IFPL

As always, IFPL showed their flair for innovation in the peripherals marketspace during AIX. As many of you may remember, they announced a working relationship with Mirus Aircraft Seating at the 2016 APEX in Singapore for their USB A outlet. Not such big news you might say; however, this deal for AirAsia’s new Hawk slimline economy seating in their A320 fleet is now up and flying. This initial retrofit program is being followed-up by a line fit order for AirAsia’s new Airbus A320/A321neo aircraft. The new line fit order will also feature integrated high power 2A USB from IFPL. IFPL has been very excited to work alongside Mirus on this project as the company takes a different approach and really wants to ergonomically integrate technology into their seats. “How to make a seamless integration that was also ergonomical, was an exciting challenge for us,” said David Thomas of IFPL.  “IFPL’s aim has been to provide world leading seamless seat integration, while maintaining a consistent design language and aesthetic. Our focus also ensures the ergonomics deliver a truly enhanced passenger experience. This has enabled us to reduce the complexity, weight and cost, therefore delivering a competitive advantage to the airline,” continued David. The USB-A product has been integrated into the Mirus seat arms while leveraging the KID Systeme’s power supply. IFPL also demonstrated their latest audio products: Long Life Audio jack with testing on 100,000+ insertions; their Rapid Fit technology for quick on-wing maintenance; an Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module; as well as their patented MagSignal technology that virtually eliminates Customer Induced Damage (CID). IFExpress always enjoys seeing the ingenious products that IFPL brings to the industry and this year’s AIX was no different. We are looking forward to seeing what they unveil at APEX in September. (Editor’s Note: IFPL also offers USB-C to the industry.)


AIRBUS
The first A330neo for launch operator TAP Air Portugal – MSN1819 – completed its 4:32 hours maiden flight. The aircraft now joins the fleet of two A330-900 test aircraft already performing flight tests since 19 October 2017. MSN1819 is the first aircraft fitted with the Airspace cabin by Airbus. It is equipped with light Flight Test Instrumentation during its test phase to check cabin systems such as air conditioning, crew rest etc.

With over 1,700 orders, the A330 is the most popular wide-body aircraft ever, performing nearly 1,000,000 flights every year. Today, more than 1,400 aircraft have been delivered to almost 120 customers worldwide on a wide range of routes, from domestic and regional flights to long range intercontinental services.

Offering the lowest operating costs in its category, and thanks to continuous investments in latest innovations, the new generation A330neo is the most profitable and best performing aircraft in its size category according to Airbus. The A330neo first delivery is planned in summer 2018. The A330neos will usher the brand-new Airspace by Airbus cabin concept, a consumer-centric cabin developed with passengers at heart and airlines in mind around the four pillars: Comfort, Ambience, Service and Design. These cabin options will ensure that the A330neos will set the benchmark in passenger experience and airline value, alongside its widebody partner, the A350 XWB.


WATCH: AFTERMARKET CONNECTIVITY OPPORTUNITIES
As we all know, the IFEC industry is duly focused on connectivity and how it will enable both the passenger and the airline to stay more connected throughout the journey. In fact, some are predicting that connectivity will double by 2019! But have we really looked at what that statement truly means for our industry and the customers served, whether that be airlines, the traveler, or both? The short answer is yes. Airframers, such as Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer certainly have ‘Aftermarket Visions’. The concept here is that historically within the aviation sector the supply chain has been vertically aligned and fragmented. In order to achieve cost efficiencies, the OEMs are bundling maintenance, flight ops, parts, engineering, modifications, training and various other packaged solutions in an effort to establish agile capabilities that can respond rapidly to their customer demands. In years past, many of these services were strictly after market and often performed by third party companies. Now the OEMs are leveraging their service capabilities to increase the value of the aftermarket – for their customers and themselves. Much of this is being accomplished via Big Data, working across the various value streams and utilizing data analytics to improve efficiencies and costs, thus benefiting their customers – the airline.

All of this is being facilitated by the rapid acceptance and installation of global aircraft connectivity. In a recent SITA IT Survey 37% of airlines who participated indicated they operate connected aircraft. While 45% are either operating or taking delivery of aircraft that have connectivity. Significantly, the survey established the importance of connecting aircraft to the ground in flight, with 71% stating they are investing in EFBs, this is an important indicator that airline managers are seeking to improve maintenance and operational efficiencies. The survey indicated that the percentage is slightly lower for providing Wi-Fi to passengers, while 49% of those participating indicated they are allocating funds to provide wireless services for crew – both cabin and flight deck. Perhaps this is fairly intuitive, if you have been around the IFEC industry over the last 4 or 5 years. However, what might not be so obvious is the move from ‘siloed’ industry alliances to alliances with important other synergies that enable increased efficiency.

A prime example is the Seamless Air Alliance that was announced on February 26, 2018. This is an alliance between Airbus, Delta, OneWeb, Sprint, Airtel and Gogo. “By empowering member mobile operators to extend their services into airline cabins, the Seamless Air Alliance will allow them to continuously provide their customers – via satellite technology – with the same high speed, low latency connectivity from ground, to air and back again. It will also significantly reduce costs for everyone involved while creating a smooth, positive user-experience. The alliance – which aims to attract additional industry operators beyond the five initial members – will eliminate the immense costs and hurdles commonly associated with acquisition, installation, and operation of data access infrastructure by streamlining system integration and certification, providing open specifications for interoperability, increasing accessibility for passengers, and enabling simple and integrated billing.” Other companies have diversified their portfolio through acquisitions to achieve the same outcome. IFExpress firmly believes that we will see more of these types of alliances and acquisitions in the coming months. If you wish to read more here are some additional links of interest:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/airbus-delta-oneweb-sprint-airtel-announce-the-formation-of-seamless-air-alliance-enabling-airlines-to-empower-passengers-with-seamless-in-cabin-connectivity-experience-675121143.html

http://www.mro-network.com/airlines/airline-connectivity-will-double-end-2019?NL=AW-022&Issue=AW-022_20180514_AW-022_193&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_1&utm_rid=CPEN1000000418196&utm_campaign=14815&utm_medium=email&elq2=c7d9f37b95e6447cba0df4b853915cfa

http://www.mro-network.com/airframe/insight-airbus-boeing-embraer-s-aftermarket-visions


YOU FIGURE IT OUT…

Both Airbus and Boeing commented on the latest WTC rulings and

they upheld that AIRBUS subsidies from the EU for the A350 and A 380 development programs were improper while those for the A320 and A330 were in full compliance. This will allow US to impose tariffs on imports from the EU to recoup (total unknown). Later this year, they will rule on Boeing. See if that’s what you get from their press releases:

AIRBUS
WTO confirmed: no prohibited subsidies at Airbus, minor elements of actionable subsidies to be addressed.

  •  “Repayable launch investment” confirmed as legal financing mechanism for aircraft development.
  •  WTO confirms compliance fully achieved on A320 and A330, remaining tweaks on A380 and A350 only minor.
  •  94 percent of all US / Boeing’s original claims now dismissed by WTO
  •  Any potential US sanctions, now likely to be minor compared to what we expect on the European case against Boeing, would be counter-productive, ill-timed and ultimately harmful to the airlines and passengers
  •  Report is only “half the story.”  Much more interesting part – on Boeing’s more egregious and competition-damaging subsidies – to come later this year.
  •  Only real solution to 15-year-long dispute remains a negotiated deal

BOEING
The World Trade Organization (WTO) today in its final decision found that the European Union (EU) has failed to honor multiple previous rulings and has provided more than $22 billion of illegal subsidies to European aircraft maker Airbus. After examining this case for more than a decade, the WTO has determined the EU must end its unfair business practices and remedy the ongoing harm caused by the illegal subsidies.

This landmark ruling by the WTO Appellate Body is the final decision in this case, which was initiated in 2006. Today’s decision ends the dispute and clears the way for the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to seek remedies in the form of tariffs against European imports to the United States.

The authorized tariffs are likely to total billions in duties per year, unless and until Airbus addresses the illegal subsidies it received from European governments for its most recently launched airplanes. It is anticipated that U.S. tariffs will be authorized up to the amount of annual harm this market-distorting tactic is causing. Tariffs could be scheduled as early as 2019. This is expected to be the largest-ever WTO authorization of retaliatory tariffs.

“Today’s final ruling sends a clear message: disregard for the rules and illegal subsidies is not tolerated. The commercial success of products and services should be driven by their merits and not by market-distorting actions,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. “Now that the WTO has issued its final ruling, it is incumbent upon all parties to fully comply as such actions will ultimately produce the best outcomes for our customers and the mutual health of our industry. We appreciate the tireless efforts of the U.S. Trade Representative over the 14 years of this investigation to strengthen the global aerospace industry by ending illegal subsidies.”

The U.S. government, with Boeing’s full support, has complied with WTO rulings stemming from the two cases the EU brought against the United States. One case has already ended in favor of the United States, and in the other, the vast majority of the allegations the EU made against the United States and Boeing were dismissed. Where there were narrow rulings against U.S. practices, they have been fully addressed to the WTO’s satisfaction.

Just one finding against the United States now remains before the WTO, which concerns a Washington state tax measure. It is under appeal and should be decided later this year or in early 2019. Boeing believes that ruling will be reversed, but if not, Boeing has pledged to do whatever necessary to come into full compliance in the interest of upholding rules-based trade, which is essential to fairness and the future prosperity of the global aerospace industry.


