we believe is too conservative. MS continues to expect a return to 2019 ASM levels on average by end 2021/early 2022, which implies 2022 ASMs at least equal to 2019 levels.

2. 2019 is the wrong baseline to use for 2023 and beyond. They used 2019 as the baseline for the reopening but consensus (and the market) appear to be maxing out at that level. MS believes the ceiling for air traffic can be significantly higher in a Roaring ’20s/Swinging ’60s like macro environment, which is possible given the strength of consumer balance sheets. In the 1920s, passenger car miles driven nearly doubled in 5 years above the WW1/Spanish flu baseline of 1918 and again after WW2 in the 1950s, while the emergence of commercial air travel saw passenger volumes up 6x in 5 years. While travel today is certainly more mature, we would not be surprised to see the return of the “golden age” of travel in the 2020s, which would represent upside to our numbers.

3. Structural cost savings suggest margin upside on rising volumes. Several airlines have provided either LT structural cost savings targets (UAL, JBLU, AAL) or benchmarks for achieving 2019 CASMxF (Cost per Average Seat Mile ex-fuel) levels (DAL, LUV). These targets imply margins should be comfortably higher than 2019 levels, if 2022/23 revenues are at a similar level, as expected.

4. Jet fuel pricing is in a sweet spot. Despite jet fuel prices rising 40% off the 2Q20 bottom, we note that: a) fuel prices are still comfortably below 2019 levels, b) current levels could be supportive of industry pricing, and c) our Energy team believes that in the long-term oil prices will stabilize at $50-55/bbl level (vs. ~$60 today), providing further support for structurally higher margins than 2019.

Riding the biggest waves in the rising tide + Idiosyncratic catalysts characterize our top picks.  Morgan Stanley likes airlines with catalysts that will help them outgrow the rising tide. This means Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) and Ultra Low Cost Carriers (ULCCs) with a US Domestic Leisure footprint that will rebound first though we expect International and Corporate travel at Legacy carriers to catch up in 2022. Also, we prefer stocks with idiosyncratic catalysts, including LUV (MAX transition, new corporate/GDS integration), JBLU (fleet renewal, international operations, AAL alliance), ALK (MAX transition, AAL alliance) and ALGT (20% larger fleet). They also prefer Airlines that are likely to start returning cash to shareholders first, given limited to no balance sheet impairment. Legacy airlines are likely to experience the rear of the rising tide and the balance sheet needs to be fixed before cash return or growth investments can occur. DAL is their top Legacy pick.

MS initiates on AAL at UW and a $20 PT (20% downside to the current price) – we believe AAL will rise with the industry tide of returning air traffic and they like its young aircraft fleet which could limit capex pressure in the critical years ahead. However, with the stock up over 50% YTD, positioning is no longer skewed as negative as it used to be, which raises the bar. Our FY23 EPS is roughly 40% below 2019 levels. They are also upgrading ALK from EW to OW (PT from $49 to $90 or 30% upside) and UAL from UW to EW (PT from $38 to $65 or 12% upside) as they see more favorable relative risk-rewards than previously.

Risks to their bullish view include another black swan macro event, labor shortages/disruptions, runaway inflation that pressures the consumer’s balance sheet, safety issues (like COVID resurgence or MAX in 2019) and sharp jet fuel inflation could put our 2022/23 estimates at risk.


Other News

 

 

Inmarsat, a global mobile satellite communications provider, has been crowned the ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’ for the fourth year in a row at the World Travel Awards 2020.

The prestigious accolade was announced following a year-long search for the world’s top travel, tourism and hospitality brands, with the latest edition of the World Travel Awards attracting a record number of votes from across the world by industry professionals and members of the public.

Inmarsat once again retained its title in recognition of its market-leading GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband solutions, which enable airline passengers to browse the internet, shop online, stream videos, enjoy social media and more seamlessly during their flights. Inmarsat airline customers include Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Iberia, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia and Virgin Atlantic.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Last year was particularly challenging for the aviation industry, which faced its biggest crisis to date as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In response, we have been working closer than ever with our airline customers, both old and new, to support their evolving needs as they navigate through the storm and head towards a future recovery. It is uplifting, therefore, to receive an award where the industry itself helped to determine the winner. This accolade reinforces our position as the global market leader and is dedicated to our talented employees and partners for their continued hard work and dedication over the past year, even in the toughest of circumstances.”

Inmarsat crossed a number of important milestones last year as part of its extensive, fully-funded technology roadmap. This included the commercial service introduction of GX5, Inmarsat’s most powerful satellite to date, last month. Conceived, designed and procured principally to meet the needs of aviation customers, GX5 delivers approximately twice the capacity of the entire existing GX satellite fleet (GX1-GX4) combined. It is essential to support rapidly growing demand for airline and business aviation connectivity in Europe and the Middle East. 

Inmarsat’s technology roadmap will see seven further satellite launches by 2024: five in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity and resilience – and two in highly elliptical orbit, which will enable the world’s only commercial mobile broadband service in the commercially and strategically critical Arctic region.

Other highlights of 2020 included the development of an advanced new lightweight, low drag terminal for GX Aviation in partnership with GDC Technics and the launch of GX+ North America in collaboration with Hughes, bringing unrivalled inflight Wi-Fi to North American airlines and passengers.


NEW SST IN DEVELOPMENT

It is not surprising that IFEC news and information is pretty quiet during the pandemic. The equation is simple: less people; less flights; less travel; and aircraft delivery delays or cancellations all result in less demand for IFEC in the short term.

Having said that, it appears there is one aviation area that is experiencing a resurgence in development and/or exploration – supersonic flight. Companies like Boon Overture and Aerion are not sleeping, and you might ask, what has this to do with IFEC? Well, probably not much in the immediate future; however, as folks improve the speed of flying we would expect a future of more advanced, smaller, lighter, better performing IFEC.

We say “expect” because we have little or no information on this future subject, but we were wondering what we might see … and the word “might” is used here since weight and size on these eventual airplanes will be a big issue. To give you a better idea, lets first see what Wikipedia says about the SST subject:

Wikipedia – “A supersonic transport (SST) is a civilian supersonic aircraft designed to transport passengers at speeds greater than the speed of sound. To date, the only SSTs to see regular service have been Concorde and the Tupolev Tu-144. The last passenger flight of the Tu-144 was in June 1978 and it was last flown in 1999 by NASA. Concorde’s last commercial flight was in October 2003, with a November 26, 2003 ferry flight being its last airborne operation. Following the permanent cessation of flying by Concorde, there are no remaining SSTs in commercial service. Several companies have each proposed a supersonic business jet, which may bring supersonic transport back again.”

Further, Wikipedia notes: ”For all vehicles traveling through air, the force of drag is proportional to the coefficient of drag (Cd), to the square of the airspeed and to the air density. Since drag rises rapidly with speed, a key priority of supersonic aircraft design is to minimize this force by lowering the coefficient of drag. This gives rise to the highly streamlined shapes of SSTs. To some extent, supersonic aircraft also manage drag by flying at higher altitudes than subsonic aircraft, where the air density is lower.”

Next, we tried to find out more about the Concorde IFE hardware and the British Science Museum noted: “Brochure, ‘For your entertainment in flight : Supersonic Stereo : Five stereo programs specially produced for Concorde’. Part of collection of in-flight material gathered by Alastair Greenlees who flew on Concorde in January 1978 and with BOAC from Manchester Airport.” Admittedly, a multichannel IFE audio service was quite good since  flight time was reduced by roughly 50%. Concorde In-flight Entertainment Brochure | Science Museum Group Collection

Also we found a wonderful website that features the history and present news on the heritage Concorde here: Heritage Concorde
which features a great video about the plane that you can watch here: (3) UK Concorde first nose move – Heritage Concorde – Project Salute – YouTube. And yes, if yes, if you want more Concorde “stuff’, check out this Etsy site: Concorde Supersonice Transport Gray Travel Folder Inflight | Etsy

We should mention that the IFE we found on the Concorde was some 6 channels of audio entertainment, and having noted that, we expect the “future” products from the likes of Boom and Aerion will reflect the growing demand for real-time connectivity. And we firmly believe that satcom and Wi-Fi connectivity/streaming to PEDs will be a must. We’ve been asking ourselves what engineering and certification requirements there will be for a satcom radome aboard an SST – stay tuned on this one! There is one certainty, whichever IFEC offering is selected, it will be the ‘brightest and shiniest’ available! After all, why put old technology on such a technologically advanced aircraft?!

Articles have also noted that the earlier supersonic designs had to minimize weight and space because of increased drag and limited aircraft engine performance, newer technology will surely provide more and better personal space than its SST predecessor.

The passenger capacity of the new SST appears to be less than half of the Concorde’s. However, with the current trend toward smaller load factors this may end up being an advantage for future operators.

Here are some interesting links on the aviation future:


AIRBUS

The airframer delivered 566 commercial aircraft in 2020 vs 863 in 2019:

A220 Family: 38 vs 48 (2019)
A320ceo Family: 15 vs 91 (2019)
A320neo Family: 431 vs 551 (2019)
A330ceo: 6 vs 12 (2019)
A330neo: 13 vs 41 (2019)
A350: 59 vs 112 (2019)
A380: 4 vs 8 (2019)
A220: 64
A320 Family: 296
A330: 2
A350:

Airbus recorded 383 new orders (268 net):
A220: 64
A320 Family: 296
A330: 2
A350: 21

Aircraft Cancellations – 115 (2020), backlog stood at 7,184 aircraft on December 31.


BOEING

The company recorded 184 new orders in 2020 (-471 net of cancellations/conversions).

737 MAX: 112
737NG: 18
767: 11
777: 13
787: 29
747: 1

And they delivered 157 commercial aircraft in 2020 compared to 380 in 2019:

737 MAX: 27 vs 57
737NG: 16 vs 70
767: 30 vs 43
777: 26 vs 45
787: 53 vs 158
747: 5 vs 5


OTHER NEWS

This topic may be up your alley – What is Quantum Computing. If it’s not, but you are interested, below is a free 27 page report. As a quote from the article: “Soon, quantum computers could change the world. Quantum computing is the processing of information that’s represented by special quantum states. By tapping into quantum phenomena like “superposition” and “entanglement,” these machines handle information in a fundamentally different way to “classical” computers like smartphones, laptops, or even today’s most powerful supercomputers.” CBINSIGHTS has a real understanding of the subject … we think! What Is Quantum Computing?

Season’s Greetings

For most of us 2020 has been a tumultuous and turbulent year both professionally and personally. In an effort to contain and control the spread of COVID-19 we’ve all had to adapt the way we perform and deliver our services and live our day-to-day lives. The result has been physical distancing but in a way this common, shared experience has brought us all closer.

The IFExpress team thanks our readers for your continued support and we look forward to a time when our industry can once again gather together to discuss new concepts and product developments in person. In the meantime, we wish you and your loved ones all the best this holiday season.

May 2021 bring you health and prosperity,

Patricia Wiseman, Editor & Founder of IFExpress


TURKISH TECHNIC

Turkish Technic has completed the design, production and certification process of its new server and wireless access point (WAP) products, the backbone of in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems. This also marks a new milestone of in-house production in aviation sector for Turkish Technic following the production of its aviation seats and galley. Turkish Technic’s new server and WAP surpass the competition with the features such as easy integration with various software applications and providing flexibility in determining equipment configuration according to current system requirements.

Providing the option of storing media (movies, videos, newspapers, magazines etc.), internet access and sharing the content with the passengers abroad the aircraft, servers act as a media source to transform air travel into a fun experience. Developed and produced by Turkish Technic, the products are customized according to the market needs and equipped with new features. Both the server and WAP are a step up from the IFE & Connectivity market competition. The new server provides 6 TB of data storage, which is 3 times bigger than its counterparts. The WAP has 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz dual band radio.

On the launch of new connectivity products, General Manager of Turkish Technic Ahmet Karaman stated that: “During these challenging times that affect aviation and the whole world, our commitment to improve our software and hardware capabilities continues.

Being a leading MRO company in the world, we work to improve our service quality as well as the product range. With an aim to provide best connectivity products in the market, our team continues to bring their best efforts forward to achieve that goal. After developing and producing our aircraft galley and seats, we now add our servers and WAP products to the list. We would not be able to do all this without the passion and commitment of our people. I thank them for their tireless efforts and cooperation.”

Developed by the highly skilled and dedicated experts and engineers at Turkish Technic, the server and WAP are designed to meet all advanced communication needs of its customers. With their full function tests and trials in extreme conditions complete, the server and WAP are approved by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

 


MOMENT

Moment, French on-board digital solutions provider, is currently working on a trial with French aviation group Amelia (by Regourd Aviation) to implement Moment’s Flymingo box aboard its planes. 

Created in 1976, the Group is based in Paris and has strong French, European and African footprints. The Group is specialized in business, corporate and regional travels on 19 to 72-seat aircraft, operating 19 aircraft in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, offering charter, scheduled flights and ACMI services.

In 2019, Regourd Aviation created the brand Amelia, uniting its activities under one banner. The Group’s airline, Amelia International, conducts short-haul domestic flights between Paris and two cities in France: Rodez and Clermont Ferrand. In line with this recent accomplishment, Amelia decided to partner with Moment to provide its customers with an unparalleled digital journey aboard its fleet.

Therefore, Moment deployed its Flymingo box, a portable Wireless IFE solution, along with its digital platform allowing for a seamless digital passenger experience. This solution offers Amelia’s customers the chance to access a wide range of content, including entertainment, but also, to read the news and receive information related to their flight; a tailor-made experience for Amelia’s clientele which consists mainly of business passengers, and vacationers on the weekends.

Amelia originally being a private aviation company, the goal was to reach a premium target and to elevate the experience on board, by providing a digital platform that is user friendly and that the company could personalize according to its passengers’ different preferences.

The health crisis the world is facing today emphasizes the importance of the contactless in-flight experience, which is why Moment’s offer is optimal. The digital interface is accessible via passengers’ own devices, and grants them access to all the information they previously would have in paper aboard the plane.

“We are beyond excited to work on this trial with a leader in W-IFE solutions such as Moment. We wanted to partner with a company that could guarantee we would attain our vision for a one-of-a-kind digital experience for our customers; that is exactly what we found with Moment’s Flymingo box.” announced Alain Regourd, President of Amelia.

Tanguy Morel, CEO of Moment said: “We are thrilled to begin this trial with Amelia, and we hope it will be the beginning of a great working relationship as partners.” He adds: “We were involved in providing the company with a personalized experience to satisfy the needs of its passengers. With Flymingo box, Amelia will offer a reliable solution, ensuring access to entertainment like never before.”


Alaska Airlines Boosts 737 MAX Orders and Options to 120 Jets

Boeing nd Alaska Airlines announced that the carrier is buying 23 more 737-9 airplanes, building on its original order and an agreement last month to acquire new 737-9s through lease. The new deal brings Alaska Airlines’ total 737 MAX orders and options to 120 airplanes, which will give the fifth largest U.S. carrier the scale, efficiency and flexibility to expand as air travel recovers. Alaska Airlines, a longtime Boeing 737 operator, placed an order for 32 737-9 jets in 2012 as part of its fleet modernization program. The 737-9 is a member of the 737 MAX family that is designed to offer more fuel efficiency, reliability and flexibility in the single-aisle airplane market. Last month, Alaska Airlines announced it is expanding its commitment to the 737 MAX program by leasing 13 new 737-9s while selling some A320 jets it had taken on through its acquisition of Virgin America.

The new agreement announced on 12/21/2020 will add 23 firm orders for the 737-9 and more options for future purchases. In all, Alaska will have 52 options which, if fully exercised, would take the carrier to as many as 120 737 MAX airplanes. The airline said the deal moves it toward a more efficient, all-Boeing mainline fleet that will “enhance the guest experience, improve operational performance and support the company’s growth.”

Alaska Airlines and Boeing leaders announced the agreement during a signing ceremony at Boeing’s delivery facility in Seattle, flanked by a new 737-9 that will be among the first such jets to be operated by Alaska Airlines. In observance of COVID-19 restrictions, both companies limited attendance at the event and addressed the pandemic that has severely affected air travel, expressing confidence in the fundamental strength of the industry and long-term passenger demand.

“Alaska Airlines has done a tremendous job of weathering the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, and is well positioned to return to its growth trajectory and strengthen its standing as one of the top U.S. airlines. With Alaska’s industry-leading reputation for safety, sustainability and customer service, we are honored they have chosen to invest in their future with a significant purchase of additional Boeing 737 airplanes,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are grateful for Alaska’s trust and partnership. Our team is focused on delivering their first 737 MAX jets and helping ensure a safe and seamless entry into service.”

Alaska Airlines says the 737 – equipped with new, more fuel-efficient engines and improved aerodynamics – will use 20% less fuel and reduce emissions by 20% per seat compared to airplanes it replaces. The airline will configure the jet with 178 seats in a three-class configuration. The plane can fly 3,550 nautical miles, about 600 miles more than its predecessor. This additional capability will allow airlines to offer new and more direct routes to passengers. Every airplane will feature the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead storage bins.

Learn more about Alaska’s confidence in the safety and certification of the MAX at alaskaair.com/737MAX.

(Note: AEROMEXICO, who has 6 737 MAX aircraft on its books, is expected to reinstate 737 MAX operations out of Mexico City this week.)

Also from Boeing:

Boeing and the University of Arizona put an age-old technique, thermal disinfection, to use in the fight against COVID-19. Researchers validated that applying heat to surfaces, especially on hard-to-clean flight deck equipment, effectively eliminates SARS-CoV-2.

Results indicate that the virus can be destroyed by more than 99.99% after three hours exposure to temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit) and will still effectively kill more than 99.9% of the virus at 40-degree Celsius temperatures (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

“Passenger and crew safety are our top priorities — that extends from the cabin to the flight deck,” said Michael Delaney, who leads Boeing’s Confident Travel Initiative (CTI) efforts. “Thermal disinfection could deliver another valuable tool to destroy COVID-19 on sensitive and difficult-to-reach components that protect pilots.”

Boeing completed the testing as part of its CTI effort to support customers and enhance the safety and well-being of passengers and crews during the COVID-19 pandemic. This testing was conducted in a protected laboratory environment at the university using flight deck parts and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, this fall.