OTHER NEWS

Thales at AIX

The past few months have been busy ones for Thales. During Aircraft Interiors Hamburg the company announced the expansion of their IFEC portfolio with the introduction of CORE and PRESTIGE inflight entertainment. The two products offer differing degrees of experience for airline passengers, depending on the airline’s objectives for providing inflight entertainment. As the name suggests, CORE is an IFE solution designed to provide the airline with value and competitive cost of ownership in conjunction with Thales support services and is configured on existing architecture that has been qualified and tested. CORE is PCI compliant and enables ancillary revenue opportunities for the airline operator. The system has upgrade options and is capable of providing connectivity if so desired by the airline. One of the major benefits of CORE is the accelerated delivery process, while still providing a streamlined configuration and effective solution to onboard entertainment. The user interface is designed with latest UX technology and has been dubbed “Select” by Thales. Select interface enables the airline to provide their customers with mixed content and integrated advertising that can include promotions, targeted offers and destination content. CORE is line fit offerable on all Boeing and Airbus platforms and cybersecured by Thales.

Whereas, PRESTIGE is a multi-dimensional and personalized experience for the passenger that is tailored to enhance the airline brand with a unique user interface. This product is specifically targeted for the airline that is looking to provide their customers with an exclusive experience in flight.  The system is designed to enable passengers to connect, engage and experience their flight with the latest PEDs and unique connected apps. The company states that PRESTIGE will feature ultra HD (4K) displays. Thales told IFExpress that the system is lightweight, has low power draw and is very reliable. The objective of PRESTIGE is to enhance the passenger engagement, personalization and monetization by building a more intimate relationship with the traveler throughout their journey. They also stated that this is achieved through a robust co-innovation process and diverse industry partnerships via their Thales Digital Factories and location innovation centers. The user interface for the product will be unique for each customer and developed by a dedicated UX Center of Excellence and best-in-class agency partners. The UI will be commissioned by the airline and crafted to elevate their brand. PRESTIGE is targeted for the airline who wants to provide their passengers with an exclusive experience that extends beyond the IFE system.

Both CORE and PRESTIGE systems are powered by Thales’ InFlyt360 digital platform, which incorporate the latest Big Data technologies – think machine learning and matching algorithms – that continuously optimize the inflight experience for both the passenger and the airline.  InFlyt360 continuously optimizes the passenger experience providing airlines a complete IFE ecosystem customizable to their business goals. There are four (4) key features to InFlyt360 Personalization, Monetization, Fresh & Dynamic Content and Optimization. Thales firmly believes that the InFlyt360 platform will open new possibilities for brand differentiation, passenger engagement, increased exposure and the ability to provide new revenue generation opportunities for the airlines.


Spirit/Thales

Spirit Airlines, a leading carrier in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean with more than 550 daily flights to 65 destinations, has a clear strategic vision to transform the overall guest experience on the ground and in the air. To help achieve this big ambition, Spirit will rely on Thales to launch FlytLIVE, the next generation connectivity experience, supporting their mission of customer choice and operational excellence.
Through the signing of today’s agreement, Spirit and Thales are partnering every step of the way to bring the most advanced Ka-band High-Throughput connectivity solution optimized for commercial aviation to the aircraft. FlytLIVE services will use SES and Hughes next-generation aviation satellite network and technology to provide the airline unmatched performance, ultra-high speeds and redundancy. With FlytLIVE, Spirit’s guests will enjoy full Internet services including video streaming, games and social media for an engaging experience in the air.
Spirit is the first U.S. based airline to select FlytLIVE by Thales. The all-Airbus fleet of A319, A320 and A321 aircraft is the youngest fleet of any major U.S. airline. All aircraft will be equipped with FlytLIVE by Thales, a simple, seamless and secure connectivity solution providing an exceptional passenger and airline experience. The first aircraft are scheduled to enter into service by the end of 2018, with the entire fleet operating with FlytLIVE by summer 2019.

“We’re thrilled to enhance the inflight Guest experience with the addition of Thales FlytLIVE Wi-Fi,” said Ted Christie, Spirit Airline’s President. “By Summer 2019, every plane in our fleet should be fully equipped with Thales’ state-of-the-art connectivity service to keep our Guests connected in the skies. It’s just one of the many investments we’ve made, and will continue to make, for our Guests ”

Together, Spirit and Thales will collaborate on optional products and services giving customers the flexibility to choose only the options they value. FlytLIVE is capable of creating innovative revenue generation and advertising opportunities for the airline. The Thales offering also provides bandwidth and session management, operational support tools, maintenance, service and support with the highest Service Level Agreements; leveraging Thales leading digital and cybersecurity expertise.

“Thales is proud to be partnering with Spirit to mark a new era of guest experience in connectivity and bring solutions that make tomorrow possible today,” said Dominique Giannoni, CEO of Thales InFlyt Experience. “We are focused on supporting Spirit’s mission and helping to shape new opportunities as we work together to provide an exceptional passenger experience.”


Gogo

“We’re happy to announce that we have received approval for installation of our 2Ku satellite Wi-Fi system on the Airbus A321neo. This approval, also referred to as an STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) is what we need to make modifications to an aircraft beyond what was originally done by the manufacturer. Approval for the A321neo is the latest in a long line of STC’s we’ve received that cover 2Ku installations on a wide variety of aircraft, from the smallest single aisle planes, all the way up to the massive Airbus A380. Gaining the STC for the A321neo is a major milestone for Gogo, especially since several of our airline partners already have this aircraft in their fleet, or are awaiting delivery.”


Aftermarket Aviation Business Growth

If there is one connectivity related subject you should watch it is the aftermarket service and support organizations Boeing and Airbus (and other plane vendors) have started to work with. They are leveraging outside manufacturers and others to increase customer involvement, build future marketing efforts, and increase the expansion of their businesses … its the future of the connectivity part of the model. We won’t tell the whole story here because it is just now being written and IFEC companies better stay aware. This is “THE” big collaboration and integration deal so watch for the future of many of aviation businesses, outside industry companies, and others in the IFE/connectivity aftermarket: … by “eliminating the immense costs and hurdles commonly associated with acquisition, installation and operation of data-access infrastructure by streamlining system integration and certification,” – Inside MRO broke the aftermarket business cooperation code. The interesting part in all this for our readers is to see the resulting impact on IFEC companies and how they will respond. These technologies include cybersecurity, AI, Big Data, and analytics – just to name a few. Probably, business acquisition and new business strategies will be the future outcome. If collaboration is the new “name of the connectivity game,” then truly, that will result in reduced future costs and better use of the increased data. Watch this one and be sure to check out next week’s IFExpress for more.


Other News

  • The AEEC Meeting Agenda (April 23-25, 2018, in Dallas, Texas) is here – AEEC General Session | SAE ITC Checkout it out. A number of subjects caught our eye – “Big Data – An Introduction”, “Long-Range Communication”, “Aircraft Connectivity”- just to add a few!
  • As part of the future of aviation connectivity you should watch GE Aviation as they have acquired part of Avionica in a joint ventured effort to provide wireless data collection/processing for aircraft with connectivity to the ground.
  • Declare your food folks if you are US bound! Lifehacker
  • US/UAE have signed an agreement to remove competition challenges and issues – U.S. and UAE sign pact to resolve airline competition claims | Reuters

This week’s first story is from our friends at Lufthansa Systems and so we feature a Lufthansa rectangle (our ride home from Germany) and we liked the picture! We also had a great visit with Lufthansa Systems and the new management is really focusing the directions of their products and services.


Lufthansa Systems

You may well be familiar with Lufthansa Systems (LS) and their four (4) primary product offerings: 1. BoardConnect , which offers a modular,  scalable design to the airlines and their passengers; 2. BoardConnect Plus has all the features of BoardConnect with the added benefit of enabling passengers to enter the web via a unique passenger portal through a partnership with Inmarsat GX Aviation;  3. BoardConnect Portable – a  simpler, more flexible, all-in-one solution that is ideal for low-cost operators; 4. and BoardConnect Portable/Link –  the latest addition to the BoardConnect platform, and as the name indicates, is a portable IFE product with a connectivity solution that utilizes Iridium NEXT. Iridium Next is a worldwide service that has several small satellites with sufficient bandwidth for all messaging and payment services. Lufthansa Systems told us that BoardConnect Portable is the only portable system without the need for disruptive battery handling and does not require extensive retrofitting of the aircraft.

During AIX 2018, we had the opportunity to meet with Jan-Peter Ganse of Lufthansa Systems and Lukas Bucher of Lufthansa Technik to hear about the companies latest undertakings since APEX ’17. Lufthansa Systems and their partner optile announced the launch of a pilot program targeted to optimize the payment processes with the open aircraft IT platform BoardConnect. The project focuses on enabling passengers to make convenient in-app payments for digital content and shopping services. The prototype of the solution was introduced at AIX. The concept is to facilitate ease of payment for the passengers. Users only need to enter their payment data one when booking via the airline app. Further payments can be made use the previously chosen payment method, considerably simplifying the process, while increasing security. The benefit to the airline? A simplified payment process for passengers enables the carrier to maximize their ancillary revenue potential. The new technology has already been proven in an innovative project run by Eurowings, Retail inMotion, Lufthansa Technik (who provided the wireless access points), optile and Lufthansa Systems. “Partnering with optile allows us to offer our airline customers an open and flexible payment solution, enabling payment with a single click and supporting multiple payment methods (e.g. AliPay, PayPal, etc.),” said Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “Passengers will love the seamless payment process which makes is really easy to buy products and services. This will help airlines to keep the passenger in their ecosystem throughout the entire journey.”