“We’re basically cooking the virus,” said Dr. Charles Gerba, University of Arizona microbiologist and infectious disease expert. “Thermal disinfection is one of the oldest ways to kill disease-causing micro-organisms. It’s used by microbiologists in our laboratory every day.”

The flight deck is one of the most challenging areas to sanitize using traditional chemical disinfectants. In areas with sensitive electronic equipment, heat has the ability to disinfect without adverse effects from cleaners. The flight deck is designed to withstand temperatures up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (about 70 degrees Celsius), which makes thermal disinfection a safe, practical and effective sanitization method.

As air travel is fundamentally disrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Boeing and the University of Arizona continue to test recommended cleaning methods in a lab against SARS-CoV-2 and other similar viruses to further validate their efficacy.

And Lastly:

Boeing has entered into a 25-year lease agreement with the Jacksonville Aviation Authority to grow its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations at its Cecil Field site, located at Cecil Airport. Under the agreement, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) will construct and lease to Boeing new facilities on approximately 30 acres located on the northeast side of Cecil Airport, near Boeing’s existing MRO site. The new construction will eventually house Boeing’s on-site operations and include nearly 270,000 square feet of hangar space and more than 100,000 square feet of office and support shop space. Construction work by JAA will begin in fall 2021 with a planned commencement of operations date in January 2024.

(Editor’s Note: If you are wondering about flying on a plane in the COVID time-frame, here is one article that touts masks – Risk of COVID-19 exposure on planes ‘virtually nonexistent’ when masked, study shows – ABC News and here is the TRANSCOM Study that supports mask testing on aircraft – you probably should read it.)


HIGHLIGHTS FROM INMARSAT’S CONFIDENCE TRACKER

American flying habits are set to drastically change for the long haul, with nine in ten Americans not expecting to return to their previous travel routines once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. The survey reveals a number of fascinating insights, including:

  • 43 per cent of American passengers planning to travel less often by any means and a third (36%) expecting to fly less.
  • US passengers are the second most likely globally to have already flown during the COVID-19 pandemic, with half (50%) of those surveyed in the US having taken at least one flight.
  • 71% US passengers are satisfied with the aviation industry’s response to the crisis.”

OTHER NEWS

  • We at IFExpress want to thank the world of health professionals who risked their lives (and will continue to do so) to help with a solution to the COVID anti-virus problem … and especially to those who paid their lives for our health! And while we are on the subject, you might want to see what Bill Gates has done – The Gates Foundation, COVID-19, and the race for a vaccine
  • Stay tuned to the ultra secure, quantum internet-based communications China is developing from their 2016 satellite they launched. You see, the communication is non breach-able and this will be the future of secure communications … a quantum internet. China Reaches New Milestone in Space-Based Quantum Communications – Scientific American
  • Got Wi-Fi? Well, you can be hacked, say the folks at Ben-Gurion University! Here is the paper on it. “In this paper, we show that attackers can exfiltrate data from air-gapped computers via Wi-Fi signals. Malware in a compromised air-gapped computer can generate signals in the Wi-Fi frequency bands. The signals are generated through the memory buses – no special hardware is required”
  • Ugh-oh! Seattle Times report: “Democrats and Republicans in U.S. House and Senate committees reached agreement in down-to-the wire negotiations a week ago on a bill tailored to address the FAA’s oversight failures in its original certification of the MAX.” Stay Tuned.

INMARSAT AND HUGHES BRING UNRIVALED INFLIGHT CONNECTIVITY TO NORTH AMERICAN AIRLINES AND PASSENGERS

GX+ North America will seamlessly combine the Hughes JUPITER satellite fleet, which has the largest Ka-band satellite capacity over the US, with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress, the widest, most resilient global network, to offer faster, more reliable inflight Wi-Fi.

Inmarsat, a world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, and Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, unveiled a major strategic collaboration that marks an important new step change for North American commercial airlines and their passengers.

The companies have joined forces to launch a transformational aviation connectivity solution, which has been specifically designed for North American commercial airlines and is available today. GX+ North America seamlessly integrates the unrivaled capacity of the Hughes JUPITER™ High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) constellation across North America with the extensive worldwide coverage and resilience of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) HTS satellite network, bringing a unique combination of unprecedented capacity, speed and reliability to the region, unavailable from any other satellite provider.

The ground-breaking new solution underscores the strategic vision of Inmarsat and Hughes as they look past the pandemic and into the future needs of commercial airline fleets in North America, whose passengers will require ubiquitous connectivity as they return to the skies.

The ultra-high capacity of GX+ North America will, for the first time, make it possible for North American airlines to meet increasing passenger demand, including the surge in traffic expected from free-of-charge inflight Wi-Fi. Today, satellite networks are trying to serve thousands of commercial aircraft in the world’s busiest airspace, and as they reach capacity, airlines will struggle to meet the demands of data-hungry passengers who want reliable, affordable, high-speed Wi-Fi while on board.

For too long, North American airline passengers have had to settle for constrained bandwidth activities such as email and limited messaging while on board flights. GX+ North America will give passengers the freedom to stream videos and audio, shop online, check and update social media, and catch up on work, all while in the air.

The superior capabilities of GX+ North America mean that North American airlines no longer need to compromise on speed, reliability, availability or coverage for inflight broadband, even when flying at full capacity over the busiest airport hubs. This also offers full flexibility for route planning, even on short notice, as the solution can cover any route worldwide through the GX global network — whether to Hawaii, Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, across the Gulf of Mexico, to Central and South America, across the Atlantic or even to the most extreme northern latitudes.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “GX has firmly established itself as the reference inflight connectivity solution for today’s demanding passengers and is used by airlines worldwide. We are very confident that this game-changing collaboration with Hughes, combining their market-leading depth of capacity with Inmarsat’s award-winning passenger connectivity solution, delivers for the first time, inflight broadband that is consistently superior regardless of the number of passengers using the service or where they are traveling. It is truly a ‘no compromise’ solution for airlines that no other service provider can offer. We’ve also ensured the transition path for airlines upgrading from other connectivity providers is simple, quick and cost efficient.”

“This strategic collaboration is further evidence of Inmarsat’s strength, resilience and innovation despite these unprecedented times in our industry. As a number of connectivity providers in North America face financial challenges and airlines are forced to reconsider their choice of supplier, Inmarsat’s offer continues to go from strength to strength.”

Paul Gaske, Executive Vice President and General Manager, North America division at Hughes, said: “We are proud to partner with Inmarsat to launch GX+ North America. This unique strategic collaboration leverages the full power of the JUPITER System, including the depth of capacity of our Ka-band High-Throughput Satellite fleet, as well as our JUPITER gateways and modems. Combining the Hughes JUPITER System and Inmarsat’s leading inflight connectivity solution, GX+ North America marks a new era for inflight connectivity.”

The new solution will be provided and managed end-to-end by Inmarsat. Prototype flights are expected to start later this year with commercial availability scheduled for 2021.

GX+ North America utilizes a robust Ka-band flat panel antenna from Thinkom, with millions of flight hours behind it, together with smart dual aero modem technology powered by Inmarsat’s aviation solutions that intelligently chooses the optimal satellite path with no service interruption or delay for passengers.

Looking forward, as commercial aviation returns to growth and aircraft return to the skies, Inmarsat and Hughes will continue to anticipate and respond to the North American market’s evolving needs. Expanding the service over the next four years alone, the Hughes and Inmarsat combined constellation of seven GX and JUPITER satellites will more than double to a total of 15 spacecraft. These additional satellites include the Hughes ultra-high capacity JUPITER 3 satellite and Inmarsat’s seven advanced, fully-funded next generation GX satellite payloads (6A, 6B, 7, 8, 9, 10A & 10B), which will enhance capacity and coverage throughout the world, including the Arctic.

Be sure to check out this infographic.



FLIGHTPATH3D

FlightPath3D Now Comes With More Places Than You Can Imagine

FlightPath3D announces that Flying Over Places is now included as a new view in all 3D map products. A retrofit is available for all existing 3D map installs.

FlightPath3D President Duncan Jackson said, “Flying Over Places significantly expands our map feature set with the integration of over 50,000 points of interest (POIs) that auto-play as the flight progresses, providing historical information about landmarks, attractions, and places as they’re flown over en route.”

Jackson adds, “We want every airline to be able to inform their customer what they can see out the window, with each point displaying its distance and direction.”

“This, and our many other map features, help provide an innovative and consistent passenger experience across multiple aircraft types and IFE systems. So you can continue to elevate your brand and differentiate your inflight service”, says FlightPath3D CEO Boris Veksler.

Veksler continues, “We design and deploy apps that are available as an Android, iOS or Linux app, can be streamed as a web service or API, and as widgets that can be embedded in other applications.”

To conclude, Veksler says, “We have the largest team of map specialists and geospatial engineers in the industry, building software selected by all the leading IFE vendors, and we’ll continue to lead, innovate and elevate the passenger experience.”

NOTE: Video of Flying Over Places for embed/viewing here.


SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks announced that mobile broadband communications technology executive David Helfgott has been named CEO, reflecting the company’s upcoming transition from the development and deployment stage to an operational aviation broadband communications services and products company.

“On behalf of both the SmartSky board and management, I am delighted to welcome David to our team, reflecting our longstanding company plan. His extensive technology and mobile communications experience will help us ensure that all of our operations reflect the high level of quality set by our transformational connectivity technology,” said Haynes Griffin, outgoing CEO who will remain as Executive Chairman.

“I am honored to be selected to lead SmartSky at this exciting inflection point,” said SmartSky CEO Helfgott. “When you look at SmartSky’s unique positioning and expansive patent portfolio, it highlights the company’s incredible potential and culture of sustained innovation. Since COVID-19 first began to impact the inflight communications industry, SmartSky has proven its resilience in many ways, having added more than 40 patents since January 2020, successfully defended its IP from a challenge brought by an industry incumbent, closed on funding of more than $50 million in additional equity and debt, and overhauled its radio technology supply chain on the way to completing the deployment and launch of its network next year.”

Helfgott most recently was President & CEO of phased-array antenna developer Phasor, which was recently acquired by Hanwha Systems. Prior to this, he held several senior executive roles including President & CEO of Inmarsat Government; President of Tactical Wireless Communications for Cobham; President & CEO of Datapath and President & CEO of SES Government.

Haynes Griffin, who has been SmartSky’s Chairman and CEO since 2013, also was the founding CEO of Vanguard Cellular and a past Chairman of CTIA, a major wireless industry trade association.

SmartSky is reinventing connectivity, building a next-generation inflight WiFi network from the ground up. The company also is developing pioneering aviation data products to improve safety and efficiency while providing the industry with novel ancillary revenue sources. SmartSky’s unique single-beam-per-aircraft inflight WiFi approach is backed by 190 patents and over 1,000 hours of flight testing.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that it will provide engineering support, communications services and equipment to Cranfield University’s Digital Aviation Research and Technology Center (DARTeC) consortium, supported by Honeywell Aerospace.

Set to open at Cranfield University during the first quarter of 2021, DARTeC will spearhead UK research into digital aviation technology. The center will address the most pressing research challenges facing the aviation industry, including the integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles into civilian airspace, increasing the efficiency and reliability of airports and aircraft through technology, and creating a safe and secure shared airspace.

Inmarsat and Honeywell Aerospace will support the Center’s research by providing Aspire 400 satellite communications terminals, airtime and engineering expertise in the Saab 340B flying test-bed and test lab for evaluation and development of future applications and solutions. The Saab 340B will effectively serve as a ‘flying laboratory’ to evaluate multiple advanced radar systems and airborne digital communications.

John Broughton, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, Inmarsat Aviation said: “Advances in digital aviation are driving innovation opportunities in all aspects of the airline industry. Today’s commitment with Honeywell Aerospace to support DARTeC highlights the importance of creating a collaborative research environment in the aviation industry. We are looking forward to working closely with other members of the DARTeC community to reap the rewards of a digital aviation industry for many years to come.”

Mark Goodman, Director of Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Inmarsat to support the DARTeC consortium and bring the benefits of the digital revolution to the aviation industry. There is no time to waste in responding to the opportunities of digital transformation and ensuring that the industry is ready to serve the needs of our airlines today and tomorrow.”

Through the DARTeC consortium, members are able to create, develop and test next generation air traffic control (ATC) applications for manned and unmanned aviation that will utilize digital voice and data. Members will also have access to Inmarsat’s Iris program fully serviced aircraft for testing, evaluation and demonstrations as well as conducting live Iris test flights with specific air navigation service providers (ANSPs).


BOEING

The European Union has been authorized by the WTO to impose $3.99b in annual tariffs on US imported goods. This includes Boeing aircraft and has done so as a result of illegal subsidies to the company.


STELLAR

Stellar boarding music boosts Virgin Australia Brand. Passengers traveling on Virgin Australia and VARA (Virgin Australia Regional Airlines) will now hear customized boarding music as of September 2020, a first for the airline group. The original piece was written in-house at Stellar Entertainment and replaces the commercially available music playlists previously played onboard the airline for years.

Stellar Entertainment’s Creative Director, Brad Power, describes the composition:

“Our latest piece draws on deep house and Balearic beats to create a fresh, vibrant and modern sound that is upbeat without being too exuberant. Perfect for a contemporary airline looking to do something a little different.”

Bespoke boarding music offers airlines an opportunity to create their own unique brand identity and sound, one that passengers can always relate to their experience onboard that airline. This area of expertise is just one of many offerings from Stellar’s fully equipped, multi-studio facilities specializing in various audio solutions and services, such as original music composition and sound design.

Director of Licensing at Stellar, Sam Allen remarks, “A bespoke piece doesn’t stop at boarding music. It can be implemented across the airline via other platforms and applications such as advertising campaigns and promotional buzz reels, to optimize usage as part of an over-arching sonic strategy.”

Besides rolling out this new signature music across the fleet for boarding and disembarking, Virgin Australia and VARA have also implemented it as on-hold music for their phone lines. Working directly with Stellar Entertainment has given the airline group the ability to license the music as needed, allowing for greater flexibility in how and where they use the new sound. This also includes a financial benefit, with a direct license with Stellar saving the airline group royalty fees paid to local collection agencies.

This is the second composition from Stellar Entertainment to be used by an airline, following the bespoke piece used by Malaysia Airlines earlier this year.

To hear the new boarding music for Virgin Australia and VARA, click here.

To listen to a broader range of audio samples from our in-house composition team, click here.


OTHER NEWS

ZIPAIR Selects Panasonic Avionics Connectivity

ZIPAIR, the new Japanese middle-long haul carrier, has selected Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) to provide inflight connectivity (IFC) solutions for its Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

ZIPAIR’s B787s will be fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service. Panasonic’s next generation connectivity enables a host of connectivity benefits, from fast internet to video streaming, all powered by its new satellite modem featuring bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

The announcement marks the beginning of Panasonic’s relationship with ZIPAIR, the new Japanese low-cost carrier which is a 100% subsidiary of Japan Airlines.

Shingo Nishida, President of ZIPAIR, said: “By making the most of inflight Wi-Fi services provided by Panasonic Avionics, we hope to become an airline that gives customers the freedom to spend time on the plane in their own personal way and that makes flight time feel short.”

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with ZIPAIR to enhance their passenger experience with our world-class inflight connectivity. Our advanced inflight solutions will help ZIPAIR drive brand loyalty, encouraging their passengers to return time and again.”

ZIPAIR was established in 2018. It is a low-cost carrier and is due to operate medium to long-haul international flights. It currently operates a fleet consisting of two Boeing 787-8s, transferred from its parent’s fleet.


Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) and World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) Announce They Will Bring the Industry Together in Hamburg in September 2021

Reed Exhibitions, the organizer of the leading events for the global cabin interiors and inflight services industry, has today announced new dates for 2021. Both AIX and WTCE will return to the Hamburg Messe from 31 August to 2 September 2021, moving from the original April dates.

This early announcement allows time for businesses to adapt and plan to ensure that the events continue their critical role in bringing the global industry together again.

Speaking about the announcement, Polly Magraw, Exhibition Director, Aircraft Interiors Expo and World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo, said: “After consulting with exhibitors and airlines, we recognise the industry needs more time to allow for the reopening of borders, lifting of travel restrictions and resuming of services. It is clear that the industry needs to meet in person later in 2021. Our priority is to deliver an engaging and COVID-secure face-to-face event in September that gives our exhibitors and visitors the additional time to adapt and continue on the path to recovery.

“We once again want to thank all of our exhibitors, visitors, and partners for their support.”

“Now, more than ever, there is a strong need to reunite, connect and do business. The importance of AIX and WTCE cannot be underestimated as the largest marketplace that brings together key stakeholders from the global supply chain. We are confident that this decision best supports the industry, and in September we will be ready to regroup and look ahead to the future.

“The majority of exhibitors have already confirmed their participation at the face-to-face events in 2021, and we continue to focus on keeping the industry connected during this time, fostering collaboration, promoting new innovative solutions and helping to nurture critical business contacts. We look forward to facilitating this through a further series of virtual events, set to take place in April, details of which will be announced soon.

“We once again want to thank all of our exhibitors, visitors, and partners for their support. We believe this extra time ahead of the 2021 events will offer exhibitors reassurance and more opportunity to prepare their fantastic showcases, and for our visitors to be ready to restart planning for the cabins of the future.”

For updates and further information, please visit the Aircraft Interiors Expo website or the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo website.


Crystal Cabin Award: Now Open for Submissions

Entry period for new Crystal Cabin Award special categories begins, open until 12 January 2021.

Innovations that make passengers feel safe and other ideas to make air travel attractive: the entry period for the two Crystal Cabin Award special categories, “Clean & Safe Air Travel” and “Judges’ Choice Award”, has begun. Manufacturers, suppliers, researchers, students, design agencies and airlines can submit their concepts directly at www.crystal-cabin-award.com until 12 January 2021. The winners in the two special categories will be announced in parallel with the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg next year.

“Clean & Safe Air Travel” is open to all on-board innovations focusing on hygiene and safety standards for passengers and crew. Entries must be implementable within two years, and the concepts should not be more than one year old. Concepts and products that have already been entered in a different CCA category in the past are excluded.

The “Judges’ Choice Award” is aimed at innovations for the cabin not explicity focused on health and safety, which could normally have been submitted in one of the eight main categories: Cabin Concepts, Cabin Systems, In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity, Passenger Comfort Hardware, Material & Components, Greener Cabin, University, Visionary Concepts. Here, too, it must be possible to implement the innovations within two years. Up to three innovations may be submitted.

Both categories are also open for student submissions.

Entries for the two special categories may be lodged online now www.crystal-cabin-award.com.

These two categories are part of the independent Crystal Cabin Award Association’s response to the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic on the civil aviation industry. An international task force with representatives of the almost 30 experts on the award judging panel, selected from every sector in the aviation industry and every continent, developed the categories.

Entry fee for the first time — student entries exempt

For the first time in its history, the Crystal Cabin Award is levying an entry fee of 290 euros per submission for this entry phase. This brings the award in line with most international industry awards and is a response to the massive increase in project management expenditure, for example in the premium exposure given to candidates within specialist audience and media. The voluntary industry prize, launched by the Hamburg Aviation industry cluster, will continue to be funded by sponsorship. It’s worth getting in early this year, with an early bird fee of 200 euros until 20 October.

Student submissions are expressly exempt from the entry fee and can still be made free of charge.

Existing finalists from 2020 still in the race

In addition to the two special categories, the 24 finalists in the eight regular categories, selected at the start of the year, are still in the running. The current Crystal Cabin Award round was temporarily suspended in March this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All winners of the Crystal Cabin Awards 2020 season will be crowned in the spring of 2021 after a personal final presentation to the international experts of the judging panel. The two special categories will be awarded in parallel with the world’s leading trade fair, the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg on 31 August 2021.

Want to submit your innovation? Please download the application information package folder in order to prepare your application.


Global Airport Smart Baggage Handling Solutions Market to 2024 with Profiles of Leading Players – ResearchAndMarkets.com

 The “Global Airport Smart Baggage Handling Solutions Market 2020-2024”  report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The airport smart baggage handling solutions market is poised to grow by $ 1.15 bn during 2020-2024 progressing at a CAGR of 6% during the forecast period.

The reports on airport smart baggage handling solutions market provides a holistic analysis, market size and forecast, trends, growth drivers, and challenges, as well as vendor analysis covering around 25 vendors.

The report offers an up-to-date analysis regarding the current global market scenario, latest trends and drivers, and the overall market environment. The market is driven by the development of smart airports and expansion and growth in the number of airports. In addition, development of smart airports is anticipated to boost the growth of the market as well.

This study identifies increasing use of AI in SBH solutions as one of the prime reasons driving the airport smart baggage handling solutions market growth during the next few years.

The robust vendor analysis is designed to help clients improve their market position, and in line with this, this report provides a detailed analysis of several leading airport smart baggage handling solutions market vendors that include Babcock International Group Plc, BEUMER Group GmbH & Co. KG, CIMC Tianda Holdings Co. Ltd., Daifuku Co. Ltd., G&S Airport Conveyor, Leonardo Spa, Siemens AG, SITA, Vanderlande Industries BV, and WFS Global SAS.

Also, the airport smart baggage handling solutions market analysis report includes information on upcoming trends and challenges that will influence market growth. This is to help companies strategize and leverage on all forthcoming growth opportunities.

Key Topics Covered:

Executive Summary

  • Market Overview

Market Landscape

  • Market ecosystem
  • Value chain analysis

Market Sizing

  • Market definition
  • Market segment analysis
  • Market size 2019
  • Market outlook: Forecast for 2019 – 2024

Five Forces Analysis

  • Five forces summary
  • Bargaining power of buyers
  • Bargaining power of suppliers
  • Threat of new entrants
  • Threat of substitutes
  • Threat of rivalry
  • Market condition

Market Segmentation by Product

  • Market segments
  • Comparison by Product
  • Smart baggage and tracking devices – Market size and forecast 2019-2024
  • Smart baggage screening devices – Market size and forecast 2019-2024
  • Market opportunity by Product

Customer landscape

  • Overview

Geographic Landscape

  • Geographic segmentation
  • Geographic comparison
  • APAC – Market size and forecast 2019-2024
  • North America – Market size and forecast 2019-2024
  • Europe – Market size and forecast 2019-2024
  • MEA – Market size and forecast 2019-2024
  • South America – Market size and forecast 2019-2024
  • Key leading countries
  • Market opportunity by geography
  • Market drivers
  • Market challenges
  • Market trends

Vendor Landscape

  • Overview
  • Landscape disruption

Vendor Analysis

  • Vendors covered
  • Market positioning of vendors
  • Babcock International Group Plc
  • BEUMER Group GmbH & Co. KG
  • CIMC Tianda Holdings Co. Ltd.
  • Daifuku Co. Ltd.
  • G&S Airport Conveyor
  • Leonardo Spa
  • Siemens AG
  • SITA
  • Vanderlande Industries BV
  • WFS Global SAS

Appendix

Click on this link for more information about this report.


A Human Interest Story

As many of you know, our industry is full of creative and innovative individuals. But sometimes their brilliance reaches beyond our industry and touches upon events that vividly live in many of our memories. One such case pertains to the now retired but long-time IFE aficionado, Ken Lew. Ken spent many years working with companies such as Sony Trans Com and Thales before retiring. Prior to joining the IFEC industry, Ken worked for United Airlines and in the mid 1980’s he was tasked with designing something very unique that many of us across the globe experienced/witnessed to some small degree. Here is an interesting story, courtesy of Ken Lew and in his own words, which we thought our readers would enjoy.

“Some of you may recall the highlight of my aviation career when my United Airline boss assigned me the task of designing the Flame Carrier that transported the Olympic Torch Flame from Mt. Olympus to NY City to start off the 1984 Olympic Torch cross country run to LA. Recently, I returned to Irivine, CA from Presscott, AZ to deal with some issues upon the death of my ex-wife, Gerrie. Just before I closed up her house to return home, I did one last look in the garage and discovered a cabinet that I had overlooked and NOT cleared it out.  There were only 3 empty boxes that had previously been used to house the garage door opener replacement; an empty box for an old printer; and one other insignificant empty box.  The FOURTH box had an odd shape to it:  square ends and long, about 2.5 feet, with a handwritten “SFO” on one side (SFO are the call letters for San Francisco Airport.)   I brushed off the years of dust and open the box . . . . . and discovered an item that had completely vanished from my memory:  it was the actual 1984 Olympic Torch that I used to test my Flame Carrier on the San Francisco Airport/United Airlines’ tarmac; in the rain; in the fog; at night. This memory was squirreled away in the recesses of my mind as was the fact that the Olympic Committee had told me to keep this as a memento of my support efforts for the 1984 Games.  It is now safely stashed in my new home in Prescott, AZ.  I’ll think about getting a display case made for THAT, and the coal-mining lamp I used to test my engineering design.”  – KEN LEW


Other News

 

 

Galgus, new member of the WiFi Alliance

The WiFi Alliance is a global organization in which the main players related to this wireless technology participate, whether they are operators, hardware manufacturers, or software developers.

It is also the benchmark certifier for WiFi technology, having completed more than 50,000 certifications since 2000. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ seal of approval designates those products capable of offering a user experience according to their expectations of WiFi connectivity.

For Galgus, this membership is a recognition of its technology – patented in Europe and the USA -, that is used daily by more than a million people around the world and, in addition, it’s an endorsement for its WiFi4EU projects: the European Commission’s plan to provide WiFi connectivity to municipalities throughout Europe. A project in which Galgus has already deployed its technology in around twenty locations.

WiFi is the main option to connect to the Internet. Thus, more than half of the Internet traffic is done using this wireless connection technology. A technology that, in these times of pandemic and a new normal, is playing a fundamental role, offering users the possibility of working, studying, and enjoying themselves remotely. For businesses that need faster internet connection, they can switch to a SD-WAN network.

Since last July 1, Galgus is a member of the main international organization for WiFi technology, being one of the few Spanish companies that have achieved it to date.

The WiFi Alliance (www.wi-fi.org) is responsible for leading, developing, and adopting the standards agreed by the WiFi industry. To do this, it fosters collaboration between member companies, thus promoting innovation in this field.

WiFi Alliance importance is appreciable when reviewing its list of member companies. Thus, global giants such as Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Nokia, or Samsung; telecommunications operators such as Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, or Orange or manufacturers such as Acer, Logitec or Motorola, are part of this organization.

Galgus CEO and Co-Founder, Jose González, points out that “for our company, having been admitted as members of the WiFi Alliance is a recognition of the development in WiFi technology that we have been making for more than six years. This achievement is comparable to the patents that our products have obtained in the US and Europe”, adding: “This is something that gives not just added value for our brand but also for our clients and society”.

This membership represents a reinforcement in Galgus’s commitment to its consolidation as a reference provider in the European Commission’s WiFi4EU (WiFi for Europe) program. A project, with which the European Union wants to promote WiFi connectivity for citizens in public spaces such as parks, squares, official buildings, libraries, health centers, museums, etc. To achieve this, it has provided a budget of 120 million euros between 2018 and 2020 that will be allocated to the deployment of state-of-the-art WiFi equipment in public life centers.

To date, and within the framework of this pan-European project, Galgus has deployed its WiFi solution in around twenty locations throughout Spain. “It’s great to feel that we are helping to bridge the digital divide in so many places. With digitization, the business, development, and growth opportunities for these towns will undoubtedly grow exponentially”, Gonzalez stressed.


British Airways

British Airways’ award-winning on board magazine, High Life, is moving online to ba.com and will offer access to content for customers before, during and after a flight.

Created with publishing house, Cedar, the magazine will also include a new section for Business Life which will replace the current on-board paper versions of both publications.

Each issue will include monthly audio stories, photo experiences and live panels so customers can experience the magic of travel on the go wherever they are in the world. The magazine will continue to feature first person stories from travel experts and carefully curated guides for exploring cities across the world.

As well as trusted travel content, High Life digital will keep customers updated with any changes to the airline’s customer experience and route network. The new digital format also means that the airline can update content in real-time with any developments in this Covid-19 era.

The magazine will be emailed to five million Executive Club customers every month and customers can download the magazine on board, using the airline’s in-flight WIFI for free. This airline definitely has one of the best WiFi services a business could have.

High Life will also continue to offer British Airways’ partners and advertisers new opportunities to reach the airline’s customers with products and offers, through BA media*

Hamish McVey, British Airways’ Head of Brand and Marketing said: “Our High Life magazine has been a source for travel inspiration for our customers for nearly half a century. When we trialled moving High Life online at the beginning of this year, it was a great success.

“We know our customers value technology and a contactless journey, especially in the current climate, so we are delighted to now be able to provide over five million customers a month with digital High Life.  We hope this new digital magazine will help customers plan their holidays with our expert holiday guides, as well as provide the latest information as we make important changes to our customer experience.”

Clare Broadbent, Cedar’s CEO said, “High Life online is now here: online, on email, and on board through your personal device, bringing wonderful and trusted travel inspiration to bigger audiences than ever before. With High Life’s mix of expert writers, photographers and audio-visual storytellers sharing the latest travel ideas from around the world, we can’t wait to help travellers to dream, plan and take off in 2020 and beyond.”

The airline’s on-board magazine, first took to the skies 47 years ago in 1973 and has provided British Airways’ customers with inspiration ever since. The magazine has document significant milestones in the airline’s history including the launch of Concorde and the A380, as well as featuring cover stars such as Sir Paul McCartney, Tracey Emin, Idris Elba and HRH The Prince of Wales.

Click here to visit High Life


Satcom Direct

Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, has achieved a significant milestone for its FlightDeck Freedom® datalink service by activating its 2,000th aircraft. The head-of-state customer signed for the service to take advantage of its unique configuration options, ability to integrate third-party flight planning services, evolving compliance support, and the streamlining of flight crew and ground operations workflow.

Specifically designed for business and military aviation, FlightDeck Freedom® features an open architecture design to support every type of avionics and datalink-capable airframe and can be customized to meet each customer and/or aircraft platform’s mission needs.  On launch in 2007 it was the first datalink service to give customers the freedom – hence the name –  to select, upload from, and communicate with preferred third-party trip planning services and today is still the only datalink service provider with a comprehensive offering of flight planning options.  FDF also continues to be the only service that supports flight deck and cabin communications enabling crew to monitor connectivity and troubleshoot issues in real time to better manage passenger expectations.

In addition, FDF enhances operational safety through direct delivery of automated notifications including hazardous weather, route and security alerts, and supports real time aircraft and fleet tracking worldwide, which can be monitored from the ground and in the air. The unique GeoNotification feature details when aircraft are approaching a defined geographic area which may affect connectivity or be defined as sensitive airspace.

Integrated with SD Pro®, the digital flight operations management system, data shared through FDF synchronizes flight crew with ground operations keeping team members informed about aircraft performance in real time to support improved flight operations, budgeting and maintenance scheduling.  FDF also supports fleet compliancy with FANS, ADS-C and CPDLC to meet evolving Air Traffic Control safety requirements and the changing landscape of business aviation operations.

“Our focus is to always enable our customers to manage their flights and operations using the services, products and systems that best suit their needs. FDF was one of our first services built using open architecture to allow integration of third-party services. Reaching this milestone demonstrates the market’s hunger for integrated services that streamline the workflow. As the digitization of aviation continues to evolve, we will continue adapting and modifying our products to meet the changing requirements of flight crew, ground operations and the business aviation infrastructure,” says President of Satcom Direct Business Aviation, Chris Moore.


ASM

Aircraft Systems and Manufacturing, Inc. (ASM), a wholly-owned subsidiary of JANA, Inc., announced it has achieved FAA Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) after completing the extensive application and preparatory effort coordinated through the FAA’s Delegation Systems Certification Office. This appointment allows ASM’s ODA unit to conduct an array of aircraft design certification functions and approvals typically provided by the FAA.

This designation enables ASM to directly provide certification approvals for avionics and aircraft system integration solutions for Part 25 aircraft, functions which are typically conducted by the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service. This provides aerospace companies with a much shorter path to certification as it bypasses the lengthy wait times often associated with submitting documents to the FAA for review and approval.

“This is a big step forward for us as an organization,” says ASM President Edward A. (Ean) Niland. “It not only shows the faith that the FAA has in our people and our processes, but it allows us to streamline the STC certification process for the airlines, MRO’s and equipment OEM’s that we work with, which is as important in this current business climate as it ever has been.”

Pete Chilsen, ASM’s Vice President of Sales, believes that the company’s new designation will provide much needed relief to certification project timelines for companies throughout the aviation industry. “Our designation as an ODA allows us to offer our customers a much higher level of service than we ever could have before. It gives aircraft owners, operators and integrators a new path toward expedited certification, which has been a serious issue for many of them in the past few years. The sheer volume of new and supplemental aircraft type design certification programs continues to increase, and we are proud to be able to offer our services to supplement the diligent efforts of the FAA.”


Airbus: August In Review

Airbus’ 2020 gross orders by August 31st totaled 370 aircraft with net orders of 303,  after the year’s cancellations. The company registered 1 new order for an ACJ320neo and no cancellations in August.

In August, Airbus delivered a total of 39 aircraft spread out between  35 A320 Family aircraft including the first A321neo to Gulf Air, two A330 including the first A330-900 to Portuguese carrier Orbest and two A350.

Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of August 31st stood at 7,501 comprising  524 A220s, 6,091 A320 Family aircraft (including 6,034 A320neo Family), 319 A330s (including 285 A330neo Family), 558 A350 XWBs and nine A380s.


China Eastern Airlines Uses Big Data From ‘Clear Your Plate’ Initiative

“Wow! You finished all your food. Well done, little handsome,” a stewardess said to a little boy on flight MU5427 of China Eastern Airlines (China Eastern) on August 18. The praise aroused a round of warm applause from other passengers.

The occasion described above was actually a common scene on flights of China Eastern since the company actively joined the nationwide “Clear Your Plate” initiative 2.0 against food waste in China with actual practice.

China Eastern has asked flight attendants to verbally remind passengers to not waste food and take only what they need, and added labels with the words “‘Clear Your Plate’ initiative” onto the packages of in-flight meals.

Besides in-flight friendly reminders of the initiative, China Eastern has also put up eye-catching signboards bearing slogans such as “Take as much as you need, and say ‘no’ to food wastage”, as well as “Strictly practice thrift and oppose waste” in its VIP rooms at airports across the country.

Moreover, the company has taken advantage of big data in in-flight meal preparation and established an effective food preparation scheme as part of the efforts to curb food wastage.

According to relevant statistics, the system can save about 100 kg to 150 kg of food materials on a daily basis for the in-flight meal processing workshop of China Eastern in Shanghai alone.

In order to make sure the amount of food prepared for each flight is reasonable, China Eastern’s catering staff now pay real-time attention to flight information and changes in passengers’ seats through the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system of the company, and adjust the amount of food for flights timely before delivery.

Recently, China Eastern launched an innovative “souvenir-like” snack for long-haul flights which are not during breakfast or dinner time, substituting home-made exquisite cakes, bread, fruit and desserts kept in lunch boxes or bags for the previous airline snacks, so that passengers can take the snacks away if they could not finish them on the plane.


OTHER NEWS

Gogo’s new 3,000ft service altitude is giving AVANCE customers 20 more minutes of inflight Wi-Fi time: Here are 6 productive ways to spend it. Ask any busy professional, and they’ll all agree that time is their greatest, and most limited, asset. That’s why Gogo worked tirelessly to lower its network service altitude from 10,000ft AGL to just 3,000ft. It’s a big change that will give Gogo AVANCE customers, on average, an extra 20 minutes of inflight connectivity. Plus, for the first time ever, smaller aircraft that don’t typically fly above 10,000 feet will now have the opportunity to enjoy seamless inflight connectivity for the majority of their flight.

Why is 20 more minutes of Wi-Fi a big deal? Here’s a list of 6 productive things you could do to make valuable use of your flight time:

1. Join a Zoom or Teams group meeting – Connect live with your colleagues sooner, and for longer during your flight.

2. Download The Pomodoro Technique on Audible – Learn how to use this legendary time management strategy. The Pomodoro Technique (Audiobook) by Francesco Cirillo | Audible.com

3. Check and reply to your email – On average, professionals check their email 15 times per day, or every 37 minutes.

4. Watch Simon Sinek’s: How Great Leaders Inspire Action – This TED talk is 18 minutes and hugely popular. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action | TED Talk

5. Binge on the news – On the Gogo network, the most popular sites with business travelers are Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, NBC, the New York Times and ESPN.