Lufthansa Systems also announced that Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, one of the first customers for BoardConnect Portable, has been using the product on their sixteen aircraft flying routes from Western Australia. Virgin Australia Airlines was one of the first BoardConnect customers back in 2013 and has the system available on more than 100 aircraft flying today. In a collaborative effort with Gogo (satellite provider), Virgin Australia is rolling out inflight Wi-Fi based on the BoardConnect Plus product. This variant of the BoardConnect product suite enables the integration of any connectivity solution selected by the airline customer. The airline will also be migrating to BoardConnect 5.0 by year’s end. This latest software version features a fresh design with a new user interface and an open platform architecture based on HTML5 compared to the native app approach of earlier versions.


Turkish Technic

Turkish Technic and Havelsan will carry out the production of in-flight entertainment systems. This Joint Venture Company will perform activities in the field of in-flight entertainment and internet service provider systems and other software used in civil aviation including design, production, maintenance, repair, marketing, sales and after-sales services in land, sea, rail systems and air platforms. The Company is aiming to provide line-fit in-flight entertainment systems as approved supplier for both Turkish Airlines’ new generation aircraft to be delivered between 2022-2023 and other domestic and international airlines’ aircraft. In-flight entertainment systems which play a very important role especially for long haul flights and foster customer satisfaction, are planning to be produced by this company with high technology and competitive prices. At the first stage, the company, to be operational at Turkish Technics’ Sabiha Gökçen International Airport facilities in 2018, is planning to commercialize its products for domestic airline operators and other operators within its close region.


AIRBUS

A320ceo: Germany’s Lufthansa ordered some 16 new planes worth 2.1 billion euros ($2.5 billion), including some six Airbus A320ceos to make up for delivery shortcomings in a newer version of the jet (and four Boeing  B777 long haul jets.)

A350 XWB: The Ultra Long Range version of the A350 XWB, MSN 216,  has successfully completed its first flight. The latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB Family will be able to fly further than any other commercial airliner and will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines in second half 2018. The aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines has embarked on a short flight test program to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 that will extend its range capability to 9,700 nautical miles. These changes include a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 liters, without the need for additional fuel tanks. The test phase will also measure enhanced performance from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.

With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the Ultra Long Range A350 XWB is capable of flying over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances.

Altogether, Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, which it will use on non-stop flights between Singapore and the US, including the world’s longest commercial service between Singapore and New York.

At the end of March 2018, Airbus has recorded a total of 854 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Singapore Airlines is one of the largest customers for the A350 XWB Family, having ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven Ultra Long Range models. The carrier has already taken delivery of 21 A350-900s

Rolls Royce: Airbus and Rolls-Royce have signed a collaboration agreement for the integration of Rolls-Royce’s UltraFan demonstrator for flight testing. The integration solutions demonstration will be co-funded by Clean Sky 2, the European Union research program focused on developing technology to reduce emissions. UltraFan is a scalable jet engine design suitable for widebody or single-aisle aircraft and offers a 25 percent fuel efficiency improvement over the first-generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engine. Airbus’ integration solutions will play an important part in achieving the overall fuel efficiency improvement of higher bypass ratio engines such as UltraFan, through innovative architecture and associated technologies. UltraFan features a new engine core architecture and lean-burn combustion system which will contribute to improved fuel burn efficiency and lower emissions, along with a carbon titanium fan blade system and composite casing which reduce weight. The engine also introduces a geared design to deliver efficient power at high-bypass ratios. For Airbus, the project will enable it to fully integrate the overall powerplant system – composed of engine, pylon and nacelle – onto future long-range aircraft products, as well as facilitating scalability for future short-range aircraft. It will also build on Airbus’ expertise in advanced manufacturing technologies, such as high-deposition-rate additive manufacture, welded assembly and high production rate thermoplastics.


BOEING

Lufthansa Group: Boeing and the Lufthansa Group completed an order for four more 777 airplanes, valued at $1.4 billion at list prices. The purchase is part of the aviation company’s plans to modernize its fleet with newer widebody airplanes.

“The order for the new long-haul aircraft highlights the strategy of Lufthansa Group to predominantly allocate the growth within its multi-hub system where cost and quality offer the best conditions for profitable investments,” said the Lufthansa Group in a company statement.

The order provides two more Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes for Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), the national carrier of Switzerland and a member of the Lufthansa Group.

SWISS currently operates 10 777-300ERs, one of the most efficient, capable and reliable twin-aisle passenger airplanes in aviation. The airline says the 777-300ER has served as the backbone of their long-haul fleet and the additional airplanes will allow them to further expand their network.

The order also provides two more 777 Freighters for Lufthansa Cargo, one of the world’s leading air freight carriers that serves nearly 300 destinations. The 777-300ER can seat up to 386 passengers in a three-class configuration and has a maximum range of 7,930 nautical miles (14,685 km). The 777 Freighter, the industry’s largest and longest range twin-engine cargo jet, can fly 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 kilometers) with a payload of 102 metric tonnes (102,000 kg).

Ryanair: Boeing and European low-cost carrier Ryanair announced on recently that they finalized an order for 25 additional high-capacity 737 MAX 8 airplanes. The $3 billion order, at current list prices, was previously listed as unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website. Ryanair launched the high-capacity 737 MAX 8 in late 2014 with an order for 100 airplanes, followed by an additional order for 10 airplanes at the 2017 Paris Air Show. The airplane will provide Ryanair with 197 seats, increasing revenue potential and delivering up to 14 percent lower fuel consumption than today’s Next-Generation 737s.

Europe’s leading low-cost carrier will be the first airline to operate the 737 MAX 200, a variant based on the successful 737 MAX 8 that can accommodate up to 200 seats, which will provide carriers with up to 11 more seats of potential revenue and up to 5 percent lower operating costs than the 737 MAX 8.

The Dublin-based carrier is the largest 737-800 customer in the world and the largest Boeing operator in Europe. Last month, Ryanair took delivery of its 500th Next-Generation 737-800 and has now ordered more than 650 Boeing airplanes.

Gulf Air: Boeing and Gulf Air celebrated the delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner for the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The airplane also debuts the carrier’s new livery. Gulf Air is set to take delivery of four more Dreamliners this year. The airline plans to introduce the 787 on its twice-daily service between Bahrain and London Heathrow before deploying the long-range efficient jet on other routes.

Boeing has delivered more than 670 787s since deliveries began in 2011. The 787 fleet has flown more than 240 million passengers while saving over 23 billion pounds of fuel and enabling airlines to open more than 180 new nonstop routes around the world.

The first Gulf Air 787 – painted in the airline’s new livery – recently flew a special mission to the airline’s home base to perform a fly pass over the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix. Formula 1 race fans were treated to a dramatic aerial display prior to the start of the championship race.

Alaska Air: The airline converted its 15 737-8 orders to the larger model, bringing its firm orders for the Max 9 to 32, during the first quarter. It also has 11 737-900ER orders. Alaska will take its first Max in 2019 with deliveries continuing through 2023.  (source: FlightGlobal)


OTHER NEWS

  • Want to know more about software API’s? It’s an application program interface and, yes, it is the part of the software/hardware that receives requests and sends responses – Check out this descriptive article
  • Perhaps probiotics can help jet-lag? Want to know more? Read this article.

Here are some shortcuts to cybersecurity:

 

  • In-flight entertainment server weighs 1.2 kg
  • Features moving map and geo-triggered entertainment

California | April 28, 2018– Aircraft owners looking for a moving map and in-flight entertainment solution will find it in a tiny, lightweight, inexpensive component introduced in Geneva in May: the GojiBox.

The paperback-sized server is easy to install: you place it in a cabinet or elsewhere on the aircraft, and hook it up to navigation data, power, and the cabin wireless system. Then, it emits entertainment:  passengers connect to the wi-fi and enjoy a variety of built-in content.

The moving map is the number-one most requested visual asset for passengers. Yet many aircraft do not have one because of the weight and size of the servers. This is where GojiBox comes in: it is the smallest IFE server in the industry. At a trim 12cm square x 5cm thick (5” square x 2” thick), it fits into the most compact cabins, and weighs just 1.2kg (2.6 lbs). Power consumption is also minimal, topping out at 50 watts.

The GojiBox delivers a big bang for a small box and includes the following:

  • Moving map: the Navigator 2D and 3D interactive moving maps, an industry-leading solution from Airborne Interactive.
  • GeoRadio, the only geo-triggered radio show on Earth: when passengers put on their headsets, they hear a show about the people and places they are passing.
  • GeoVideo. This geo-triggered 4K video fills cabin screens and passenger devices with gorgeous footage of the land below, and of their destination.
  • Goji Points-of-Interest, photos of every spot the plane flies, along with updated info on places to visit, dine, and shop. With 5,000 POIs worldwide, it is a geo-triggered pageant of photos for passengers’ devices, or on 4K screens in the cabin.
  • AVOD (Audio-video on demand). With a terabyte of storage, GojiBox holds hundreds of movies that can be loaded by thumb drive.

Goji Points-of-Interest have already been integrated into commercial and business aircraft for several years.  This is the first time the product will be hosted in its own hardware component.

Visitors can experience the magic of the GojiBox with a hands on demonstration of its content, at EBACE, May 29-31,2018 in Geneva, at the Gotham Studios booth W133 by the Gulfstream stand.

Gogo

Late last week, Gogo announced some adjustments to their leadership roles within the commercial aviation division, as well as, the business aviation sector. John Wade, who has more than 30 years of aviation and IFEC industry experience, joined Gogo back in 2008 after a stint as CTO of ONAIR, has been named as the first President of Gogo’s Commercial Aviation Division. If you remember, in 2016 John was moved from General Manager of the Business Aviation Division to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Commercial.  He was responsible for Gogo’s operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales. In this new role as Gogo President he will have end-to-end responsibility for managing all aspects of the Commercial Aviation business, including product development, technology, sales, account management, quality, marketing and all aspects of product delivery.