6. Schedule a ride and find a great place to eat

According to Gogo bizav customers, Yelp and Uber are 2 highly valuable personal apps.
There’s so much more you can do to maximize 20 extra minutes. And connecting at lower altitudes is yet another example of why AVANCE is connectivity’s smartest platform: allowing Gogo to quickly and easily deploy new innovations for our customers.


PANASONIC

Air Tanzania has selected Panasonic Avionics’ (Panasonic) inflight entertainment (IFE) and connectivity systems to enhance the passenger experience onboard its Airbus A220 aircraft. The airline has equipped two of its A220s with Panasonic’s eX1 IFE solution which is specifically designed for narrowbody aircraft. Each seat will feature elegant full HD seatback monitors, complete with touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface. Passengers will have access to USB and laptop charging power points at every seat.

Air Tanzania’s A220s will also be fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service. Panasonic’s next generation connectivity enables fast internet to video streaming, all powered by its new satellite modem featuring bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

The announcement marks the extension of Panasonic’s relationship with Air Tanzania following the airline’s selection of its inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions for two of its Boeing 787 aircraft and two Airbus A220s in 2018. “By selecting Panasonic’s inflight entertainment and connectivity systems, Air Tanzania can deliver personalized, immersive entertainment to every passenger, no matter where in the cabin they are seated,” said Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “These inflight experiences will help Air Tanzania encourage brand loyalty, keeping their valued customers coming back time and time again.”

The flag carrier of Tanzania was the first African airline to take delivery of the A220 in November 2018 and January 2019. It operates a fleet consisting of the Dash 8-Q400, Airbus A220 and Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. “Operating our new A220 equipped with Panasonic’s IFE and Wi-Fi service brings together the right culture, values, and expertise to fulfil our goal of satisfying our customers—which is part of our vision.” said Eng. Ladislaus Matindi, CEO & Managing Director of Air Tanzania. “The installation of Panasonic’s systems allow ATCL operations to adjust to the new market realities. With highly-standardized facilities, Air Tanzania will expand its geographic reach by merging with other partners—especially foreign ones. This will also further strengthen our operations through more innovative strategies and allow us to remain competitive in today’s emerging markets.”

Also from PAC: Panasonic Avionics Corporation has announced the appointment of Joe Bentley as Chief Technology Officer.

Bentley, who joins Panasonic, will be responsible for leading all aspects of the company’s software and systems engineering teams, cloud, hardware, and IT/security. He will serve as a key member of Panasonic’s executive team and be directly responsible for an organization of over 800 employees spread across Panasonic’s Lake Forest, California headquarters, as well as the Bay Area office and other global locations.

Bentley was previously Senior Vice President, Engineering at Hulu where he led its 700-person engineering, program, and research organizations across three international offices. During his tenure, Hulu doubled subscribers to over 30 million while becoming the largest digital multichannel video programming distributor (DMVPD) in the US. Prior to joining Hulu in 2018, Bentley was Vice President, Software Engineering at GoPro, leading the company’s overall software research and development and launching its award-winning mobile apps to over 150 million devices worldwide and bringing its spherical Fusion camera to market. From 2012-2015, he was Director, Digital Products at Amazon, where he launched the market-leading Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick and led the development of the first-of-its-kind feature, the award-winning Voice Search through Alexa. Fire TV Stick was the fastest-selling product in Amazon’s history.


BOEING

Boeing and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, have finalized agreements for several supply chain solutions. These agreements strengthen Etihad’s commitment to ensuring the on-time performance and availability of its aircraft. The solutions included in the minimum 10-year agreements will help the airline simplify asset and maintenance management, reduce spare parts costs and improve parts availability. The new contracts include Boeing’s Component Services Program, Landing Gear Exchange program and Quick Engine Change kit purchases.

The agreements continue the strategic partnership between Boeing and Etihad Airways announced during the Dubai Air Show in 2019.

Etihad Airways joins the growing list of customers that trust Boeing solutions to enable and support the future growth of their 787 Dreamliner fleet, pushing the Boeing share of the 787 fleet’s component services market to almost 30 percent. This includes a 50 percent share of the 787-10 variant, covering both in-service fleet and orders on backlog.

Also from Boeing: FAA says when it issues NPRM for AD affecting the 737 MAX, it will keep commitment to transparency and provide 45 days for public comment on proposed design changes and crew procedures, which would most likely mean the aircraft will not return to service until 4Q20 at earliest. (SpeedNews)

And more Boeing News: DHL Express and Boeing announced that it will add four 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF) as part of the logistics company’s efforts to continue modernizing and growing its fleet with cost-efficient and reliable freighters. This step is part of DHL’s effort to modernize its long-haul intercontinental fleet in order to fly more eco-friendly and cost-efficiently. The aircraft are converted from passenger to freighter configuration by Boeing to fit the needs of DHL Express and meet the rising global demand for express services.
The world’s most efficient medium wide-body twin-engine freighter, the Boeing 767 freighter family boasts the lowest direct operating costs, best payload-to-weight ratio and allows airlines to develop new opportunities in the long-haul, regional and feeder markets. The 767-300BCF has virtually the same cargo capability as the 767-300F production freighter with approximately 50 tonnes structural payload at a range of approximately 3,000 nautical miles (5,556 kilometers) and 412,000 pounds (186,880 kilograms) maximum takeoff weight.

 


OTHER NEWS

Today’s Image: the new Airbus A330-200 MRTT air-bridge flight between Europe and China delivering additional face mask supplies to support the COVID-19 crisis.


ECLIPSE GLOBAL CONNECTIVITY & DISPLAY INTERACTIVE

Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive have signed a strategic agreement to provide end-to-end Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions to airlines and business aviation operators worldwide. The agreement, which came into effect on March 15, 2020, sees Eclipse Global Connectivity taking an equity position in Display Interactive (DI) and becoming their first industry-based shareholder.

“This agreement brings our relationship to a new level,” said Marc Pinault, CEO Eclipse Global Connectivity. “We have a long-standing relationship with Display Interactive and we are con – dent that our respective partners and customers will see an immediate benefit from this partnership. We are combining the quality and flexibility of DI’s proven wireless solution for air- lines with the technical, design and security expertise of our own connectivity systems, plus our long-time engineering and certification know-how. As a result, we can o er a comprehensive IFE solution to our customers.”

Highlighting the value that the partnership will bring to airline operators, Display Interactive’s CEO, Tarek El Mitwalli says, “Over the past 18 months, Display Interactive has invested heavily in the transformation of its wireless entertainment solution into an engagement and ancillary plat- form—focused on revenue generation. Adding connectivity will multiply revenue opportunities and open new business models for airlines.”

Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive are creating a one-stop shop for airlines, to streamline the implementation process, roll-out and service operation. Airlines, including Qatar Airways, Corsair International, and the former Joon / Air France, rely on DI’s solutions. British Airways, Philippine Airlines, and Ethiopian airlines, among others, y with Eclipse Technics, the aircraft modification arm of Eclipse Global Connectivity, solutions on board. Leveraging this expertise in technical design, kit manufacturing, STCs and engineering studies, both companies will o er an end-to-end inflight entertainment and connectivity solution under a single point of contact and a unique SLA (Service Level Agreement), reducing costs and delays.

Intending to demonstrate immediate benefits, Eclipse Global Connectivity and DI are launching a new entity based in Shanghai, China, which will be jointly operated under a new name. The company will commence operations in mid-2020, the schedule slightly impacted by the CO- VID-19 pandemic.

The new company will provide a customized, localized version of the complete Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive IFEC solution, fully integrated into the Chinese aero and digital ecosystems.

“Our main goal is to serve Chinese airlines directly in-country,” observed Thierry Carmes, COO at DI. “This means customizing our solution to fully meet airline- and business-partner-specific requirements, as well as supporting their programs and operations locally on a day-to-day basis. We are keen to demonstrate that our IFEC model will work in China—with the same benefits and performance as elsewhere. This is an invigorating challenge, and a deep motivation for our local teams, particularly since many connectivity programs have not yet delivered expected results.”

“Airline demand for airborne connectivity in China is growing, but not satisfied yet,” explained Marc Pinault. “Our strategy is to bring solutions that are already in common use in Europe or the Middle East, and deliver them with the Chinese operator and passenger specifically in mind. Our shared intention is to adapt and to become an integral part of the Chinese IFEC ecosystem.”

Display Interactive and Eclipse Global Connectivity are looking forward to providing cost-effective, innovative IFEC solutions that generate ancillary revenues, and being ready for when the aviation industry ramps-up service again in a few months. Their overriding aim is to offer a complete off-the-shelf solution from nose-to-tail, that ts all kinds of aircraft and delivers a visionary passenger experience and benefits for operators.


Editorial Courtesy of VT Miltope: Software Defined Cabin Wireless Networks

For two decades, cabin wireless functionality has been driven by aviation standards such as ARINC 763 and ARINC 628 Part 1. The industry has evolved through IEEE 802.11a to 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6). Each time the “standards upgrade” resulted in a higher functionality, often simply related to higher data throughput rates.

Unfortunately, these evolving standards resulted each time in changing radio equipment; subsequently, driving new access point hardware designs. At that time the technological race between the various vendors was determined by who was able to adapt the previous “box” to the new standard faster.

Meanwhile the factors that drive the evolution of the value and services generated by, and with, the cabin Wi-Fi networks for passengers and airlines are no longer just determined by the latest transmission standard. They are driven by various other functionalities of the Wi-Fi network that can be implemented through software solutions and do not necessarily need a change in hardware. The system complexity shifts from designing new hardware towards establishing a hardware infrastructure that can handle continuous functionality or performance improvements via software changes.  Software becomes the leading design entity creating value and flexibility, with hardware providing the processing platform.

Two examples for such software based added-value solutions are Hotspot 2.0 -allowing for seamless Wi-Fi roaming between different providers, systems and modes of transportation – and the embedding of Cyber Security applications to incorporate continuous network monitoring and anomaly detection as essential functionalities of the systems operation.

Miltope Corporation’s next generation cabin wireless solution, the xMAP, is driven by this evolved design philosophy. It enables the xMAP to be an adaptable foundational component to any wireless network in the aircraft.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation announced actions the Company has taken to address the impact the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is having on the aerospace industry and its business. Peter Gundermann, Astronics Chairman and CEO, noted, “This is an unprecedented situation in our industry and we have to take measurable actions. First and foremost is the safety of our team members. We have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols, increased spacing of workstations, work-from-home wherever possible, minimization of visitors, meetings and travel as well as emphasizing the importance of personal hygiene and responsibility.”


AIRBUS

Airbus has deployed a new air-bridge flight between Europe and China to deliver additional face mask supplies to France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom health systems in support of the COVID-19 crisis efforts (today’s rectangle). The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 undergoing conversion as Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), took off on 26 March at 19.15 local time (CET) from Airbus’ Getafe site near Madrid. (Spain) reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin (China) on 27 March. The aircraft, operated by an Airbus crew, returned to Spain on 28 March at 04.05 local time (CET) with a cargo of more than 4 million face masks. In recent days, Airbus had already organized flights from Europe and China with A330-800 and A400M aircraft to donate thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury provides an update on the Company’s action to support the fight against Covid-19.
 Airbus CEO statement on Covid-19 – YouTube

The Spanish Government announced new measures on 29 March in the fight against COVID-19. These measures are taking effect between Monday 30 March and Thursday 9 April inclusive and restrict all non-essential activities across the country. Some key activities in Commercial Aircraft, Helicopters and Defence and Space remain essential. Minimum activity in these areas for necessary support functions such as Security, IT, Engineering, will remain under the stringent health and safety measures implemented by Airbus to protect its employees against the COVID-19 pandemic. All other activities in Commercial Aircraft, Defense and Space as well as Helicopters in Spain will be paused until 9 April, the date when it is foreseen that restrictions will be lifted. Airbus will closely work with its social partners to apply the social measures applicable under the latest restrictions. Airbus employees in Spain whose jobs are not linked to production and assembly activities and can work from home will continue to support Airbus business continuity in these difficult times. As a leading company, Airbus needs to retain its ability to support the global crisis efforts, support customers, suppliers and continue to bring its essential contribution to society.


BOEING

Boeing announced a temporary suspension of production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities in light of the state of emergency in Washington state and the company’s continuous assessment of the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region. These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers. Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations. During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work.

Editor’s Note: Boeing said they will be using 3D printing to develop and build face shields for medical personnel. They intend to transport the mask cargo on a Dreamliner – all this with their advanced technology and engineering personnel.


COVID-19


OTHER NEWS

Challenges and Opportunities In Today’s IFE Market

By: Juraj Siska of IdeaNova

Building an IFE system into an airline platform is more attainable than ever before. With advancements in technology and a growing proportion of younger passengers expecting entertainment during their flight, integration is both affordable and necessary. Although there are some challenges, there are also many opportunities to include an IFE system in your airline.

Challenges to Including IFE on Your Aircraft

IFE providers need to pay attention to studio requirements, which have increased significantly for display as well as headend servers located on the aircraft.  These requirements range from various operational procedures which are there to ensure data integrity, to authenticity and the ability to handle a wide range of common malicious activities such as physical theft.  Another group of requirements is specific to the hardware the IFE providers choose to either play or stream media content.  For example, to stream higher quality video (content that is higher than Standard Definition) displays and headend servers must be equipped with hardware components that ensure hardware based protection for managing and using content keys.  This is a shift that has recently been documented by studios and industry representatives in the Apex 0415 v2 specification.

Opportunities to Include IFE on Your Aircraft

However, even with studio challenges, content is also more accessible – directly in-browser, eliminating the need for the download of applications or browser plugins (a nuisance that was finally put to bed when the majority of browser vendors stopped supporting plugins).  Content is also more standardized, allowing interoperability between products from Apple, Microsoft and Google.  This results not only in a better user experience but also operational efficiencies gained by deploying only one set of content that can be played equally well on Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android phone or tablet.

There is also an increasing amount of content being made available, ranging from standard Hollywood studio content to independent movies or video created by famous Internet celebrities – widely sought by especially younger audience.

An important opportunity has emerged in IFE, and that is affordability.  The cost of an IFE system is rapidly decreasing.  This is enabled by the cost of hardware (Moore’s law) and the ability to stream content directly to personal devices.  Retrofitting cabins with new displays and wires can be costly and time consuming, but the implementation of a portable IFE system that streams wirelessly to passengers’ personal devices is much simpler and faster to rollout.  Improvements in wireless technology also aid in this trend, by making wiring between IFE servers and displays no longer necessary.  Additionally, new wireless specs (e.g. WiFi 6 and LiFi) are eagerly anticipated by the industry to bridge IFE technology to all aspects of aviation.  A common misconception is that IFE needs to be accompanied with IFC.  While connectivity is important and adds to overall passenger satisfaction, it is not mandatory for a functional IFE.  This drives the cost further down.

IFE Can Be Part of Your Airline Operations

It is always advantageous to be apprised of the capabilities that a new technology can bring to the table in the form of improved passenger experience or optimized workflow.  We are at a junction in IFE where what used to be an expensive value proposition, affordable for only the largest airlines, is now realistic and accessible to all aircraft operators.  Airlines and operators should embrace this opportunity to improve the passenger experience and retain customers.


AIRBUS

Benefiting from a maximum take-off weight increase to 251 tonnes, the A330neo offers a significant 650-nautical mile boost in range – or six tonnes more payload – when compared to the A330neo’s current 242-tonne version. This increase in range responds to evolving market needs, enabling airlines to benefit from the unique economics of the A330neo on even longer routes. Taking to the skies for the first time this past week from Toulouse, France, was the 251-tonne A330-900 – which provides the perfect fit for longer trans-Pacific or Asia-Europe routes. The A330-900 is the longer-fuselage A330neo version, seating 260-300 passengers in a typical three-class cabin configuration. The shorter-fuselage A330-800 – which accommodates 220-260 passengers in a three-class configuration, will open up very-long-range Pacific routes for the 251-tonne version, while delivering the lowest seat-mile cost in its category.

Since the beginning of the year Airbus logged net orders for 274 commercial aircraft from its A220, A320 and A350 XWB product lines in activity. During the month of February, Airbus recorded no new orders. In February Airbus delivered 55 aircraft to 35 customers. Single-aisle deliveries in February involved 40 A320 Family aircraft (composed of 37 NEO versions and three in the CEO configuration); plus four A220s. For Airbus widebody aircraft, seven A350 XWBs were provided in the A350-900 configuration and two A350 XWBs in the A350-1000 configuration; along with two A330 Family aircraft (composed of one NEO version and one CEO). Airbus registered three new airlines in its A320neo operator base this month and among the month’s notable deliveries was the first A350-900 delivered to AEROFLOT out of 22 aircraft of the type on order. Airbus’ backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 29th of February stood at 7,670. This total was comprised of 6,209 A320 Family aircraft and 547 A220s, as well as 328 A330s, 577 A350 XWBs and nine A380s.

The overall total orders logged by Airbus since its creation to 20,382 commercial aircraft, which includes 15,522 A320 Family aircraft, 1,823 A330s, 935 A350 XWBs, 658 A220s and 251 A380s.


SITA

How Will 5G Transform Air Travel?

SITA, the leading IT provider for the air transport industry, has made six predictions about how ultra-fast 5G networks will bring major change for airports, airlines, and passengers. With download speeds of up to 400MB per second, 5G will be a game-changer.

The potential for innovation is huge and airports, airlines, and passengers will feel the force of 5G in very different ways. SITA’s predictions are based on unique IT insights and emerging air transport industry technology trends. They follow hot on the heels of 5G trials like the recent ones carried out by both London Gatwick Airport and Beijing’s new Daxing International Airport services which signpost our entry into a new era of ultra-connected air travel. Gilles Bloch-Morhange, VP SITA Platform, said: “5G is already enhancing our existing applications at airports, for aircraft communications, airport operations, baggage management, and of course passenger processing. And it’s impossible to talk about 5G without discussing Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and the other applications it enables. We’re already using 4G for IoT applications for several applications around our biometric passenger processing solution, such as Smart Path and baggage management and the uptake of 5G will provide many more opportunities.” 5G is coming fast. According to CSS Insight data*, there will be 340 million 5G connections globally by 2021 and a staggering 2.7 billion by 2025, mostly in developed markets. In money terms, in the aviation industry 5G amounted to just USD 0.2 billion in 2019 but is projected to reach USD 4.2 billion by 2026.