Also, Sergio Aguirre, formerly senior vice president and general manager, will now serve as President of Gogo’s Business Aviation Division. Aguirre will continue to be responsible for managing the Business Aviation (BA) division and will now report directly to the CEO, Oakleigh Thorne. Aguirre joined Gogo in 2002. Aguirre is also an aviation industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience.

Anand Chari, who has served as the Company’s Chief Technology Officer since 2011, will move into a new role as Strategic Technology Advisor. Chari has been with Gogo since 2003 and has been instrumental in the design and development of the company’s ground-breaking ATG (air-to-ground) and 2Ku (satellite) products.

Jon Cobin, who joined Gogo in 2010, will now serve as Chief Strategy Office and Executive Vice President Corporate Development. This is a newly created role and Cobin will be responsible for leading company wide business, strategic planning and corporate development efforts as Gogo seeks to leverage the Commercial and Business Aviation product portfolios to drive growth and share value.

All of the above appointments are effective as of May 1, 2018.


Next, we thought you might like to see just some of the AIX highlights we noted. But be advised, there are plenty more.

  1. Virtual Reality in IFE applications is becoming more available and better; however, it is not replacing IFE – some goggle developers, like SkyLights, are really doing a bang-up job.
  2. New potential revenue generation via “paying for inflight power” is on the horizon – think low cost carriers here.
  3. Improving flight operational efficiency was hight-lighted by Gogo’s Flex Developer. Keep your eye on this one!
  4. Inflight content downloading of entertainment is new, and one time viewing on (and off ) the plane is a reality says GEE.
  5. One tekkie vendor has developed a code based solution for installations in IFE systems that “reduces” the bandwidth required for streamed movies and the system prevents delays when all are watching movies. The German start-up Cadami is one to watch.
  6. Smaller removable streaming Wi-Fi servers now have onboard battery installations so they do not need removal and recharging as often, noted Lufthansa Systems and AirFi.
  7. The folks at Zii have developed the next generation of IFE with a seatback system display that has the thickness of a couple stacked coins. It was super cool!!
  8. The “cloud” is now available in IFEC from Panasonic and others.
  9. Seat power boxes are getting smaller, just ask Astronics.
  10. Onboard retail sales support and software is even more available because of real-time connectivity.

Round-Up: AIX – Day 2 & 3

Here is an outline last two days of the show reported by the AIX TEAM!

Day 2 of AIX saw yet more exhibitors choosing the show to announce their latest deals and newest offerings.

April 11, 2018 announcements included:

  • Ensinger Plastics announced their new flame-retardant materials, TECAMID 6 (PA 6) FRT, TECAMID 66 GF15 FRT and TECANYL (PPE) VH2, which can replace metals to achieve significant weight reduction in aircraft.
  • Recaro announced it will supply its CL4400 business class seats to WOW, the Icelandic budget carrier. A total of 15 aircraft will be completed by year-end.
  • Inmarsat has signed a deal with low-cost Indonesian airline Citilink. The deal has been signed in partnership with Lufthansa Technik, Lufthansa Systems and Indonesian tech company Mahata Aero Teknologi and will see a retrofit of 50 of Citilink’s Airbus A320s with Inmarsat’s GX Aviation in-flight broadband service.
  • Geven announced the Essenza economy-class seat has been ordered by Lufthansa for its Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS A320 and A321neo fleet. Deliveries will take place from Q4 of this year until 2022.
  • Panasonic Avionics announced an agreement to provide fuel saving solutions for Air Austral’s narrowbody and widebody aircraft. The first step will implement Safety Line’s OptiClimb solution on all aircraft in the fleet, helping the carrier save fuel with optimized climb profiles for pilots.
  • GKN Fokker has partnered with cosmetics brand Rituals to launch a cabin scenting system which aims to create a more pleasant in-flight experience and influence the mood of passengers.
  • Sekisui Specialty Polymer Innovations has launched the new, back-lit, Lumina version of its KYDEX plastic panels, which are available in any color, printable with infused images for durability and thermoformable to almost any shape.

For the second and final day of the AIX educational program, the FlightGlobal forecast sessions in Cabin Space Live Seminar Theater took a theme of social responsibility:

  • Making IFE accessible for everyone: Over 200 million people worldwide are registered as visually impaired. In the next few years airlines flying to the US will be required to offer an IFE solution for visually and hearing-impaired passengers. FlightGlobal Data, Lufthansa Solutions and Crystal Cabin Award winner Bluebox Aviation discussed what current and future solutions can offer to passengers.
  • End of Life Cabin Equipment: The discussion between Turkish Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Professor Dieter Scholz, from Hamburg University of Applied Science, looked at the life-cycle of cabin equipment and its impact on the environment in both operation and disposal. The panel also discussed solutions, such as manufacturers buying back components from the airlines to recycle them, and whether regulation is needed to tackle environmental impact.
  • Predicted maintenance and the connected aircraft: Panellists from Lufthansa Technik, Gogo and Air Transat discussed how OEMs and MROs could use aircraft connectivity to transmit raw aircraft health data in real time, and the question of who should have control over and access to the data increased aircraft connectivity provides.

AIX’s Exhibition Director, Polly Magraw, comments: “Day two has been as busy as ever as our visitors explore the 11 halls we have here at AIX and the breath-taking exhibits on display.

“We started the day with a First Time Exhibitor speed networking event, where they had the chance to meet some of the attending media. We love hosting this event each year as it gives them a platform to share the truly innovative products and services they have on display at AIX.

“In 2018, we have also launched the Ideation Hub. These sessions give delegates the opportunity to take advantage of AIX, as an unrivaled industry gathering, by coming together to generate ideas for the future of aircraft interior design and the integrated passenger experience.”

AIX Day 3 – Over 14,000 attendees, 600 exhibiting companies and 1200 VIPs from more than 260 global airlines descended on the Hamburg Messe for the world’s largest Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany this week. With the Expo capturing the attention of the world’s media and with almost 200 journalists in attendance, exhibiting companies showcased revolutionary products and concepts that demonstrated how the future of air travel is set to change for passengers. This year, more exhibiting companies than ever before used the show as a platform to make announcements. These included:

  •  Acro is to supply its Series 3 ST seat to Viva Air for the airline’s 50 Airbus A320 aircraft on order.
  • Airbus announced the development of a new option for A380 aircraft, ‘A380 Cabin-Flex’. The enhancement, which consists of a new cabin door area arrangement on the upper-deck, is available for line-fit and retrofit, and will be installed on Qantas’ current A380 fleet from mid 2019.
  • Geven announced the Essenza economy-class seat has been ordered by Lufthansa for its Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS A320 and A321neo fleet. Deliveries will take place from Q4 of this year until 2022.
  • Global Eagle Entertainment launched the Airconnect Go video-on-demand system portable IFE system for regional aircraft, which streams content to passengers’ own devices through Global Eagle’s Airtime portal.
  • Gogo announced that Air Canada has extended its agreement to install the provider’s 2Ku in-flight connectivity service on its Bombardier CSeries CS300 fleet, with the system to be line-fit during assembly.
  • Inmarsat signed a deal with low-cost Indonesian airline Citilink. The deal has been signed in partnership with Lufthansa Technik, Lufthansa Systems and Indonesian tech company Mahata Aero Teknologi and will see a retrofit of 50 of Citilink’s Airbus A320s with Inmarsat’s GX Aviation in-flight broadband service.
  • GKN Fokker has partnered with cosmetics brand Rituals to launch a cabin scenting system which aims to create a more pleasant in-flight experience and influence the mood of passengers.
  • Panasonic Avionics announced the debut of their new airline on-board loyalty platform, called NEXT Loyalty, with Singapore Airlines as launch customer, as well as a partnership with gategroup on their new retail platform NEXT Marketplace, and an IFEC commitment from Turkish Airlines for 50 wide-bodied aircraft.
  • Recaro announced it will supply its CL4400 business class seats to WOW, the Icelandic budget carrier. A total of 15 aircraft will be completed by year-end.
  • Thales announced the expansion of its inflight entertainment portfolio with CORE and PRESTIGE, offering a full spectrum of solutions and services to maximize passenger satisfaction, loyalty and airline revenue.

AIX also showcased the winners of this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards with the award-winning technologies changing the future of the cabin. Amongst the winners were the Qatar Airways QSuite picked up with Cabin Concepts award, Rockwell Collins ‘Silhouette MOVE’ won the Cabin Systems category and Bluebox Aviation’s Accessible IFE for passengers with visual impairment cleaned up in the IFEC category.

With the latest innovations in connectivity, in-flight entertainment and passenger comfort hardware on display, alongside an educational program looking at the areas of focus for the industry, many trends were highlighted at the Expo.

  • Inflight Entertainment – Passengers increasingly want to replicate the mutli-screen environment they enjoy today on the ground, in the air. Using a mixture of seatback screens with their own devices to both enjoy inflight entertainment and use a second screen to stay connected with friends and family via email and social.
  • Passenger Comfort – Over the past year, with the introduction of more and more double beds and family suites – flying really does feel like a hotel stay. However, seat manufacturers are also improving passenger comfort in Economy by enabling the enhancement of all cabins onboard to retain customer loyalty in an ever increasingly competitive market.
  • Extension of flight experience –  companies are looking increasingly at entire travel experience and now including the time before boarding, such as individual seat selection via a virtual walk through the cabin, and the ability to select films and music in advance through customizable apps

A daily program of education sessions were hosted at the FlightGlobal CabinSpace LIVE Seminar Theater, with participants from across the industry discussing issues including accessible IFE, end-of-life equipment and the burden on the environment, and management of data and the increasing demand for connectivity.