Fast forward: how will we use 5G in 2025?

5G will be the lifeblood of IoT

5G will soon be commonplace at airports and the idea of everything intelligently connected to everything will be viable.

The Internet of Things (IoT) brings the inherent need to manage increasing amounts of objects and therefore data. Today’s 4G technology can manage around 10,000 devices in each square kilometer; a 5G network can manage a million. Multiple objects at airports will interact with people and objects will interact among themselves. With 5G, connectivity will be much more fluid and flexible. The new networks will enable massive data flows, providing secure, real-time, predictive and historic views of airport operations. This will make collaboration between airports, airlines, ground handlers, air traffic managers and concession holders easier and effective. The result will be the intelligent monitoring of queues throughout the airport and tracking and controlling autonomous vehicles that assist passenger journeys. Vehicles on the ramp will be served by connected smart tugs and baggage carts. Wheelchairs, mobile kiosks, and robotic assistants will be controlled remotely. It is not all about bandwidth. 5G’s low latency will make autonomous vehicles much safer. With signals going up to 100 times faster than 4G, the speed of digital instructions will make the difference between a vehicle traveling tens of meters or just a few centimeters before taking corrective action.

5G will power air transport-specific AI applications

5G connected Artificial Intelligence (AI) will solve major pain points at airports and borders. For example, biometrically matching passengers to their bags will be simple. AI will be able to recognize unique scuff marks, creases, and material characteristics to distinguish between seemingly identical bags and match them to the correct passenger. AI-assisted computer vision will continually scan boarding gate areas and intelligently predict capacity issues for hand luggage on flights and enable staff to act accordingly before boarding.

5G will drive operational efficiency, increase ancillary revenues and cut costs.

Putting IoT and 5G together will offer great opportunities for airlines and airports to unlock the value of all their data to deliver tangible business benefits. All airport assets will be connected, making monitoring efficiency and optimizing usage much simpler. It will, for example, provide the tools to make vehicle usage around the airport more efficient, delivering considerable savings in fuel costs and overall resources, including labor.

5G will mean exploitation of the potential of ‘flying data centers’

5G will enable the next-generation aircraft to exchange vast amounts of data around the airport and at the gate. The fast transmission of aircraft data, and analysis of that data, will enable pro-active maintenance, quicker aircraft turn-around, more on-time departures and, most importantly, an improved customer experience. Convergence of 5G and satellite communications will serve the end-to-end approach of the aircraft as an IoT-flying device, connecting it with all the relevant systems. Airports will control Wi-Fi quality and have improved disruption management capabilities We see opportunities in licensed and unlicensed 5G spectrums thanks to new 5G standards. Airports will have more control of quality of service in their private and public spaces, converging 5G with Wi-Fi networks to create a seamless mobile experience, with continuous connectivity.

5G is likely to replace the commonly used digital radio communications service TETRA, which is only voice-enabled, for operational and mission-critical services, providing a secure network for running airport operations. Airport staff will have access to real-time rich video updates and live feeds based on evolving scenarios and locations, as well as CCTV feeds for computer vision analysis for many functions and enabled remote biometrics.

5G will deliver the digital traveler promise

For passengers, real-time augmented reality and personalized mobile services will be provided, combining all data exchanged from the various applications and interactions with the building and objects. The airport will provide passengers with relevant, contextualized information and services to assist and entertain them. HD films will download in seconds, entire series will be available to watch offline almost instantly and passengers will be able to live stream sports events in crystal clear quality, no matter how busy the airport.


OTHER NEWS

  • IATA is now projecting global passenger revenue losses of $63b-$113b in 2020 due to the Coronavirus outbreak; no estimates are yet available for the impact on cargo operations.
  • Curious about the size of the Airbus A380 vertical stabilizer? Check out number 7 in this image (#7 BrightSide photo – 20+ Things That Are So Awfully Big, It’s Inappropriate There are 22 people standing at the base! (Editor’s Note: The other images are amazing as well!)
  • Trying to figure where to move and get a tech job? San Francisco and a few other cities saw most growth in new tech jobs – Vox
  • If jet engine operation is a mystery to you – here is a good introduction to how they operate – How A Jet Engine Starts – YouTube
  • We Were Wondering: As the ‘virus’ blasts the airline industry, companies like Airbus and Boeing are going to feel their losses later this year. And speaking of Boeing, as upper management from New York, Chicago, or wherever, works to redevelop and rebuild the Boeing 737 MAX, we wonder if they have considered an upper level observation team of top retired expert design/management/manufacturing heroes (such as Alan Mullally, for example) who could provide teamed guidance/assistance/recommendations on the corrections to the ’737?

PANASONIC

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced an agreement with Nelco Limited (Nelco) to provide satellite connectivity services to customers flying into India and over Indian airspace. With this agreement, Panasonic becomes the first satellite communications provider to begin inflight connectivity (IFC) operations under Nelco’s Department of Telecommunications license for In-Flight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC), in accordance with the Flight and Maritime Rules. As a result of this agreement, Panasonic, and its subsidiary ITC Global, now offer connectivity to both aircraft and maritime vessels operating within India. With the implementation of the agreement and subject to regulatory approvals from relevant authorities, Indian full-service carrier Vistara may become the first airline in the country to offer satellite connectivity on international flights. With equipment already installed on more than 2,500 aircraft, vessels, and other platforms, Panasonic and ITC Global are already delivering connectivity services to customers in the aviation and maritime markets, providing them with access to satellite-based high-quality broadband internet services over India.

Panasonic’s inflight connectivity service is currently offered by more than 65 airlines globally. The GSAT 14 satellite will ensure that passengers onboard Panasonic-connected flights will enjoy a full suite of connected services while flying over Indian airspace or into India. At this time, over 700 aircraft from over 30 airlines installed with Panasonic’s connectivity solutions have begun using the GSAT 14 satellite. Panasonic’s inflight connectivity solutions will enable passengers to stay connected while they fly. Along with its subsidiary, AeroMobile, Panasonic is working with Nelco, the Department of Telecommunications – India, and local telecoms organizations to deliver seamless connectivity for data, text and voice services, accessible via a passenger’s mobile device in flight.

The service will be available on aircraft equipped with this service traveling across Indian airspace, and is expected to launch on Vistara in early 2020 – the first Indian-based airline to offer a service of this kind to passengers. Panasonic and Nelco have been working together to bring in-flight and maritime connectivity over India since March 2019. The agreement was signed by Panasonic, Nelco and Tatanet services on September 13, 2019. Since September, Panasonic and Nelco have been integrating networks to enable connectivity services using bandwidth from Indian satellites landing in Nelco’s teleport in Mumbai, India.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat announced that it will bring its world-leading maritime, aviation and enterprise connectivity solutions to customers based in Saudi Arabia through new partner agreements.

The company additionally announced that it has secured new spectrum licenses to deliver both its narrow-band (L-band) and high-capacity broadband (Ka-band), Global Xpress (GX), services in Saudi Arabia, enabling Saudi-based businesses to deploy these services for the first time. Fixed and mobile satellite telecommunications distributor Sada Al Ammah and Global Beam Telecom have been appointed as Inmarsat’s first distribution partners in Saudi Arabia and the region and they will work closely with Inmarsat’s Maritime, Aviation and Enterprise businesses to roll-out services in the region. Global Beam Telecom & Sada Al Ammah will work with Inmarsat’s Enterprise business to bring the benefits of its award-winning connectivity services to land-based users in the Middle East. Inmarsat’s Aviation business will work with Sada Al Ammah to deliver cockpit safety services and passenger cabin broadband Wi-Fi connectivity (GX Aviation for commercial airlines and Jet ConneX for business jets) to companies based in Saudi-Arabia, enabling airline and business aviation passengers to browse the internet, stream video and music, check and update social media and more during their flights. Inmarsat’s L-band network provides best-in-class connectivity services for users on land, at sea and in the air. The network enables a wide range of use cases such as fleet management, remote analytics, data transfer and other IoT/M2M applications in areas with non-existent or unreliable connectivity. Focus areas for these use cases will include oil and gas, transport and aid and non-governmental organizations (NGO). Further capacity is set to benefit customers in Saudi Arabia and beyond soon, as the recently-launched GX-5 satellite comes into commercial service in 2020, to meet the surging demand for high-capacity broadband across the skies and seas of Europe and the Middle East.


SITAONAIR

Ivory Coast carrier Air Côte d’Ivoire is extending its relationship with inflight connectivity partner SITAONAIR across its new fleet of A320neo aircraft, enabling enhanced levels of passenger satisfaction.

The deployment, due in September 2020, will see Air Côte d’Ivoire’s new fleet enter into service with both SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIR and Internet ONAIR Wi-Fi over Inmarsat’s cutting-edge GX Aviation network.

The airline’s selection is set to meet increasing passenger demand for the ultimate level of speed and seamless connection. SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR portal also provides Air Côte d’Ivoire with a host of additional services with the potential for new ancillary revenue, as well as personalized content for its passengers.The addition of SITAONAIR’s Mobile ONAIR services on top of enhanced Wi-Fi connections offers the airline and its passengers the best of both worlds. Passengers can enjoy a seamless mobile connection in the air, as on the ground, while increased connectivity bandwidth provides enhanced reliability.

Mr. René Decurey, Chief Executive Officer, Air Côte d’Ivoire, comments: “It’s true that passenger expectations are growing. There is also increasing pressure to provide tailored services that cover the breadth of our passengers’ needs and data consumption. As Air Côte d’Ivoire continues to concentrate on enhanced, new generation inflight connectivity services for true passenger satisfaction, SITAONAIR is the obvious, trusted partner to support our ambitions.”

Stephan Egli, Commercial VP Middle-East, Africa & Europe, SITAONAIR, adds: “Having previously deployed SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR solution over SwiftBroadband, the move to GX reflects Air Côte d’Ivoire’s dedication to delivering true passenger satisfaction that’s future-proofed. By offering mobile and Wi-Fi services onboard, SITAONAIR is able to provide an inflight connectivity service to passengers that delivers a unified, seamless and fast experience that costs less. SITAONAIR is proud to be Air Côte d’Ivoire’s long-term partner in this venture.”

Also from SITAONAIR:

SITAONAIR has been instrumental in the expansion of Very High Frequency (VHF) coverage throughout Turkey, during the development of the country’s largest new airport hub in Istanbul, which opened in April 2019. SITAONAIR’s expansion of the current VHF infrastructure enhances operations for airlines serving the regional domestic market and the country’s main airports. In addition to the 29 existing VHF antennae which currently serve Turkey’s main cities, including Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya, SITAONAIR is planning to install a further 14 at six additional sites across the country. This will include six new antennae at Istanbul Airport which opened its doors on 6 April 2019. Istanbul Airport covers around 76.5 square kilometers and plans to accommodate up to 200 million passengers per year upon the completion of all phases. The developments come at a time when Istanbul’s air transport management services face increasingly busy traffic through the flight corridor between Europe and Asia, which spans the region, following the recent closure of Istanbul Atatürk Airport.


SD

SD, the business, military, and government aviation solutions provider, is expanding its hardware portfolio with the launch of a new tail-mounted antenna series. The announcement, which heralds the launch of the SD Plane Simple antenna portfolio, positions SD as a single source provider of end-to-end connectivity solutions for business jet and government operators worldwide.

The new tail-mounted antenna system offers two variants for operation in Ku- or Ka-band frequencies. The Ku-band variant is expected to be available for STC in early 2021, followed by the Ka-band version later in the year. With only two line-replaceable units (LRUs) and a network agnostic design, the common form factor and wiring simplify the installation, which allows owners and operators to equip aircraft with a connectivity system compatible with future technological developments. Partnerships with Inmarsat for Jet ConneX service delivery and Intelsat for FlexExec connectivity have already been established.


IMMFLY

Immfly introduces Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. films on Club Express Onboard, the digital inflight entertainment and services platform it operates on Iberia Express. The airline surprises passengers on the Madrid-Copenhagen route by screening the Joker, the film which received the most Oscar nominations of any film in 2020. The crew provides earphones and mobile device holders to all passengers with which they can comfortably enjoy screening the film wirelessly using their smartphones while enjoying complimentary popcorn. Passengers who found themselves on the special celebratory flight, were surprised with free popcorn, earphones and mobile device holders to enhance their IFE experience. Immfly has progressively enhanced the Iberia Express IFE service since it first launched the pioneering service in 2014, helping the airline further boost its Net Promoter Score. Practically 50% of the passengers which access Club Express Onboard, the digital services and entertainment platform Immfly provides on Iberia Express, do so to consume entertainment content. Over a third of the users, 37%, enjoy movies, 18% opt for TV shows and 13% for digital press and magazines.


BOEING

Boeing and ANA HOLDINGS INC. (ANA HD) announced the Japanese airline group decided to acquire up to 20 more 787 Dreamliner airplanes (see today’s IFExpress rectangle). The agreement with Boeing includes 11 787-10s, one 787-9 and options for five 787-9s valued at more than $5 billion at list prices. The airline also plans to acquire three new 787-9 airplanes from Atlantis Aviation Corporation.

Once the agreements are finalized, it will be ANA’s sixth order for the ultra-efficient and passenger-pleasing Dreamliner and bring their overall 787 order book to more than 100 airplanes.

“Boeing’s 787s have served ANA with distinction, and we are proud to expand our fleet by adding more of these technologically-advanced aircraft,” said Yutaka Ito, Executive Vice President of ANA and ANA HD. “These planes represent a significant step forward for ANA as we work to make our entire fleet even more eco-friendly and further reduce noise output.”

With this order, the airline will add 11 of the largest and most fuel-efficient Dreamliner models, the 787-10 to its world-class fleet. Powered by a suite of new technologies and a revolutionary design, the 787-10 set a new benchmark for fuel efficiency and operating economics when it entered service in 2018. The airplane allows operators to achieve 25 percent better fuel efficiency per seat compared to older airplanes in its class.

ANA sees the 787-10 as the perfect airplane to replace previous domestic 777 models that are slated for retirement.

“Introducing the 787-10 on our domestic routes will help ANA Group maintain its leadership role and improve our ability to operate as a responsible corporate citizen,” Yutaka Ito said.

ANA became the global launch customer of the 787 Dreamliner when it placed its initial order in 2004. Since then, like half of all Dreamliner operators, the Japanese carrier has placed follow-on orders. However, ANA is in a class by itself as the world’s biggest 787 operator with 71 airplanes in its fleet and 12 more to be delivered prior to the latest agreement. The new deal will bring the 11 additional 787-10 airplanes, one 787-9 and options for five more 787-9 jets.

ANA is also in the launch customer group for Boeing’s new 777X.

“ANA has grown into one of the leading airline groups in Asia by continually raising the bar for customer satisfaction and investing in the most technologically-advanced and capable fleet. We are truly honored that ANA HD is coming back to order more 787 planes with plans to boost their Dreamliner fleet to more than 100 jets,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing, The Boeing Company. “We are confident that the unique capabilities of the 787-10 will continue to safely serve its passengers with best-in-class comfort and reliability.”

The 787 Dreamliner is playing an important role in reducing carbon emissions around the world. Since the first 787 entered commercial service in 2011, the Dreamliner family has saved more than 48 billion pounds of fuel. In addition, the 787 fleet’s noise footprint is 60 percent smaller than those of the airplanes it replaces.

ANA HD’s new 787 jets will be powered by GE’s GEnx-1B engines. The new engines will contribute to the 25 percent improved fuel efficiency per seat of the 787-10.

Also from Boeing:

Boeing announced it has dedicated the remaining $50 million of a previously announced $100 million fund to support humanitarian needs in communities affected by the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents. The Boeing Community Investment Fund will work directly with victims’ families to enable them to donate to eligible charities of their choosing. The company will partner once again with Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros on the fund’s creation, allocation and distribution. Feinberg and Biros will immediately begin working with families, governments and other interested parties to identify eligible charitable organizations. All monies distributed by Feinberg and Biros will be independent of any resolution provided through the legal process. ollowing months of extensive discussions with victims’ families, government officials, community leaders and others, we determined the best path forward – both for those who lost loved ones and the communities affected by these accidents – is to empower the families to decide how to allocate these funds,” said Tim Keating, Boeing’s executive vice president of Government Operations, who oversees the company’s charitable activities. “Through this donation, it is our hope the families will be able to honor their loved ones in a manner that is both personal and meaningful to them while also creating a lasting legacy in their communities around the world.”

Work also continues on the previously announced $50 million Boeing Financial Assistance Fund, which is providing near-term financial assistance to families of the victims.
“When we made our initial $100 million pledge, our first priority was to ensure that we provided families with immediate financial assistance,” said Keating. “Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros have made tremendous progress on that effort. Given their success and the trust they have built with the families, we have now asked Ken and Camille to oversee the important work of connecting families with the charitable organizations they deem most meaningful.”


OTHER NEWS

 

Well, Happy New Year everybody! It’s the beginning of 2020 and IFExpress is back with a lot of aviation news for you. Thanks for joining us and Stay Tuned!

2020 PREDICTIONS

  • “Fiber and free-space optical networks are coming to the cabin in 2020 – for higher bandwidth, weight reduction, and future-proofing.” – Rich Salter: Industry Consultant
  • “One more Management Change in Boeing because the 737 Max will not be settle this year.” – Anonymous
  • “Due to war in the Middle East, oil will go up 50% in spite of US oil production increases (as will gasoline prices.) Trump/Current Administration will further pull back Environmental Regulations in order to support the war and increase ‘contributor’s’ profits on the false presumption it is necessary to support war efforts.” – Anonymous
  • “China will surpass the USA in both technology and military development, esp. in area of hypersonic missile development.” – Anonymous
  • “Major hack of Defense Companies that will be covered up by the DoD.” – Anonymous
  • Bold and Outrageous Predictions for the Travel Industry in 2020 – Skift

SMARTSKY

SmartSky Networks has received an additional $25 million from funds managed by the Global Credit Opportunities team at BlackRock, after surpassing an important network deployment milestone on its way towards beginning commercial operations during the second quarter of 2020.