Exhibition Director, Polly Magraw, comments:

“Every year we see more and more demand from passengers for seamless connectivity and greater expectations placed on all the players that make up the travel experience. As a result, we have seen some truly ground-breaking innovations at AIX this week.

“I’d like to thank all of our exhibiting companies, VIP airline attendees and visitors for helping to continue to make AIX the world-renowned event for the aircraft interiors sector. With the aircraft interiors industry innovating rapidly, we look forward to bringing you all of the latest updates at the 20th AIX next year.”

Aircraft Interiors Expo will return to the Hamburg Messe from 2nd – 4th April 2019 where it will be co-located with World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS). Along with the Passenger Experience Conference the three expos make up Passenger Experience Week.

For more information about Aircraft Interiors Expo please visit: www.aircraftinteriorsexpo.com

New cooperation enables airlines to better monetise their IFE offerings

Raunheim, Germany | April 18, 2018–Lufthansa Systems today announced that it will work closely together with programmatic inflight advertising specialist Inadvia. The partnership will lead to increased advertising revenues for Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect customers by allowing them to monetise their in-flight entertainment (IFE) through the global digital programmatic marketplace.

“How to monetise the entertainment and connectivity offerings is always a crucial topic for our airline customers. That´s why we are delighted to be partnering with Inadvia”, says Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “Our BoardConnect open aircraft IT platform has all of the necessary advertising standards built in already, and we believe the integration of the Inadvia capabilities on the platform represents the strongest possible approach in the market today.”

After announcing new partnerships and customers last week at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, this is another example on how easy and flexible the open aircraft IT platform BoardConnect enables additional features and services. This new partnership allows Lufthansa Systems to add yet more value to its customers by being at the cutting edge of the migration to a more scalable and sustainable way of effectively monetising in-flight entertainment, while at the same time allowing airlines to remain in complete control of their environment.

Programmatic advertising automates the process of buying and selling media and Inadvia is the world’s first programmatic video advertising platform dedicated to in-flight media. The company has solved the technical challenges involved in plugging IFE systems into the programmatic advertising ecosystem, by setting media-industry friendly standards and being able to work in both disconnected and connected environments.

In recent years, programmatic and digital video advertising have shown enormous growth, but there has been no infrastructure available for airlines to fully access those advertising budgets. This changes with the cooperation between Lufthansa Systems and Inadvia.

“Beyond having a proven IFEC solution in BoardConnect, Lufthansa Systems have consistently shown us how forward-thinking they are in their adoption of some of the necessary standards the advertising and media industry require to invest, and that makes them a wonderful partner for Inadvia.” says Tim Letheren, Director, Inadvia, “Working with BoardConnect gives us an opportunity to display how programmatic advertising allows the highest possible sell-through rates, incredibly competitive revenue yield, and provide passengers with more relevant advertising than ever before.”

Aircraft Interiors Expo, Hamburg | April 12, 2018– In response to a request from its long-standing client Icelandair, STG Aerospace has designed, developed and patented a powerful and simple saf-Tsign® product, introduced to upgrade dated Passenger Service Units (PSU), complete with a switchable Wi-Fi sign.

As one of the first airlines to roll-out high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity across its entire fleet of aircraft, Icelandair turned to STG Aerospace to effectively communicate this major enhancement in the passenger experience on its fleet of Boeing 757 aircraft.

Through a powerful combination of photoluminescent and LED technology, the new PSU lens removes the need to backlight the No Smoking icon by moving it to a central position and illuminating the command with blue glowing photoluminescence, ensuring the sign is always visible even in low light and dark conditions.

Creating a switchable display on the left, now converted to LED, the No Smoking icon has been changed to a Wi-Fi icon, allowing airlines to manage the availability of the service and advertising to passengers that Wi-Fi is available on-board.

Dr Sean O’Kell, Director of Innovation at STG Aerospace, commented:

“When Icelandair approached us, we were only too pleased to respond. By applying our commitment to innovation and our expertise in both photoluminescent and LED technologies, we were able to rapidly develop an elegant solution and, using our in-house facilities, bring a new product to market in a remarkably short space of time.”

Sigurður Ingi Ljótsson, Industrial Designer at Icelandair, said: “Our long-standing relationship with STG Aerospace made them a first choice for this PSU upgrade project. By changing the switched no-smoking symbol for a Wi-Fi available one, we can let passengers know in the day or night that Wi-Fi connectivity is available on our planes.

In addition to the practical and aesthetic benefits, the new patented PSU lens is a lighter, simpler, retrofit solution that can be customised to provide effective on-brand messaging to all passengers on-board. To complete the modernisation process, STG Aerospace offers direct, filtered white LED’s to illuminate the sign and its latest square beam reading light.

Aircraft Interiors EXPO Hamburg, Germany | April 11, 2018– The world’s largest international carrier, Emirates, has surpassed a staggering one million Wi-Fi sessions in March, powered by SITAONAIR’s connected aircraft expertize. It represents a major moment for inflight connectivity (IFC), highlighting passengers’ demand for services that enable them to seamlessly maintain their digital lives, by streaming, chatting, enjoying social media, shopping and surfing, as they fly.

Passengers travelling with Emirates consumed 1,037,016 SITAONAIR Internet ONAIR sessions between 1 and 31 March 2018, across its B777-300ER and A380 aircraft fleet.

In partnership with SITAONAIR, Emirates offers onboard Wi-Fi and mobile connectivity to passengers across its six-continent network and on 98% of its fleet.

This is testament to inflight connectivity’s increasingly integral role in the modern passenger experience, meeting customers’ digital desires for seamless inflight connectivity, comparable with the at-home experience.

The reaching of this milestone follows last year’s extension of the SITAONAIR-Emirates partnership, and the rollout of personalized inflight connectivity for members of the airline’s award-winning loyalty program, Emirates Skywards, through SITAONAIR’s onboard Wi-Fi portal, Internet ONAIR.

A major contributor to the achievement has beenSITAONAIR’s open cabin approach, which has enabled Emirates to roll out seamless Wi-Fi globally.

The airline’s passengers enjoy a consistent IFC user experience, regardless of the various satellite connections or pre-existing onboard technologies, and unconstrained by hardware suppliers’ refresh cycles.

David Lavorel, CEO, SITAONAIR, said: “We are delighted to share this major inflight connectivity milestone with Emirates. With 43% of global airlines perceiving an enhanced passenger experience as by far the connected aircraft’s biggest benefit, SITAONAIR and our long-standing customer is rising to the challenge of meeting passengers’ desire to stay connected.

“As the industry champions of an ‘open platforms’ approach, we believe all airlines can be empowered to achieve their inflight connectivity ambitions, whatever their fleet or pre-existing avionics. This moment illustrates the success of this strategy, and SITAONAIR’s ability to support airlines of all sizes to achieve integrated nose-to-tail connectivity, no matter their technological starting point. This milestone, achieved across the diverse Emirates fleet, validates our approach.”

Now offering a “One Stop Shop” for cabin WiFi systems, installation kits and STCs

Hamburg, Germany | April 11, 2018–Kontron, a leading global provider of embedded computing inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFE&C) equipment, today announced a strategic partnership with Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CarlisleIT) to provide turnkey Cabin WiFi system hardware solutions, aircraft installation kits and Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs)  to the rapidly growing IFE&C market.

Kontron and CarlisleIT have been collaborating for some time, and the partnership agreement that has now been signed enables the two companies to work together more closely to offer a unified solution to global customers. This “One Stop Shop” approach makes it easy for a variety of customer profiles to launch and deploy inflight systems for wireless IFE, connectivity, retail, aircraft operations and other applications. Target customers include not only airlines, but also system integrators, connectivity service providers and software media companies.

Kontron and CarlisleIT already have an approved STC for cabin WiFi system installation on the Airbus A320 family of aircraft, and STC approval for Boeing 737 is anticipated by mid-2018. The Kontron/CarlisleIT business model is to offer use of the cabin WiFi installation design and STC to customers at no charge, minimizing both time to deployment and up-front investment costs.

The integrated WiFi system solution consists of industry-leading Kontron ACE Flight™ server and several Cab-n-Connect™ wireless access points. Kontron provides an application-ready solution with an integrated software package, including the Linux OS, drivers, libraries and APIs needed to control and operate the system. Test software is provided with the system to validate all functions once installed on the aircraft. Kontron also optionally offers its AirDefense® WiFi security software and extended service contracts.

CarlisleIT provides the aircraft installation design, engineering/certification services and is the manufacturer of aircraft installation kits for the A320 and B737. CarlisleIT is also experienced in SATCOM connectivity installation designs.

“The Kontron/CarlisleIT partnership is already well established and is gaining significant traction in the IFE&C market, especially in Europe and Asia,” said Andy Mason, Vice President Technology at Kontron America. “CarlisleIT is an excellent partner for Kontron and brings an ideal set of complementary capabilities to the table.”

“Our partnership with Kontron is very important as it strengthens our ability in providing turn-key solutions to a market that is demanding quality and reliability in a compressed timeframe,” said Gordon Smart, Director of Sales, IFE & Connectivity for CarlisleIT.  “Kontron is an established industry leader for cabin WiFi systems that we are proud to be aligned with.” Visit CarlisleIT at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, in booth #C40, Hall 2.

Kontron will showcase the new ACE Flight 1600 Gateway Router and company’s complete product line for the commercial aviation market at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, April 10-12, in Kontron’s booth #E24, Hall 2.

Well, AIX 2018 is finally upon us and the next 4 days promise to be an innovative rich and technology filled environment. Lets get started with a few pre-show news highlights.


Astronics

Astronics Corporation announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), has been selected by multiple Asia-Pacific airlines to install the EmPower in-seat power and flight deck power systems. Several major airlines in Asia will install the EmPower systems from 2018 to 2025, including two Chinese low-cost carriers. These recent awards will place in-seat power within 500 additional narrow-body aircraft serving the Asia-Pacific region. The installations are scheduled on both Boeing and Airbus aircraft.


Panasonic Avionics

Interested in the latest technological developments from Panasonic at this year’s AIX Hamburg? You can find out about Panasonic’s show offering here


Rockwell Collins

The Crystal Cabin Award recognizes excellence in aircraft interior innovation—the only international award of its kind. It’s a unique honor and this year, Rockwell Collins is a finalist in four categories: Visionary Concepts, Cabin Systems, Material & Components and Passenger Comfort Hardware. The category winners will be announced on Apr. 10, 2018, at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany. The following aircraft interior solutions from Rockwell Collins are finalists:

Universal Passenger Seat interface (UPSi)

The cost to certify seats with differing advanced actuation and data sensing can be in the tens of millions of dollars in many sectors of transportation. The UPSi is a solution for autonomous transportation that transcends industries and provides a universal, standard seat interface applicable to aircraft, vehicles and trains. This Visionary Concept finalist aims to slash development costs and create synergies across the autonomous transportation industry.

Silhouette MOVE: A revolutionary cabin divider for all aircraft platforms, this Cabin Systems category finalist takes advantage of unused space between the divider and the seat in front of it. Bulkhead seated passengers get an additional one cubic foot of space, giving them more space to stretch their legs and place carry-on items.

Secant Luminous Panel: A finalist in the Materials & Components category, this micro LED lighting display is incorporated into the interior body and ceiling panels of the aircraft using flexible printed circuit boards. This solution enables airlines to adjust the lighting to improve sleep and the cabin’s appearance, and it provides the opportunity for airlines to uniquely brand their aircraft.

Valkyrie Bed:This is a new solution to an old problem—how to make a seat into a comfortable place to sleep. A Passenger Comfort Hardware finalist, business-class passengers get a more luxurious experience with a comfortable seat to work, eat and lounge. And when it is time to sleep, the seat folds away and a full-size mattress emerges from the console.

For more information about this year’s Crystal Cabin Award finalists, visit this site


SkyLights/Emirates

The airline is providing an immersive cinematic experience in its lounges in Dubai International Airport by providing Skylights theater headsets (See above) to customers. The headsets are being trialed in the Business Class lounge in Concourse B for the month of April and in the First Class lounge in concourse B in May. The introduction of these innovative new headsets is part of Emirates’ continued commitment to improve the customer experience both on the ground and in flight. Offering a fixed-screen with a wide-angle field of view for 3D and 2D content, each Skylight theater headset weighs only 120g and offers a Full HD viewing experience. Its in-built sound and video allow customers to fully immerse themselves in what they are watching. The service is complimentary and Emirates plans to roll out the experience across all its lounges in Dubai if the trial is well received.

Dubai International Airport is home to seven Emirates lounges spread over three concourses – A, B and C. In each of the concourses there is a dedicated Emirates First Class and Business Class lounge. Entry is complimentary for those traveling in Business or First Class as well as Emirates Skywards Silver, Gold and Platinum members. Emirates Skywards Blue members can visit the lounge for a fee. Emirates has the largest network of airport lounges worldwide. In addition to the seven in Dubai, there are 34 other dedicated Emirates Lounges in major airports across the globe.

SkyLights/Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways has started trialing SkyLights Aero Virtual Reality (VR) entertainment technology at its flagship First Class Lounge and Spa and Business Class Premium Lounge, at Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal 3. The aim of the month-long trial is to gather customer feedback to determine the airline’s future lounge entertainment offering at Abu Dhabi’s state-of-the-art Midfield Terminal. The SkyLights ALLOSKY VR headsets deliver an immersive, HD resolution, cinematic experience in 2D and 3D, featuring intuitive technology for ease of use and noise cancelling headphones. Each set has a battery life of over six hours which allows for uninterrupted enjoyment from a catalogue of recent blockbuster movies, selected 360° short films, TV series, documentaries and children’s programming. Throughout the trial, Etihad staff will assist interested guests at dedicated areas within both lounges. Each session will end with a short manual questionnaire.


PXCom

With the rapid growth of w-IFE solutions, the IFE/C industry has rapidly moved to the digital era. Now, even the seatback screens provide personal-device-like experience and beyond the legacy video & audio sections, all the other IFE sections can be significantly revamped to deliver a full digital experience, including engagement, personalization, and many other exciting features.

Meals Menus, Corporate Content & Destination Section – These are the three pillars – the initial use cases of PXCom’s end-to-end solution. “All the digital sections that we create intend to elevate the onboard experience by providing passengers with compelling content and to generate additional revenues for our airlines customers”, says Cyril JEAN, PXCom’s CEO. “For example, the interactive meals menu section can display the right content according to the seat class and route and encompass buy-on-board snacking options, as well as the ‘click and deliver’ features. As an example, an airline that intends to treat its premium passengers with a hand-picked wines & champagnes selection can offer to have their guests’ selection delivered directly to their home.” Since PXCom is a French company filled with wine and foodie lovers, they have absolutely no choice but to provide only THE VERY BEST of food and beverage highlights!

XPlore by PXCom, the sponsored inflight microsite factory –  PXCom’s technical wizards have extended XPlore by PXCom’s capabilities to enable brands and their media agencies to create their inflight microsites in full autonomy. As a result, they can deliver a customized digital inflight experience regardless of the type of IFE/C platform available onboard. Thanks to PXCom’s partnerships with most of IFE manufacturers (both seatback, w- IFE and IFC) those microsites are automatically uploaded during the airline’s media content update slot and are seamlessly integrated into the GUI. “We have been setting up XPlore’s sponsored inflight microsites on behalf of various customers now. The creation of the microsite is self-explanatory and very easy, thanks to the PXCom solution.”, states Christian SZABO, CEO of LASKER a major Cross Media Agency in Europe. “The integration of the microsite within the destination guide section offers advertisers the possibility for destination targeting in the IFE. By adding transaction-related elements, like downloadable voucher codes, advertisers are able 

LATECOERE, the world leading provider of Airborne Entertainment Cameras has selected PXCom to enrich its live external camera which streams high quality video from the aircraft exterior to passengers’ seatback screens using landscape camera technology. This move ensures a truly innovative way to boost the live camera experience!

Live contextual movement information in-flight  – Thanks to PXCom’s technology, passengers can now enjoy a multitude of points of interest related to places they pass by in the air. In real time, a short description that includes HD pictures and text is added to the live video stream that comes from LATECOERE’s landscape cameras. The new generation cameras provide 360° video streaming which is enhanced with software applications such as augmented reality prove to be really exciting for airline passengers.

Ancillary generator –  It goes without saying – as it’s the case with all PXCom’s solutions – airlines will be able to integrate advertising spaces which will be automatically filled with partners’ brands advertising material. Airlines’ media sales agencies can access PXCom’s back office to upload their campaigns and have them rolled out during the flight. LATECOERE’s vision is to maximize the added value provided to all Airborne Video Systems users and to boost ancillary revenue generation for its airline clients. The rational is to bring further investment into passengers’ inflight experience.

Live demonstration at the LATECOERE’s stand  – This exciting new inflight entertainment feature can be tested by all interested parties during AIX Hamburg 2018 at the LATECOERE’s stand #2E30. For further information on PXCom’s range of IFE solutions, we invite you to visit #3C30A during AIX Hamburg 2018.


Other Stuff

  • We asked Geoff Underwood, CEO at IFPL to tell us a little bit about what they will be showing at AIX and he told IFExpress: “As your IFExpress readers know, IFPL leads the way when it comes to designing power outlets.  With new consumer devices adopting USB-C as standard, IFPL will demonstrate how airlines can easily transition from USB Type-A to USB Type-C. As always, IFPL’s established range of audio and IFEC solutions will be on display and the expert team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirements that your readers or visitors to AIX 2018 may have”.  Thanks Geoff!
  • On Friday Boeing posted on their website that American Airlines has ordered 47 Boeing 787 Dreamliners with options to purchase 28 more of the long-haul jets. However, over the weekend Boeing has removed the news  from their site. Check out this article for the full story.
  • We love it when someone gets ahead of the crowd – and this time it is Rick Lundstrom, Editor-in-Chief, PAX International – and he did it by putting out the Aircraft Interiors Expo Hamburg issue, before the show. Its a winner and here it is – PAX International AIX March/April 2018 by Global Marketing Company Ltd – Issuu
  • Want to know if you have been hacked? Read through this story on the global future of Blockchain markets – Global blockchain market size is expected to reach $13.96 billion by 2022 | Technology Startups News | Tech News

IFExpress is looking forward to seeing you at AIX in Hamburg  next week. If you need to reach us please send a text directed to our Editor, Patricia Wiseman at +1 206 229 7899. We anticipate many new product developments and innovations! Lets get started:


AIX

Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), the global event that showcases the leading innovations in the passenger experience, is creating a platform for further innovation at this year’s show with the launch of an Ideation Hub. The Hub, will allow attendees from across the supply chain to synthesize future innovative ideas and collaborate on key issues relating to passenger experience. This is just one of the new features at this year’s show, which returns to the Hamburg Messe from 10th – 12th April 2018. The sessions will take inspiration from ‘related worlds’, along with trends and technology from other industries, to generate ideas that will seek to provide the customers of tomorrow with a more seamless passenger experience. Polly Magraw, Exhibition Director of the Aircraft Interiors Expo, says: “The Aircraft Interiors Expo has become known as the global showcase for innovation in the passenger experience. The Ideation Hub we are introducing this year will take this to the next dimension as we work with attendees including engineers, designers and innovators to foster collaboration within the industry at AIX.