Funds managed by the Global Credit Opportunities platform at BlackRock previously committed to a $75 million credit facility, with $50 million drawn initially. The final $25 million was contingent upon the company making substantial progress on the nationwide network rollout, which it achieved in November. “SmartSky has consistently been able to attract capital from top companies because there is strong support for our technology in aviation connectivity,” said Haynes Griffin, SmartSky Chairman and CEO. “We appreciate the continued confidence from a respected and sophisticated firm such as BlackRock.” SmartSky is reinventing connectivity, building a new-generation network from the ground up with a novel single-beam-per-aircraft approach using both proven 4G LTE and emerging 5G technologies. After eight years of development backed by more than 140 patents and over 1,000 hours of flight testing, including by aircraft owners, airlines, fleet managers and journalists, SmartSky’s network is frequently called the best performing WiFi network in aviation as it progresses towards launch in 2020.

“Customers have a huge pent-up demand for a fully capable airborne network that provides a phenomenal 10x better experience in the sky while also opening significant possibilities for advancing aviation in maintenance, environmental, operational, financial, and other areas,” said Ryan Stone, SmartSky President.
SmartSky is maximizing the benefits of high-performance connectivity through its digital solutions platform, Skytelligence, which enables advanced applications and services. For example, SmartSky recently announced that Skytelligence services support its collaboration with the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) crowdsourced effort to mitigate and avoid turbulence in real time across the skies. The results are expected to lower turbulence related injuries, provide smoother flights, and save costly aircraft repairs for both business and commercial aviation.

SmartSky Networks is based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle and was formed in 2011 by senior telecommunications and aviation executives seeking to transform aviation through disruptive communications technologies and related tools. SmartSky is rolling out its innovative air-to-ground network in 2020. The network takes advantage of patented spectrum reuse, advanced beamforming technologies and 60 MHz of spectrum for significantly enhanced connectivity. SmartSky’s network uniquely enables a productive experience in the air similar to on the ground, including unmatched capacity for data transmissions both to and from the aircraft. This real-time, low latency, bidirectional data link makes SmartSky the best in-flight user experience, and a key enabler for the new and enhanced apps, services, and hardware.


AIRBUS

Airbus delivered 863 aircraft in 2019, according to unconfirmed reports; it had been projecting around 860.

U.S.-based Spirit Airlines has finalized a purchase agreement with Airbus for 100 A320neo Family aircraft. In October, the two parties had signed and announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the purchase of up to 100 of the aircraft – a mix of A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo – to meet the airline’s future fleet requirements. Spirit is based in South Florida and is the fastest-growing airline in the United States, with flights throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. The airline will announce an engine selection at a later date. Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the best-selling A320neo Family, comprising the A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo, will deliver a fuel-burn reduction of approximately 20% as well as 50% less noise compared to previous-generation aircraft, thanks to incorporating the very latest technologies including new-generation engines and Sharklets. Firm orders worldwide for the A320neo Family now have surpassed 7,300 from more than 110 global customers.


BOEING

Boeing announced that J. Michael Luttig, 65, valued Counselor and Senior Advisor to the Boeing Board of Directors, has informed the Board of his long-considered retirement at year end. Luttig, who served as Boeing’s General Counsel from 2006 until assuming his current responsibilities in May 2019, has been managing legal matters associated with the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents, and advising the Board on strategic matters.

On December 23, 2019 Boeing announced that its Board of Directors named current Chairman, David L. Calhoun, as Chief Executive Officer and President, effective January 13, 2020. Mr. Calhoun will remain a member of the Board. In addition, Board member Lawrence W. Kellner will become non-executive Chairman of the Board effective immediately. The Company also announced that Dennis A. Muilenburg has resigned from his positions as Chief Executive Officer and Board director effective immediately. Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will serve as interim CEO during the brief transition period, while Mr. Calhoun exits his non-Boeing commitments. The Board of Directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the Company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders. Under the Company’s new leadership, Boeing will operate with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the FAA, other global regulators and its customers. “On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I am pleased that Dave has agreed to lead Boeing at this critical juncture,” Mr. Kellner said. He added, “Dave has deep industry experience and a proven track record of strong leadership, and he recognizes the challenges we must confront. The Board and I look forward to working with him and the rest of the Boeing team to ensure that today marks a new way forward for our company.”
Mr. Calhoun said, “I strongly believe in the future of Boeing and the 737 MAX. I am honored to lead this great company and the 150,000 dedicated employees who are working hard to create the future of aviation.”


OTHER NEWS

We realize these following links are not aviation/IFEC related. However, the wild fires in Australia are a global concern. We have contacted our friends down-under and they are okay; however, they all need help down there – please get involved! Here are some noteworthy links on the subject:

Lastly, here is your free song (and video) to help ring in the New Year – hope you like Dwight Yoakam and his Long White Cadillac! Dwight Yoakam – Long White Cadillac official video – YouTube

IdeaNova

IdeaNova is a software company with a decade of experience in IT security and secure video streaming.  Inplay secure streaming pioneered distribution and integration of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies for modern Inflight Entertainment systems (IFE) and the Media and Entertainment industry. Their services and products are designed to reduce the complexities of delivering security solutions via attractive, reliable, state of the art technology to their clients. Inplay secure streaming delivers ready to use comments and end-to-end IFE software on passengers’ own devices or inseat displays. IFExpress had the opportunity ask Juraj Siska, CEO of IdeaNova, about some of their developments since our last interview last March.

  1.  Tell us about your Inplay Live TV player – what is unique about it?
    IdeaNove: Inplay Live is not only a player but a complete infrastructure to support streaming of live content to aircraft.  It is a solution that we have been working on for several years and while it leverages our existing Inplay components (e.g. the player as you mentioned), it provides us and our customers with a completely new set of features.  These are the features that take advantage of network available on connected aircraft to deliver live TV in a much more flexible, scalable and affordable way than what we see today.
  2. How does your new 3D player work? And any launch customers for it yet?
    IdeaNova: Our Inplay VR (virtually reality) has 360 view capabilities and to our knowledge is the only player that can play DRM content in VR.  This player has the same set of features and capabilities as our traditional players, but is capable of displaying secure, encrypted content on any VR device.  We are talking to several customers about this product.
  3. What is unique about the new IFE Portal that was a finalist for the 2019 APEX award?
    IdeaNova: Our IFE portal has been shortlisted to be among the three best IFE products this year. With this product, airlines can take advantage of rapid deployment of entertainment features on any IFE hardware.  Our portal provides massive customization features and is designed with the passenger in mind.  We wanted to reduce the obstacles that passengers have to go through when accessing IFE content.  With this main design principle, we built an IFE portal that is available in connected or disconnected mode, it takes passenger only one click to watch a movie and we also reduced the effort it takes to discover content.  With these convenience features we have not lost track of accessibility and security.  The portal and the player make it easier to enjoy movies for people with disabilities and is available in multiple languages.  On the back end, we have increased security of our DRM servers to be in compliance with new Apex specs without sacrificing user convenience when discovering and playing movies and TV shows.
  4. Any other new products or features coming out (esp. any submissions for the Crystal Cabin awards?)
    IdeaNova: We must constantly innovate so our company can remain relevant in this market.  With respect to the Crystal Cabin submission, we are especially proud of our partnership with North Central College, which is a university within a stones throw from our office.  This partnership allowed us to submit under the college category – a feature that we believe enhances our IFE portal in a more socially interactive way and makes passengers become part of a community of travelers.
  5. Anything happening on the DRM front – i.e., any new security provisions coming out for HDR or 4K Ultra content?
    IdeaNova: There are a lot of new changes, especially as a result of APEX spec 0415 v2.  As the studios are releasing higher and higher quality content to airlines, their requirements for content security are increasing.  These requirements can range from software adjustment, introduction of tamper proof components, which by the way could be very expensive, to changes in the way we build IFE hardware.
    Overall, these changes are necessary as they improve the security posture of IFE systems.  Here at IdeaNova we have recently made a major breakthrough with how we handle encryption using available IFE hardware.  This breakthrough allowed us to keep the cost of  the IFE software down while meeting studio requirements for higher quality content.

KID Systeme

The intelligent and smart cabin is a key element on Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 777 flying test bed and it is taking new technologies out of the lab and into the air – and to Frankfurt airport (Germany) on static display on November 19th and 20th. “Intelligent & Smart Cabin” (i+sCabin) is a research project for the definition of standards for connected cabin features that has been launched in 2018, comprising the industrial partners KID-Systeme, Bühler Motor, Diehl Aviation, Jeppesen, and Zodiac Aerospace (a Safran company).

The i+sCabin is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, which has identified the research project as an important component of their aviation research program, endorsing the prioritization of the project with a 3.9 million Euro grant.

With the Boeing Company and Etihad Engineering (part of the Etihad Aviation Group) this program has found premium sponsors which secures an international footprint for the achievements of this project. Prestigious university partners (the Baden- Württemberg Cooperative State University and the Hamburg University of Technology) are equally associated partners of the project as well.

Boeing’s 2019 ecoDemonstrator program includes connected cabin technologies in which the i+sCabin is a key part of 777 test bed. Flying test installations on board Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 777 will allow the i+sCabin team to test the principles of cabin communications standards, wireless communications sensor networks and smart functions of galleys very early in the envisioned environment. Also, the team will be able to collect data for predictive health monitoring, making the real-flight environment a valuable addition to the project’s test schedule.

i+sCabin is progressing well on schedule since its launch in 2018, with the main milestone of implementation and testing of the first version of the cabin communication standard expected towards the end of 2019 and in the course of 2020, and project finalization set for 2021.

As part of the ecoDemonstrator’s flight test program, Boeing is bringing the aircraft to Germany’s biggest airport in Frankfurt for a two-day program on November 19th and 20th. In addition, on November 20th the Etihad Aviation Group will invite to bilateral meetings between UAE and German representatives in order to discuss new future projects. The technology mission of Boeing’s 2019 ecoDemonstrator program will be presented on both days to government officials, industry representatives and STEM students to help inspire the next generation in aerospace leadership.”


Panasonic Avionics

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) named Ken Sain as chief executive officer. He succeeds Hideo Nakano, who has served as Panasonic Avionics CEO since 2017 and as deputy CEO prior to that.  Nakano will now serve as Special Advisor for Panasonic Avionics.

Sain, who most recently served as vice president of Digital Solutions and Analytics for Boeing Global Services and as CEO of Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen, will join Panasonic Avionics on December 2, 2019.

“We are excited to welcome Ken to the Panasonic team,” said Michael Moskowitz, chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the parent company of Panasonic Avionics. “His entrepreneurial spirit and proven track record in aviation will undoubtedly accelerate Panasonic’s customer-centric innovation and the digital transformation journeys of its airline customers.”

Hideo Nakano, chief executive officer of Panasonic Avionics, said, “Throughout his career, Ken has demonstrated tremendous leadership in change management and business growth. This proven legacy of success, combined with his expertise in developing and launching inflight digital solutions, will no doubt help accelerate our mission to make flying an experience everyone looks forward to.”

“Panasonic Avionics created the aviation industry’s first inflight entertainment solution 40 years ago and became the market leader through continuous innovation,” said Ken Sain. “I’m both honored and excited to join the talented Panasonic team to build upon this success and redefine the passenger experience of the future with our airline customers.”

Throughout his 25-year career, Sain has developed a broad mix of cross-functional leadership experience.  He is recognized as a passionate, customer-focused, aviation technology business leader with deep expertise in airline operations and maintenance.

Sain spent the last 14 years of his career with Boeing in various roles including strategy, technical engineering services and digital solutions.  In his most recent role leading Digital Solutions and Analytics, he oversaw significant growth in Boeing’s customer-facing digital solutions portfolio, using agile software development to launch new products and cloud-based solutions for airline and business aviation customers around the world.

Prior to Boeing, Sain was a principal with global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.  For over ten years, he specialized in business strategy, operations and top-line growth for major airlines, airline alliances and travel technology providers.

Sain holds a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Northwestern University.  After graduating from Northwestern, Sain was part of a small team to found Midway Airlines and subsequently served the airline in operations, market planning and as Director of Marketing.


Inmarsat

Generation Z (Gen Z – The LSE defines Generation Z as born between 1997 – 2012) are last-minute spenders when planning trips, presenting an opportunity for airlines to revolutionize inflight e-commerce and take revenue from elsewhere in the customer journey. New research from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), commissioned by Inmarsat Aviation, suggests that by 2028, Gen Z passengers will spend an average of $26 on travel purchases while on their flight. Generation Z is forecast to become the largest group of airline flyers globally within the next decade, with 1.2 billion flying each year by 2028 (Sky High Economics – Chapter Three: Capitalizing on Changing Passenger Behavior in a Connected World). The LSE estimates that this consumer group currently spends a collective $3.6 billion in items and services in the weeks leading up to a trip and upon arrival at their destination. These findings underscore a significant opportunity for airlines to shift spending onboard and to take a proportion of the revenue with an e-commerce model that supports the ‘last-minute’ approach of today’s ‘digital-first’ passengers. The research analyzed purchasing decisions made during three key phases of the customer journey before a holiday: more than a week before; in the days before; and upon arrival. It finds that Gen Z is the most likely of all generations to delay buying products and services for their trip until the days before they fly. While currently only one in ten passengers make an inflight duty-free purchase when they fly, there is a significant opportunity for airlines to monetize the growing trend for last-minute spending. According to the LSE, 70% of Millennials and Gen Z passengers indicate that they would delay arrangements for their trip until their flight if they knew that a reliable Wi-Fi connection would be available, and the necessary delivery infrastructure was in place (LSE Interviews 2017-2019).


OTHER NEWS

Editor’s Note: Next week we will have highlight coverage of the news from Dubai, including information relating to Airbus and Boeing – so stay tuned!

ASTRONICS

Astronics Advanced Electronics Systems (AES) introduces an onboard, innovative, aircraft cabin inductive Wireless Charging Module (WCM) that provides airlines and passengers with a convenient way to charge their wireless-enabled devices such as smartphones, MP3 players, cameras, and tablets. Astronics’ WCM provides wireless charging capability for passenger smart phones and other devices, and is ideal for both forward fit and aftermarket retrofit. Presently, we understand this product is slated for installation on business aircraft but we thought our readers would be interested in a technology application that could eventually migrate to the commercial marketplace. Wireless Charging Module | Astronics


PANASONIC

  • Cathay Pacific is bringing the latest live sporting events to inflight entertainment, starting with the 2019 Rugby World Cup, following an announced agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic). Cathay Pacific, which already offers three channels of live news inflight through Panasonic’s live television service, is enhancing this offering with the immediate addition of Sport 24 – a 24/7 live sports channel for airlines operated and owned by IMG – a global leader in sports, events and media – offered exclusively by Panasonic. With Panasonic’s live television platform and IMG’s exclusive sports programming, Cathay Pacific’s passengers will be able to watch live action from the 2019 Rugby World Cup, along with a host of the world’s most popular sporting events over the coming months including the English Premier League, Bundesliga, The Masters, Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, The Open Championship, Ryder Cup, Roland Garros, The Australian Open and Wimbledon.
    This exciting new addition to Cathay Pacific’s inflight entertainment offering is already live on the newest aircraft to enter its fleet – the technologically advanced Airbus A350, which offers unrivaled passenger comfort on the many routes it operates from Hong Kong including Auckland, Barcelona, Brussels, Cape Town, Christchurch, London Gatwick, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Melbourne, Singapore, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Vancouver. In addition to its live television service, Panasonic is the principal provider of inflight entertainment systems for Cathay Pacific’s fleet of over 130 aircraft.
  • LCS and Academy are finalizing a memorandum of understanding with Panasonic Avionics that will remove the pain of boarding a flight just as your team is gearing up to hit the LCS stage, or hours in the air without any action from the Rift to keep you company. Panasonic is set to become the exclusive in-flight partner of the LCS and Academy. This will enable aircraft equipped with Panasonic’s IFE systems to have access to LCS and Academy games as part of their expanding premium content offering, so fans never need miss out on League esports action again. The plan is for LCS and Academy games to be available from launch in a near live format.
  • Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, AeroMobile, and leading telecommunications operator TrueMove Thailand, a subsidiary of True Corporation Plc, partnered to launch an inflight data roaming bundle for their customers. The inflight bundle, which commercially launched in September 2019, will place inflight mobility at the heart of TrueMove Thailand’s roaming packages. As the first operator in the country to launch an inflight roaming bundle, this agreement further cements TrueMove Thailand‘s position as a market innovator and respected service provider, with a highly competitive offering that brings more value and a greater experience for their 28 Million+ customer-base.  Customers who subscribe to the inflight service will be able to use their mobile phones to browse the internet, send and receive emails, texts and calls and stay in touch with friends on social networks, whilst traveling on AeroMobile equipped aircraft. The service is currently available to post-paid customers that purchase the inflight bundle and will enable TrueMove Thailand’s customers to enjoy more value and convenience when traveling. AeroMobile provides technology and global coverage that allows the safe use of passengers’ own mobile phones onboard aircraft.

LUFTHANSA TECHNIK

Lufthansa Technik welcomed Chinese service provider Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd., which it will help in providing aircraft with the first ever inflight connectivity solution for the Chinese market. Further contract partners include Honeywell (antenna hardware provider) and China Satcom (satellite provider).

According to a new 5-year agreement, Lufthansa Technik will design and certify Ka-band-based connectivity retrofit packages for both the Airbus A320ceo and A320neo aircraft families as well as the Boeing 737NG and 737MAX. The company will also work with Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd. to provide the respective CAAC validated EASA Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) to support Chinese airlines. Moreover, Lufthansa Technik will take care of material supply and material handling services for the installation of the packages, that can be tailored to each of Air Esurfing’s airline customers and their specific requirements.
ARE, in full name Beijing Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd. , was founded in 2013, and is wholly owned by Yuehangyangguang Network Technology Co., Ltd.. Besides its headquarters in Beijing, ARE has also set up a technology research, development and testing center for its products in Shenyang. Conclusively, ARE has grown to be a one of a kind high-tech enterprise in China. Relying on its parent group’s advantages in traditional media & advertising operation in aviation, after years of hard working, ARE’s business evolved in many aspects of the aviation internet business chain. Thus, the company’s portfolio now comprises integrated IFEC solutions, the sale of aviation materials as a distributor, the integration of airborne Wi-Fi systems, the development and customization of onboard entertainment software, the offering of airworthiness modification solutions, and the distribution of advertising, film & television media rights in aviation. Moreover, ARE is engaged in various airborne internet business co-operations. Its three series products, the Star Joy, Star Wing and Star River service platforms developed by ARE, provide mature and customized aviation internet technology solutions and business operation solutions to airlines. Through its open, compatible and flexible business cooperation model, ARE has reached cooperation with many domestic airlines on the mutual construction and operation of an airborne aviation internet system.