Innovations on display

Many exhibitors will be showcasing product innovations at this year’s show, including:

  •  Bucher: Displaying a new space-saving galley and front-row monument combination –  a lightweight galley that has been optimized for maximum storage space.
  • Inflight Canada: Displaying the new FAST USB power system being installed on British Airways’ A320 family fleet.
  • Juki: The first digital sewing system for heavy-duty seating.
  • Mirus: New developments of its Hawk economy seating platform including IFE and power systems, as well as storage and comfort options.
  • Molon Labe: Unveiling its S1: Space Seat, which is a non-sliding version of its Side-Slip Seat and targets the short-range market with several unique features.
  • Soisa: The Glowing Experience in seat lighting which integrates ambient lighting into the seat cover.
  • Vision Systems: The second generation electronically dimmable window, based on a new industrial process for enhanced optical quality and lower cost.
  • WiFi Technologies: Officially releasing its Aviator WiFi private sitcom network that enables cockpit and cabin crew to use their own tablets as full mobile satcom terminals during flight.

CabinSpace LIVE Seminar Theatre and Crystal Cabin Awards showcase

Other enhancements for AIX 2018 include an expanded FlightGlobal CabinSpace LIVE programme, where attendees will have the opportunity to hear industry leaders discussing the latest trends and insights on major industry topics on 10th and 11th April 2018. These include ‘consolidation and the interiors supply chain’, ‘the future of inflight entertainment’, and‘predictive maintenance and the connected aircraft’, with speakers from leading companies including Lufthansa Technik, Delta Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Bluebox Aviation, along with a market outlook briefing from FlightGlobal’s Ascend consultancy.On 12th April at 11am, attendees will be able to see for themselves the innovations showcased at this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards in the CabinSpace Live Seminar Theatre, Hall B3 Upper, as the eight winners will present their winning concepts. Both events will take place in the CabinSpace LIVE Seminar Theatre in Hall B3 Upper.

Passenger Experience Conference

 The show-starter for AIX is the Passenger Experience Conference on 9th April, which brings together senior strategists from airlines, rail companies and from across the industry supply chain to holistically explore the latest passenger experience thinking with their peers. Visitors to the event will hear from leading speakers including Adam Wells, Head of Design at Virgin Galactic, Paul Priestman, Director & Chairman of PriestmanGoode, Célia Geslin, Head of Product & Customer Experience at Joon, David Lavorel, Chief Executive Officer of SITAONAIR, David Bartlett, Chief Technology Officer at Panasonic Avionics, Steve King, Chief Executive Officer of Black Swan Data, and Scott Savian, Executive Vice President ZEO at Zodiac Aerospace.

In addition to keynotes on the topics of ‘New frontiers for transport and passenger experience’, ‘Disruptive possibilities and their impact on the airline industry’, ‘Creating the world’s first spaceline’, and ‘Future Horizons’, the PEC will feature focused breakout sessions exploring ’Convergence and Mobility’,’ Flexible & Sustainable Thinking  and ’Personalizing the passenger journey’.

Passenger Experience Week

AIX is co-located alongside the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS), a new event for 2018 showcasing and exploring the latest technology trends that are transforming the passenger journey. Together the three events, along with the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) on 9th April, form Passenger Experience Week. Each year, Passenger Experience Week attracts more than 18,000 attendees from across the world, along with over 2,000+ VIP airline attendees from 260 unique airlines and lessors.

 


Astronics

Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), received its first line-fit certification of the new EmPower® UltraLite in-seat passenger power system on a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft for TUI Airlines.


Lufthansa Group

The Lufthansa Group is in an excellent position to be successful in in-flight entertainment (IFE) and aircraft digitalization: Lufthansa Systems, Lufthansa Technik and Retail inMotion are collaborating closely to drive the digital transformation above the clouds and enable passengers to have a modern and positive travel experience. The companies present their solutions for in-flight entertainment, connectivity, shopping and other digital on-board offerings at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg from April 10 to 12. According to the motto “One World of IFEC services”, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik will be at booth #4B11 and booth #6B80.

Supporting an IFE product for an airline with a significant fleet takes a professional support organization and adequate resources – like the one offered by the Lufthansa Group. It is something most of the smaller companies with IFE solutions cannot deliver. “I have witnessed a trend toward professionalization in the industry, and I am sure that over the next two to three years we will see a huge consolidation in the market for wireless IFE solutions with only a handful of providers surviving”, says Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “Together with our Group partners we are in an excellent position to serve our customers.”

One highlight at this year’s trade fair will be the new Power-&-Safe solution for BoardConnect Portable. This solution was developed by Lufthansa Technik in close cooperation with Lufthansa Systems. In Hamburg, both companies show for the first time using a life-size model how the BoardConnect Portable Mobile Streaming Unit (MSU) can be stowed in a safe inside the overhead storage compartment. Placing an additional power supply has eliminated the need for battery replacement. The solution is currently being installed at Air Europa.

Collaboration with Retail inMotion

Most passengers want personalized services on board an aircraft – easy to use and with relevant content. With that in mind, Lufthansa Systems and Retail inMotion will, for the first time, demonstrate the integration of the BoardConnect open aircraft IT platform with Retail inMotion’s e-commerce solution at this year’s AIX. One of the platform’s features allows passengers to create a personal profile, which the software uses to suggest personalized content. The longer the profile is used, the more the algorithm learns and the better the content recommendations become. The Retail inMotion platform is powered by Vector, its proprietary on-board retail management software. Vector is a comprehensive solution for on-board retail that includes a suite of modules for onboard payment processing and various back-office functionalities.

BoardConnect enables passengers to use streaming technology during a flight to access an airline’s entertainment program on their own devices. The product suite includes three hardware versions: In addition to the permanently installed classic BoardConnect solution, there is the flexible BoardConnect Portable version and the BoardConnect Plus connectivity solution. The BoardConnect 5.0 open aircraft IT platform runs on all three versions. Thanks to its modern docker technology, the software enables digital services from partners to be integrated easily and quickly. A demo at the booth shows how easy and fast new applications can be integrated using Docker technology. Lufthansa Systems is also providing content such as movies, TV series, music and magazines with its BoardConnect Media Services. All products work in perfect harmony with each other and can be acquired separately or in combination.

Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems, will take part in a panel discussion on „Making IFE accessible for everyone“ (Wednesday, April 11, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm). Free online registration is required at https://www.flightglobal.com/events/aircraft-interiors-expo/forecast-sessions-2018/.


Airbus

Aegean ‎Airlines, the biggest airline in Greece, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Airbus to purchase 30 A320neo Family aircraft comprising of 20 A320neos and 10 A321neos. The airline will also acquire a significant number of new A320neo family aircraft from leasing companies.  Aegean currently operated a fleet of 46 Airbus aircraft (37 A320s, 8 A321s and 1 A319). The A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver at least 15 percent fuel savings at delivery and 20 percent by 2020. With some 6,000 orders received from nearly 100 customers, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent share of the market.

AIX 2018: Entertainment, connectivity, shopping and safety – Lufthansa Systems presents new solutions to ensure the best passenger experience and aircraft digitalization together with Lufthansa Technik and Retail inMotion

Raunheim/Hamburg | March 28, 2018– The Lufthansa Group is in an excellent position to be successful in in-flight entertainment (IFE) and aircraft digitalization: Lufthansa Systems, Lufthansa Technik and Retail inMotion are collaborating closely to drive the digital transformation above the clouds and enable passengers to have a modern and positive travel experience. The companies present their solutions for in-flight entertainment, connectivity, shopping and other digital on-board offerings at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg from April 10 to 12. According to the motto “One World of IFEC services”, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik will be at booth #4B11and booth #6B80.

Supporting an IFE product for an airline with a significant fleet takes a professional support organization and adequate resources – like the one offered by the Lufthansa Group. It is something most of the smaller companies with IFE solutions cannot deliver. “I have witnessed a trend toward professionalization in the industry, and I am sure that over the next two to three years we will see a huge consolidation in the market for wireless IFE solutions with only a handful of providers surviving”, says Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “Together with our Group partners we are in an excellent position to serve our customers.”

Collaboration with Lufthansa Technik

Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik have been engaged in a close partnership since 2015 to offer airlines inside and outside of the Lufthansa GroupBoardConnect, a modern, multi-functional on-board IT platform with broadband Internet access. Thanks to its state-of-the-art docker technology, BoardConnect can also serve as the basis for an Internet portal.

Lufthansa Technik – with its many years of experience in the field of aircraft modification –handles the equipment of entire fleets from a variety of manufacturers. Lconnect comprises all relevant products and services required to equip an aircraft: In addition to the physical installation, this includes all required aeronautical and regulatory work, conversion planning and materials supply, the manufacture of diverse high-end components such as the WLAN access point, the supply of materials in regular flight operation, and the repair of defective components. “The efficient conversion of large fleets and the reliable return of every single newly equipped aircraft to airline operations are the basis for generating new ancillary revenues,” says Lukas Bucher, Head of Product Connectivity at Lufthansa Technik.