SITA

Ghana Airports Company Limited extended its agreement with SITA to manage and support all airport passenger processing, baggage management, and airport operations systems across Kotoka International Airport’s newly commissioned Terminal 3 for the next five years. SITA’s technology will be vital in positioning the airport as the pre-eminent hub in West Africa, leading the way in passenger automation and operational efficiency. This follows SITA’s successful deployment of these systems to support the opening of the new terminal in October last year. These systems include common use check-in desks and self-service check-in kiosks, allowing the airport to maximize its capacity by enabling airlines to cost-effectively share the same infrastructure. The airport will also make use of SITA’s state of the art baggage management technology that will assist airlines in reconciling and tracking bags across the journey. On the operational side, SITA’s Airport Management Solution will simplify planning and real-time operational control by facilitating collaborative decision-making among stakeholders while optimizing the use of airport resources. It will also support revenue management with its billing and reporting functionality. Over the next five years, SITA will be responsible for the maintenance and operations of these key systems and integration with other airport systems


INFLIGHT VR

After weeks of thorough planning and development with the teams at SunExpress, LEGO, Pico Interactive and Lasker Cross-Media, Inflight VR’s branded, immersive #virtualreality passenger experience is now live on many XQ flights from #antalya – oh, and they are celebrating it with a uniquely painted Airbus A320. The company said they couldn’t be more excited and thankful on the day of their company’s five year anniversary.


AIRBUS

  • Airbus and Delta Air Lines are forming a digital alliance to develop new predictive maintenance and health-monitoring solutions for airline customers worldwide from 2020. To be accessed via a unified portal through the Skywise platform, the cross-fleet solutions will harness each member’s expertise in airframes, systems and engines. Delta Air Lines will be the first user of the enriched predictive maintenance solution. This partnership builds on an already successful platform of technical collaboration between Airbus and Delta: In October 2018, Delta entered into a multi-year contract with Airbus to apply Skywise Predictive Maintenance to its A320 and A330 fleets – covering around 400 aircraft. Moreover, in June this year, Airbus and Delta joined forces to offer A220 component repair and material services for Airbus’ A220 Flight Hour Services (FHS) program.
  • Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) launched the iflyACJ.com website, allowing VIP travelers to easily plan their World above the world travel with ACJ charter operators. The new website will appeal to VIP travelers because it groups together in a single place information about the Airbus corporate jet offerings of 12 operators – such as details of their spacious cabins, characteristics and tailored on-board services.

BOEING

Boeing announced the launch of ForeFlight Dispatch, a team flight planning component of its web application that delivers a next-generation, multi-user, schedule-to-mobile flight planning capability for flight operations of any size. With Dispatch, flight plans are created by pilots, dispatchers, or automatically via integrated scheduling systems to generate “cleared-as-filed” routes, briefings, and operational flight plans, which are then synchronized with the ForeFlight Mobile application on crew devices. Flight watchers or dispatchers can then monitor flights or make changes to flight plans, and all changes are automatically synced back to crew devices, resulting in a more productive flight operation. Customers across North America and Europe have already tested the new capabilities with live flight operations in an extensive beta program. The inaugural customer of ForeFlight Dispatch, Flexjet, is a preeminent operator committed to deploying the latest technology throughout the organization.

Boeing has inspected some 810 Boeing 737NG’s for cracking of the “pickle forks” in the wing fuselage mounts on The Boeing Company Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes. It could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane. We understand they found issues on some 38 aircraft.

Boeing has made significant progress over the past several months in support of safely returning the 737 MAX to service as the company continues to work with the FAA and other global regulators on the process laid out for certifying the 737 MAX software and related training updates. The company has also made significant governance and operational changes to further sharpen its focus. MediaRoom – News Releases/Statements

Editor’s Note – This might be a big deal for Boeing – “A person briefed on the matter said Boeing failed to turn over the documents to the FAA for four months and that the Justice Department is also in possession of the messages” noted an article from Reuters.” Apparently Boeing knew of MCAS aggression in 2016 and misled FAA . However, it looks like some test pilots in Boeing knew about “issues” with MCAS and was only reported their words on Oct. 17 to the FAA. It may not be the best news for Mr. Muilenburg.


OTHER NEWS

APEX & Los Angeles, California | September 11, 2019– All Nippon Airways (ANA) has begun equipping selected Boeing B777-300ER aircraft with SITAONAIR’s state-of-the-art Internet ONAIR Wi-Fi portal, powered by GX Aviation.

In partnership with JSAT MOBILE Communications Inc. (JSAT MOBILE), SITAONAIR has boosted ANA’s major upgrade for passengers, through the deployment of its Internet ONAIR Wi-Fi portal over Inmarsat’s ground-breaking Ka-band satellite network. The solution will provide ANA passengers with seamless, reliable and secure internet connectivity, anywhere in the world.

Passengers flying on corporate-heavy business routes will now be able to keep in touch with the office, even at 35,000 feet, as well as continuing to connect with their lives on the ground, from browsing and shopping to emailing and chatting with loved ones.

Working together with JSAT MOBILE – which is dedicated to providing the Japanese market with the latest mobile satellite services – has enabled SITAONAIR to establish and expand its relationship with ANA. This significantly enhances the airline’s offering to tech-savvy passengers.

JSAT MOBILE’s President & CEO Eiichi Yoda comments: “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to work with our partner SITAONAIR to support ANA in providing Wi-Fi services to its demanding base of connected passengers. JSAT MOBILE’s regulatory expertise and close customer coordination, together with SITAONAIR’s industry-connectivity solutions powered by Inmarsat’s reliable and expanding GX Aviation network, enables ANA to benefit from a seamless and future-proof solution.”

“SITAONAIR has taken huge strides to deliver a next-gen experience for passengers,” says SITAONAIR’s CEO David Lavorel. “Internet ONAIR draws upon our expertise as a provider of inflight technology, to provide an ‘always-on’, convenient Wi-Fi solution that is ahead of the game.”

“We are proud to partner with All Nippon Airways to deliver our award-winning inflight connectivity to its fleet.” SITAONAIR’s VP Customer Programs, Yann Cabaret adds: “With the installation of Internet ONAIR, ANA passengers will be guaranteed smooth and seamless connectivity, now and into the future.”

To find out more about SITAONAIR’s cabin services, visit www.sitaonair.aero
  • The global Wireless In-Flight Entertainment & Digital Services vendor incorporates UGOsmart to its technology suite.
  • This new addition aims at empowering airlines teams with real-time data to monitor IFEC systems and adjust service offering

Paris, France | September 3, 2019–Display Interactive announces the launch of UGOsmart, its latest solution designed for airlines to better collect, centralise and analyze in-flight generated data. Designed for IFEC and ancillary airlines teams and updated in real time, UGOsmart feeds a smooth decision-making process. Combined with the flexibility and scalability of UGO IFEC solution, it ensures maximal IFEC operational efficiency.

With the launch of UGOsmart, the French company wants to provide airlines with a solution to address the main data analytics and visualization issues that the industry faces on a regular basis: overwhelming of information, inflexible analytics, and blurry visibility on IFEC ROI.
‘UGOsmart is not just a data analytics tool, but a seamless data visualization solution that presents animated data and tells business stories. We believe that this is the best way to transform data into insights, and most importantly, into tactical and strategic decisions. The power of UGOsmart resides also in its transversality, as it gathers diverse data for all airline’s members involved into a IFEC program.’ explains Tarek El Mitwalli, Display Interactive CEO.
With this seamless technology powered by Display Interactive, airlines can now:
  • Better control onboard ancillary revenues and connectivity usage in real time, and compare it to previous periods and trends,
  • Get instant insights of passengers’ behaviours and IFE preferences,
  • Improve operational efficiency by closely monitoring the performance of their systems and implementing fast changes.
Delivering a 360° value with powerful technologies and ongoing services
Display Interactive launches UGOsmart after years of deployment of its wireless IFE system, named UGO, in well-known airlines. The new DataViz solution is the final piece for the IFEC provider to cover the full cycle of an IFEC program: from design and implementation of UGO entertainment & digital services platform, to its day-to day operations, and now the analysis and evaluation of results thanks to UGOsmart.
In addition to its technology suite, the French organisation accompanies all its airline customers with UGOlife, an all-inclusive ongoing full service support that guarantees operational efficiency as well as optimal durability and success. “Designing UGO and complementing it with UGOlife and UGOsmart was crucial for us, because airlines operate IFEC on a daily basis, and most legacy systems don’t provide any support to focus on the road ahead. Our philosophy has always been to empower airline’s teams and to keep the hassle of operational issues out of their minds. While UGOsmart allows our customers to make the right decisions, we can guarantee with UGOlife that these will result in immediate changes on the in-flight servers and therefore, in the passenger experience”. adds El Mitwalli.

The folks at Galgus sent us a note: “Yesterday, was a special day for Galgus as we launched release # 9 of our Wi-Fi optimization software. This version comes with lots of new features, some of them never seen before. Our team has put a lot of enthusiasm and expertise made of listening, detecting and building WiFi solutions for the market.” So, to find out the new software features, we checked out the “secret” Galgus site and here are a few of the features of their new software to be announced in a couple days:

  •  Advanced Mesh with Self-Healing, Dynamic Re-Routing, QoS and Power Control
  • Unveiling of Hidden MAC Addresses
  • New Modular Licenses and an Auto-Download Licensing System to Easy License Upgrades to Access New Features
  • High Density Scenarios
  • Support of Multi-thread Operation
  • WPA Enterprise with Radius Support + Dynamic VLANs (802.1x)
  • Location of Connected Clients with Real or Randomized MAC Addresses
  • Zero-Touch Provisioning
  • Discovery of IEEE 802.11 Amendments Supported by User Devices
  • Better Algorithms, Bug Fix Binaries, Cloud Manager…and More!

So with all the new features of the Wi-Fi software, we asked the Galgus team a few questions that we all could understand.

1. Please describe how big, and where the Galgus software (CHT Wi-Fi Optimization) is used.
Presently, 800+ airplanes worldwide are flying with our SW inside. Besides that, CHT is also deployed in Hotels & Resorts, covering 400,000 sqf. outdoor areas; also a Convention Center with a capacity of 3,000 people served with 18 access points, there, 100+ events are celebrated every year. In the railway industry the whole fleet of a British operator (45+ trains) are equipped with our technology. Also is important two mention that we have presence in two cruise ships in the Mediterranean Sea, +400 buses worldwide and even in a 55,000 people stadium of the Spanish soccer first division!

2. Does the CHT software effect data speeds on aircraft Wi-Fi?
Yes it affects: it improves the speed even for the weakest of the devices with respect to the case without CHT. In case it refers to whether our protocol occupies a lot of bandwidth: no, it is not noticeable.

3. What hardware vendors and airlines are customers of this software?
In the airline industry, we work with VT Miltope, they are our main customer. Regarding which airlines our software is deployed, due to confidentiality agreements we can’t unveil which ones are they.

4. Also, please describe what the software does that is different and why.
The new software comes with a nice set of new and improved features. Among them, we would like to underline the location of connected clients with real or randomized MAC addresses. Using only the WiFi network, without diminishing its performance, CHT is able to locate connected devices whether they randomize their MAC address or not. This is all achieved without the user having to install anything additional or modify their device. The network owner can access this information and compare it to quality of service metrics in our dashboard Cloud Manager.

Also, as a second mail innovation, with our new release we ensure network security and customer privacy by dynamically assigning an individual VLAN to each customer. This feature allows the accomplishment of enterprise grade projects where security and privacy is a must But, there are much more new features included and the July 10 webinar will cover the new content.

5. Will this software and features be displayed at any future airshow?
Yes absolutely. Jointly with VT Miltope, we regularly attend the main events in the industry, such as the AIX in Germany or APEX in the USA. At both them or at any other that we finally attend, we will introduce all new and improved features that our new release brings with them. And yes, they have a book available on Amazon


INMARSAT
Inmarsat announced a contract to introduce two new payloads for its Global Xpress (GX) network in partnership with Space Norway and its subsidiary Space Norway HEOSAT, supporting the continued fast-paced development of its award-winning GX Aviation and Jet ConneX inflight connectivity solutions.
The new payloads, GX10A & 10B, will provide Inmarsat’s airline and business aviation customers with even more capacity to meet rapidly growing demand for seamless, reliable, high-speed mobile inflight broadband. In addition, the satellites will be fully compatible with current and future terminals, ensuring that both existing and new customers will reap the benefits from this latest extension to the network. Scheduled to launch in 2022, GX10A & 10B will be the first satellites in the GX network to be placed into Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), showcasing Inmarsat’s highly innovative and flexible approach to providing customers with gold-standard connectivity.

The satellites are designed to deliver enhanced capacity for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic. They will be operated by Space Norway’s Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ABSM) team and seamlessly integrate into the GX network.


AIRBUS
Azores Airlines, the Azores archipelago-based carrier, has taken delivery of its first of three A321LRs to be leased from Air Lease Corporation “ALC” becoming the latest operator of the long-range single-aisle aircraft. Powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines, the Azores Airlines’ A321LR comprises 190 seats in a two-class configuration (16 Business class seats and 174 seats in Economy) offering premium wide-body comfort in a single-aisle aircraft cabin and with single-aisle operating costs. With this new A321LR, the Portuguese operator will continue its strategy of growth and network expansion to European destinations as well as transatlantic routes between the Azores and North America.


BOEING
Ahead of Independence Day in the U.S., Boeing announced $100 million in funds to address family and community needs of those affected by the tragic accidents of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. These funds will support education, hardship and living expenses for impacted families, community programs, and economic development in impacted communities. Boeing will partner with local governments and non-profit organizations to address these needs. This initial investment will be made over multiple years. “We at Boeing are sorry for the tragic loss of lives in both of these accidents and these lives lost will continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and on our minds for years to come. The families and loved ones of those on board have our deepest sympathies, and we hope this initial outreach can help bring them comfort,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. “We know every person who steps aboard one of our airplanes places their trust in us. We are focused on re-earning that trust and confidence from our customers and the flying public in the months ahead.” Boeing will release additional information in the near future. Consistent with Boeing’s regular process for employee charitable donations, company employees will also have the opportunity to make donations in support of the families and communities impacted by the accidents. Boeing will match these employee donations through December 31, 2019.

BOEING announced it is providing $100m in funds to address family and community needs of those affected by the 737 MAX accidents of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. These funds will support education, hardship and living expenses for impacted families, community programs, and economic development in impacted communities. Boeing will partner with local governments and non-profit organizations to address these needs. This initial investment will be made over multiple years.


OTHER NEWS

  • Folks under the age of 35 have a lot of innovations says the MIT folks – and, half are women -it’s a good sign!
  • What is biohacking? The new “science” of optimizing your brain and body. – Vox
  • Do you wonder how supersonic planes can fly with glass windshields? Well, you have a point and here is an answer on how it might be done. NASA’s New Supersonic Jet Will Be Missing a Front Window
  • Applied Science, that’s what the over 200 short videos are on technology are about on YouTube. Here’s the description and they are technically right on and very good: “See interesting applications of science and technology. You’ll see how an electron microscope was built in a home shop, how an X-ray backscatter system works, how to make aerogel, and many other hi-tech projects. Topics usually include electromechanical systems, chemistry, and electronics. Hosted by Ben Krasnow.” 109) Applied Science – YouTube
  • Boeing’s 777-x has similar characteristics to 747, however it does so with only 2 engines Boeing: 777X and Boeing: 777X Reveal
  • A lot of times when you are flying from or to a small airport on one airline, there is little information on where the others who fly there have connections to. It can be frustrating because most airlines want you to fly them and reasonably dont show you who else flies there. If you need a better list of what airlines fly to an airport here is a site called FlightsFrom that does that. Here is a website that covers that problem – Worldwide routes and flights from all airports – FlightsFrom.com
  • So, if you are afraid of new cars with potentially incorrect self-driving systems, had you ever considered self flying(landing) planes? Watch a plane land itself truly autonomously for the first time | TechCrunch
  • Having been fans of Leo Laporte for technical reporting in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, he now has a show called The Tech Guy. Leo is now 62 and hosts a show that covers technology and if you remember shows like Call For Help and Screen Savers, well, he is back and has a weekly show/newsletter on TWiT.tv and iOS Today as a podcast. Hey, it must be popular as then show this week is Episode 726! and a weekly newsletter that you can get them here Subscribe or iOS Today – Hey it’s free!

SITA
More than 100 of the world’s airlines and airports gathered in Belgium this week as SITA, the air transport IT provider, celebrated its 70th anniversary. The organization, which has been at the heart of the airline industry since 1949, marked the occasion by announcing record revenues of US$1.7 billion in 2018. As SITA recorded a significant turning point in its business, it also showcased its commitment to continuous and collaborative innovation.


Upcoming Show
Aircraft Seating – On the 20 – 22nd of August, Airbus and Boeing will be joining the world’s leading Aircraft Seating Manufacturers and Airlines, at the only North American conference to focus specifically on designing and building the Aircraft Seat of the future. Join the the 4th International Innovative Aircraft Seating Conference is Seattle this August. Partner Content – Get Ready to Connect.


PARIS AIRSHOW AIRPLANE SALES SUMMARIES

AIRBUS – 383 new aircraft + 349 up-sized orders total worth $44.5 Billion (market prices). For a total of 5 different aircraft types, there were 26 customers, 82 firm orders, 236 MOU’s, 65 Options, 349 airplane model swaps.

BOEING – 292 new aircraft worth $33.9 Billion (market prices). For a total of 7 different aircraft types, there were 10 customers, 10 firm orders, 247 MOU’s/LOI’s, 25 options, and no swaps.

Editor’s Note: Remember, announced sales has 3 types: firm orders/ memorandum of understanding/ letters of intent. Please note that they are in order of expectability. If you want more data, check out ANALYSIS: Paris air show 2019 order tracker – update


AIRBUS

JETBLUE AIRWAYS
JetBlue Airways will add the A321XLR to its already large fleet of Airbus aircraft and increase its existing order for Airbus A220s. JetBlue has contracted to convert 13 existing A321neo orders into firm orders for the new A321XLR, which Airbus revealed this week at the Paris Air Show. Also, JetBlue has firmed up an order for an additional 10 A220-300 aircraft from existing options. JetBlue, a New York-based low-cost airline that differentiates itself with a high-quality passenger experience, will integrate the A321XLR and the A220-300 into its growing network of routes to a variety of key destinations. JetBlue now operates 193 A320 and A321 aircraft, has orders for 85 A321neos, and previously ordered 60 A220-300s. In April, JetBlue converted 13 A321neo aircraft in its existing order to the LR (long range) version.

FLYNAS
Flynas, Saudi Arabia’s first low-cost airline, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for 10 A321XLR aircraft, the longest range variant of the A320. As part of the commitment, the airline will also upsize 10 of the A320neo it currently has on order to the A321neo. Flynas operates a fleet of 30 A320ceos and 2 A320neos. Since its inception in 2007, Flynas has set ambitious growth plans to continuously develop its fleet in order to carry more passengers. In 2018 the airline carried around 6.6 million passengers on 60,000 domestic and international flights.

The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step from the A321LR which responds to market needs for even more range and payload, creating more value for the airlines. From 2023, it will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm – 15% more than the A321LR and with 30% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor aircraft. This will enable operators to open new world-wide routes such as India to Europe or China to Australia, as well as further extending the Family’s non-stop reach on direct transatlantic flights between continental Europe and the Americas.

NORDIC AVIAION CAPITAL
Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 20 A220 Family aircraft. The deal was signed at the Paris Air Show between Martin Møller, NAC Chairman and Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. NAC serves over 76 well established airline customers in 51 countries. The agreement represents the first major order for the A220 from a leading regional lessor confirming the versatility of the aircraft to support mainline and regional airline network expansion. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and widebody passenger comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. The A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft.

AMERICAN AIRLINES
American Airlines, the world’s largest airline, will acquire 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft, the new longer-range version of Airbus’ hugely successful A321neo. The purchase agreement includes the conversion of 30 of American’s existing A321neo slots to A321XLRs and incremental orders for an additional 20 A321XLRs. The A321XLR will have the longest range of any single-aisle commercial jetliner. The added range of up to 4,700 nm will allow airlines to operate the aircraft from U.S. East Coast airports to medium-size European cities. As a further enhancement of the A321neo and A321LR, the A321XLR will have a maximum takeoff weight of 101 metric tonnes without sacrificing performance. The A321XLR is powered by the same engines, and has more than 90 percent commonality with the A321neo. American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, is the largest Airbus operator in the world with 422 Airbus aircraft. Including today’s announcement, American has outstanding orders for 115 A321neos and A321XLRs from Airbus.

SKYWISE
Accenture, Capgemini, FPT Software, IBM, and Sopra Steria have signed agreements with Airbus to become early adopters of the Skywise Partner Programme. As part of the programme, these world-leading companies will benefit from dedicated training and certification so they develop more robust, richer applications within Skywise on behalf of an airline. Certified partners will have access to their own working space on Skywise and to additional platform features. The Partner Programme builds on the exponential growth of the Skywise platform and aims to further accelerate innovation by connecting Skywise users with a global network of leading developers. As such, the programme paves the way for an open Aerospace ‘app-store’ to speed up the industry’s digital transformation.

ACCIPTER
Dublin-based leasing company Accipiter Holdings signed a Purchase Agreement to acquire 20 A320neo aircraft. The order, which was disclosed during the Paris Air Show by Paul Sheridan, Accipiter CEO and Isabelle Floret, Head of Leasing Markets, had been completed in March 2019, and was listed in the order books as undisclosed. The new single-aisle aircraft will further expand the portfolio of Accipiter Holdings, which aims to be a leading player in the global leasing market and is wholly owned by Hong Kong’s CK Asset Holdings Ltd. Together with Vermillion, its joint venture with Mitsubishi Corporation subsidiary MC Aviation Partners (MCAP), Accipiter manages a total portfolio of just under 150 owned and committed aircraft.

CHINA AIRLINES
Taiwan’s China Airlines (CAL) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for 11 A321neo aircraft and will acquire another 14 aircraft of the type on lease. CAL has selected the A321neo to meet future requirements in the single aisle category. These 25 aircraft will join the Airbus fleet at the airline currently comprising 23 A330s and 14 A350 XWBs. With the A321neo, China Airlines will be able to operate their single aisle flights with unmatched levels of efficiency and comfort, benefitting from the highest commonality of the Airbus product range. The A321neo is a member of the best-selling A320 Family incorporating the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver at least 20 percent fuel savings by 2020. At the end of May 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 6,500 firm orders from over 100 customers worldwide.

INDIGO PARTNERS
Indigo Partners and three of its airlines will acquire 50 of the new Airbus A321XLR long-range, single-aisle jetliners. The Memorandum of Understanding includes new orders for 32 A321XLRs and the conversion of 18 existing A320neo family orders. Indigo Partners LLC, based in Phoenix, Arizona, is a private equity fund focused on worldwide investments in air transportation. Indigo has major ownership stakes in four low-cost airlines, including Frontier Airlines (U.S.), JetSMART (Chile), Volaris (Mexico) and Wizz Air (Hungary). The four carriers now operate a combined 295 Airbus planes and, with the new commitments, have 636 on order. Twenty of the A321XLRs will be allocated to Wizz Air, 18 to Frontier, and 12 to JetSMART.


BOEING
Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg reports that the board of directors  declared a regular quarterly dividend of two dollars and five and one-half cents ($2.055) per share.

Boeing and Turkmenistan Airlines announced the airline’s plan to extend its long-haul operations by adding a fourth 777-200LR (Long Range) airplane to its fleet. The commitment, valued at $346.9 million at list price, will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once it is finalized. The Boeing 777-200LR is the longest range commercial airplane in the world, capable of connecting virtually any two cities in the world nonstop. It has a maximum range of 15,843 kilometers (8,555 nmi) and carries more passengers and revenue cargo farther than any other jetliner. The 777-200LR is equipped with the powerful GE90-110B1L commercial jet engine, and can seat up to 317 passengers in two-class configuration.

ASL
ASL Aviation Holdings DAC (ASL) and Boeing signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 20 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF), bringing the world’s first Next-Generation 737-800 freighter conversion to 120 orders and commitments, from eight customers. The agreement includes 10 firm orders and 10 purchase rights. Operating on six continents, ASL provides network solutions to express freight integrators, transporting more than 357,000 metric tonnes of cargo in 2018. Boeing predicts that 2,650 freighters will be delivered between 2018-2037, with more than 60 percent of these deliveries comprised of passenger-to-freighter conversions. The 737-800BCF carries more payload – up to 23.9 tonnes (52,800 lbs.) – and flies farther – 2,000 nautical miles (3,750 km) compared to 737 Classic freighters. It also offers operators improved fuel efficiency, lower operating cost, and higher reliability than previous standard-body freighters.

QATAR AIRWAYS
Qatar Airways, one of the world’s leading air cargo carriers, announced a commitment to purchase five additional 777 Freighters from Boeing. The deal, valued at $1.8 billion at list prices, was unveiled at the Paris Air Show and signed in the presence of His Excellency Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti, Qatari Minister of Transport and Communications. Qatar Airways has rapidly grown its air cargo operations to serve more than 60 global destinations, becoming one of the top international air freight operators in the world. The latest freighter deal builds on the airline’s 777 Freighter order book as the airplane has become the backbone of Qatar Airways freighter fleet. It currently operates 23 freighters, including 16 Boeing 777 Freighters. The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest and most capable twin-engine freighter. It can fly 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 kilometers) with a payload of 224,900 lbs (102,010 kg). The airplane’s long range translates into significant savings as fewer stops mean lower landing fees, less congestion, lower cargo handling costs and shorter delivery times.

CHINA AIRLINES
Boeing and China Airlines announced the airline’s intent to order up to six 777 Freighters to modernize its cargo fleet. China Airlines plans to transition to the world’s largest and longest range twin-engine freighter as it launches operations from Taipei to North America and Europe – two key markets that provide higher yields for the carrier. The order will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once it is finalized. The 777 Freighter is capable of flying 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 km) with a maximum payload of 102,010 kg (224,900 lbs). The airplane will allow China Airlines to make fewer stops and reduce associated landing fees on these long-haul routes, resulting in the lowest trip cost of any large freighter and superior ton-mile economics. In addition, the 777 Freighter features market-leading capacity for a twin-engine freighter, accommodating 27 standard pallets, measuring 96 inches by 125 inches (2.5 m x 3 m) on the main deck. This allows for lower cargo handling costs and shorter cargo delivery times. China Airlines operates 51 Boeing airplanes. The addition of 777 Freighters will enable the carrier to streamline maintenance and parts for its 777 fleet. The carrier uses a number of Boeing Global Services solutions to support their operations, including Boeing’s Airplane Health Maintenance and Maintenance Performance Toolbox on all of their 777, 747-400 and Next-Generation 737 aircraft. These data-driven platforms track real-time airplane information, providing maintenance data and decision support tools that allow technicians to quickly and correctly resolve issues. On the ground and in the air, China Airlines’ entire fleet uses Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro and access to digital navigation charts to optimize performance and enhance situational awareness.


OTHER NEWS

You may not have had the opportunity to swing by the Cadami and aeroLiFi booth during AIX in April, but never fear, your intrepid IFExpress reporters have you covered!

Cadami

Cadami is an expert and a market leader in coded caching and media transmission technology. Their technology allows you to provide a huge library of high-quality multi-media content to more users without updating your hardware. Cadami technology has its roots in academic research into the theoretical potential of coded caching and transmission. It is our understanding from talking with Cadami during AIX that currently, they are the only company making these techniques available commercially.

During AIX 2019, Cadami announced the launch of their Wi-Fi cabin technology. As we know, there are significant benefits to using a wireless network (think less cabling, weight, installation costs, etc.). However, much of the current Wi-Fi technology has limited utility because the aircraft cabin is a crowded environment, often making it very hard to provide the right bandwidth to transmit high quality content. Thomas Kuehn, managing director of Cadami, said, “Wireless transmission of high-quality IFE content has always been just out of reach. Our network technology solutions make it viable. Our technology is already flying on nearly 200 aircraft, operating over cabled networks and giving passengers around the world access to thousands of films. The next stage is to start WiFi. Using Efficient Coded Caching, we can both overcome the current WiFi limitations while providing the same libraries people are used to with Netflix and Amazon Prime.”

How does the Cadami technology differ? They use a technology called Efficient Coded Caching, which is a unique, patented combination of the latest coded caching with advanced transmission techniques to make highly efficient use of the network infrastructure and seat-back screens. The result is to effectively increase bandwidth by a factor of between two and five. Translated, it means an airline can viably use a Wi-Fi network to make a large library of HD and 4K video content available to every passenger on the biggest aircraft, without jeopardizing quality.

Thomas Kuehn concluded, “We are constantly pushing the boundaries of what technology can do, to provide airlines with more efficient solutions and their passengers with an even better experience.”

aeroLiFi

At APEX Boston, IFExpress saw a demonstration of LiFi technology and during AIX 2019 we saw a threefold increase in the number of LiFi applications from various vendors. One such exhibitor was aeroLiFi. “We enlighten the future of your communications, using light to transmit data. We use LiFi, which in turn uses existing LED lights to send and receive data, including Internet access and IFE content,” Birger Timm, Managing Director of aeroLiFi, said, “LiFi provides a stable communications link that doesn’t degrade and that has enough capacity for each passenger to stream HD and 4K content. We do that by reducing the number of people using each cell, giving airlines the ability to provide a consistent data stream to a lot of people in a small area.”

What is the big deal about LiFi? LiFi uses both the visible and invisible light emitted by LEDs to transmit IFE data and an Internet connection. It doesn’t require a complex infrastructure: it just needs the server and backbone, with LED lights to transmit and receive data. Every LED bulb is a potential access point. And, LiFi offers more bandwidth, higher data transfer rates and increased data security. In fact, aeroLiFi states that LiFi is both safe and secure because it uses light waves and not microwaves, drastically reducing ‘electrosmog’. It is also very hard to hack because it depends on a line of sight connection.

Timm continued, “It’s not impossible to hack into a LiFi network, just very hard. You have to get between the light source and the receiver. In an aircraft, that effectively means you need to be sitting on someone’s knee and that’s very noticeable. In fact, LiFi is so secure that it is already being looked at for use in the cockpit for flight critical applications.

We asked about using LiFi during the nighttime and were told that the technology can use both visible light and infrared; therefore, access points can continue working during the plane’s ‘night’.

Furthermore, aeroLiFi team has wide experience in the IFEC industry, in lighting and across the aviation sector, and we were told that Prof Harald Haas, the father of LiFi, is the company’s scientific advisor. aeroLiFi has integrated Cadami’s coded caching technology into its solution, helping to increase the stability of the solution, as well as the size of the video content library available. The caching element also means the content will not be interrupted if the light source is blocked for some reason, for example someone walking along the aisle putting their hand over the receiver.

Lastly, Timm concluded, LiFi is perfect for the aircraft cabin because it requires minimal physical infrastructure, it provides stable and consistent data transmission, and it’s safe.


Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has opened its first Innovation Studio in Pleasanton, California. Breaking ground as the first of five planned locations worldwide, Panasonic’s new Innovation Studio in Pleasanton will serve as a hub for innovation, ideation and solution-building. It is designed as a space where airlines and partners will gather and co-create the future of travel experience.

David Bartlett, Chief Technology Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Innovation is at the center of everything Panasonic Avionics does. Our new facility in Pleasanton will play a major role in fostering our collaboration ethos, and is the first of five such hubs that will enhance and enrich the future inflight travel experience for passengers around the globe, helping travel to become the fourth place.” The Innovation Studio is located close to Silicon Valley which is recognized as a global center for tech innovation. The facility will act as a hub from which Panasonic will work with airlines to investigate, illuminate and implement new ways of transforming the passenger experience in a socially collaborative environment. Panasonic’s Innovation Studios across the globe will all be located in close proximity to major destinations, leading universities and centers with an established innovation and start-up culture. Each studio will be a place for companies to leverage Panasonic’s skilled workforce to prototype, showcase and evaluate product concepts, digital solutions and user experience paradigms.

About the Fourth Place
The fourth place has become Panasonic’s rallying cry to the aviation industry to improve the experience of travel. The fourth place ties into the concept introduced in 1989 by the sociologist Ray Oldenburg who coined the term “the third place” – the first place being home, the second work and the third a neutral zone where people can interact and collaborate with their communities. Panasonic believes that the act of traveling is the fourth place.

Image: Panasonic’s Innovation Studio Opening


Airbus

Delta Air Lines took delivery of its first A330-900, one of 35 A330neos the Atlanta, Georgia-based airline has on order. With new fuel-efficient engines, aerodynamic improvements, and the advanced Airspace by Airbus cabin the A330-900 will give Delta a premier long-haul, widebody aircraft with exceptionally low operating costs. Delta was the launch customer for the A330-900, ordering 25 in November 2014 and an additional 10 last year. With the addition of the A330-900, Delta is now operating both of Airbus’ newest widebody models. It has 13 A350-900s in its fleet with another 12 on order. Delta operates more than 265 Airbus aircraft including A321s and A220s, and the airline’s order backlog with Airbus exceeds 270 including 100 A321neos. Delta is one of the world’s leading airlines, an industry pacesetter. As the A330-900 is placed into service on Delta’s global network, it will complement the airline’s growing widebody fleet of A330s and A350s, setting new standards for efficiency, profitability, and provide passengers with extraordinary travel experiences. An environmental milestone was set as a Delta crew ferried the new A330-900 back to the company’s Atlanta base using a jet fuel blended from conventional sources and non-petroleum synthetic fuel. Delta will initially base its A330-900s at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where it will operate the aircraft on flights to Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo Narita. Delta will configure its A330-900s for 281 passengers, including 29 in business-class suites, 28 in premium economy, 56 in extra-legroom economy seats, and 168 in standard economy. The aircraft will feature Delta’s new internally developed in-flight entertainment system. The A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft, building on the features of the popular A330 features and leveraging technology developed for the A350 XWB technology. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and featuring a new wing with increased span and A350 XWB-inspired Sharklets, the A330neo provides an unprecedented level of efficiency – with 25 percent lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation competitors. Equipped with the Airbus Airspace cabin, the A330neo offers a unique passenger experience with more personal space and the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity. The A330-900 can accommodate 287 seats in a typical three-class layout or up to 440 for high-density configurations with a range of up to 7,200 nautical miles.


Boeing

Boeing and Air New Zealand announced the airline plans to add the largest 787 Dreamliner model to its world-class fleet with a commitment to buy eight 787-10 airplanes valued at $2.7 billion at list prices. The carrier, known for its global network and long-range operations, says the 787-10 complements its current 787-9 and 777 fleet by offering more seats and greater efficiency to grow its business. The 787-10 is the largest member of the super-efficient and passenger-pleasing Dreamliner family. At 224 feet long (68 meters), the 787-10 can serve up to 330 passengers in a standard two-class configuration, about 40 more than the 787-9 airplane. Powered by a suite of new technologies and a revolutionary design, the 787-10 set a new benchmark for fuel efficiency and operating economics when it entered commercial service last year. The airplane allows operators to achieve 25 percent better fuel efficiency per seat compared to the previous airplanes. Air New Zealand was a global launch customer for the 787-9 and today operates 13 of the Dreamliner variant. With another 787-9 on the way and the 787-10 airplanes in the future, the airline’s Dreamliner fleet will grow to 22. Air New Zealand’s widebody fleet also includes seven 777-300ERs and eight 777-200ERs, which it is progressively replacing with this announced aircraft order.


Other News


Mea Culpa! Apologies to our IFExpress readers and Thales for last week’s publishing snafu. If you didn’t get the opportunity to read the revised publication, here is the link.