One highlight at this year’s trade fair will be the new Power-&-Safe solution forBoardConnect Portable. This solution was developed by Lufthansa Technik in close cooperation with Lufthansa Systems. In Hamburg, both companies show for the first time using a life-size model how the BoardConnect Portable Mobile Streaming Unit (MSU) can be stowed in a safe inside the overhead storage compartment. Placing an additional power supply has eliminated the need for battery replacement. The solution is currently being installed at Air Europa.

Collaboration with Retail inMotion

Most passengers want personalized services on board an aircraft – easy to use and with relevant content. With that in mind, Lufthansa Systems and Retail inMotion will, for the first time, demonstrate the integration of the BoardConnect open aircraft IT platform with Retail inMotion’s e-commerce solution at this year’s AIX. One of the platform’s features allows passengers to create a personal profile, which the software uses to suggest personalized content. The longer the profile is used, the more the algorithm learns and the better the content recommendations become. The Retail inMotion platform is powered by Vector, its proprietary on-board retail management software. Vector is a comprehensive solution for on-board retail that includes a suite of modules for onboard payment processing and various back-office functionalities.

“The interest in IFE and additional digital on-board offerings has always been very high. After a phase of mostly gathering information and evaluating, we now see more airlines ready to select a specific solution. Depending on the focus of the airline, they either opt for a short-term commitment with a portable solution or move straight to IFEC. Lufthansa Systems is one of the few providers who can deliver customized solutions based on the BoardConnect platform and in cooperation with partners to cover all variations and fleet types along the entire value chain,” emphasized Gaense.

The BoardConnect product suite

BoardConnect enables passengers to use streaming technology during a flight to access an airline’s entertainment program on their own devices. The product suite includes three hardware versions: In addition to the permanently installed classic BoardConnect solution, there is the flexible BoardConnect Portableversion and the BoardConnect Plus connectivity solution. The BoardConnect 5.0 open aircraft IT platform runs on all three versions. Thanks to its modern docker technology, the software enables digital services from partners to be integrated easily and quickly. A demo at the booth shows how easy and fast new applications can be integrated using Docker technology. Lufthansa Systems is also providing content such as movies, TV series, music and magazines with itsBoardConnect Media Services. All products work in perfect harmony with each other and can be acquired separately or in combination.

Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems, will take part in a panel discussion on „Making IFE accessible for everyone“ (Wednesday, April 11, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm). Free online registration is required at https://www.flightglobal.com/events/aircraft-interiors-expo/forecast-sessions-2018/.

  • In-flight entertainment server weighs 1.2 kg
  • Features moving map and geo-triggered entertainment

Geneva |March 25, 2018–Aircraft owners looking for a moving map and in-flight entertainment solution will find it in a tiny, lightweight, inexpensive component introduced in Geneva in May: the GojiBox.

The paperback-sized server is easy to install: you place it in a cabinet or elsewhere on the aircraft, and hook it up to navigation data, power, and the cabin wireless system. Then, it emits entertainment:  passengers connect to the wi-fi and enjoy a variety of built-in content.

The moving map is the number-one most requested visual asset for passengers. Yet many aircraft do not have one because of the weight and size of the servers. This is where GojiBox comes in: it is the smallest IFE server in the industry. At a trim 12cm square x 5cm thick (5” square x 2” thick), it fits into the most compact cabins, and weighs just 1.2kg (2.6 lbs). Power consumption is also minimal, topping out at 50 watts.

The GojiBox delivers a big bang for a small box and includes the following:

  • Moving map: the Navigator 2D and 3D interactive moving maps, an industry-leading solution from Airborne Interactive.
  • GeoRadio, the only geo-triggered radio show on Earth: when passengers put on their headsets, they hear a show about the people and places they are passing.
  • GeoVideo. This geo-triggered 4K video fills cabin screens and passenger devices with gorgeous footage of the land below, and of their destination.
  • Goji Points-of-Interest, photos of every spot the plane flies, along with updated info on places to visit, dine, and shop. With 5,000 POIs worldwide, it is a geo-triggered pageant of photos for passengers’ devices, or on 4K screens in the cabin.
  • AVOD (Audio-video on demand). With a terabyte of storage, GojiBox holds hundreds of movies that can be loaded by thumb drive.

Goji Points-of-Interest have already been integrated into commercial and business aircraft for several years.  This is the first time the product will be hosted in its own hardware component.

Visitors can experience the magic of the GojiBox with a hands on demonstration of its content, at EBACE, May 29-31,2018 in Geneva, at the Gotham Studios booth W133 by the Gulfstream stand.

GojiBox is produced by Gotham Studios, an Emmy-winning entertainment production company in Washington, in collaboration with Rajco Services, the industry’s leading expert on cabin and connectivity systems.

For more information and images, visit www.goji.aero, or contact Stacy Whittle at stacy@gothamstudios.com.

ABWN

IFExpress talked with Earle Olsen about Airborne Wireless Network (ABWN) announcement on March 12, 2018 and that they have arranged for light Aircraft for their Second Flight Test. On March 6th they entered into an agreement with Sough Bay Aviation of Torrance California for two Cessna aircraft with “the primary intent of this testing to utilize the inherent unstable platform of light general aviation aircraft to establish and maintain a robust self-healing Optical / RF link between two airborne aircraft.” ABWN added that this second test will expand on its initial RF proof of concept test, from May of 2017 with two Boeing 767-300ER aircraft and a mobile mast that emulated a ground station. They intend to conduct the test by modifying the two aircraft with their Infinitus Super Highway Technology that will incorporate the RF controlled Free Space Optics underlying its patent application they filed on July 25th 2017. The Company intends to create a high-speed broadband airborne wireless network by linking commercial aircraft in flight. It is projected that each aircraft participating in the network will act as an airborne repeater or router, sending and receiving broadband signals from one aircraft to the next and creating a digital information superhighway in the sky. The Company intends the network to be a high-speed broadband internet pipeline to improve coverage and connectivity. The Company does not intend to provide retail customer coverage to end users but, instead, act as a wholesale carrier with target customers, such as internet service providers and telephone companies. Currently, the world’s connectivity is achieved by use of undersea cables, ground-based fiber and satellites. They believe that the Company’s airborne digital highway may be a solution to fill the world’s connectivity void. Their network, once developed, should provide low cost, high-speed connectivity to rural areas, island nations, ships at sea, oil platforms, in addition to connectivity to commercial and private aircraft in flight, they told IFExpress. For further information see: www.airbornewirelessnetwork.com


Lufthansa Systems

Lufthansa Systems, with its wireless BoardConnect IFE solution, and partner castLabs will soon enable browser-based playback of DRM-protected movies on iOS devices. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management and regulates the copy protection of digital movie files. This new technology means that passengers will no longer need to pre-install an app to enjoy movies and TV series on their own iOS devices while on board a flight.

The latest version of iOS from Apple, 11.2, allows protected video content to be played on smartphones and tablets in the Safari browser. Previously, this was only possible with the help of a separate player app. “If passengers can simply enjoy our entertainment offering on their own devices as they wish instead of having to install an app before departure, we believe this will increase the number of users,” said Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “This not only improves the passenger experience but also creates a larger potential target audience for the airline’s advertising activities and ancillary revenue opportunities. Airlines also benefit from greater usability, as they no longer need to offer a separate app for their entertainment offerings.”

Different operating systems and device suppliers currently use different encryption formats for video file copy protection. This means that the same content has to be stored in several different formats for all passengers to be able to access it regardless of which device they are using. The new DRMtoday Onboard solution from castLabs changes all that. castLabs uses the Common Media Application Format (CMAF), which has a secure encryption converter. This means that airlines will only need to store a single encrypted video file on the aircraft for each movie or TV series that can then be safely used on any device.

“We are delivering technology that makes DRM-protected movie files playable on all devices, and in BoardConnect, Lufthansa Systems has a proven and comprehensive IFEC solution with which to provide its entertainment offering – a perfect combination,” said Michael Stattmann, CEO of castLabs.

Both companies are currently working on integrating DRM today’s new functionality into BoardConnect to give passengers app-free access to onboard entertainment in the future. Passengers simply connect their own devices to the aircraft’s WiFi and are automatically taken to the airline’s entertainment homepage. From there, they can watch all content through their browser, regardless of their device’s model and operating system.


Boeing

Boeing’s new 737 MAX 7 successfully completed its first flight on March 16, 2018 (See rectangle image above). The airplane remains on schedule and now begins a comprehensive flight test program leading to certification and delivery in 2019. “Everything we saw during today’s flight shows that the MAX 7 is performing exactly as designed,” said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “I know our airline customers are going to enjoy the capabilities this airplane will bring to their fleets.”

Piloted by Boeing Test and Evaluation Captains Jim Webb and Keith Otsuka, the airplane completed a successful 3 hour, 5-minute flight, taking off from Renton Field in Renton, Wash., at 10:17 a.m. Pacific, and landing at 1:22 p.m. at Seattle’s Boeing Field. The airplane was put through tests on its flight controls, as well as checks of its systems and handling qualities.

The airplane is the third and newest member of Boeing’s 737 MAX family to be produced, with a maximum capacity of 172 passengers. The MAX 7 has a range of 3,850 nautical miles, the longest of any MAX family airplane. It is designed for exceptional performance for airline customers flying out of airports at high altitudes and hot climates. “The MAX 7 will provide airlines an efficient product for opening and flying thinner markets and accessing challenging airports, while enjoying all the benefits of being part of the 737 MAX family,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The MAX 7 also carries 12 more passengers 400 nautical miles farther than the A319neo, on 7 percent lower fuel costs. The 737 MAX family incorporates the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, Boeing Sky Interior, large flight deck displays and other features to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

The 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 4,300 orders from 93 customers worldwide. For more information and feature content, visit

Here are some specs:

  • Seats:138 – 153
  • Max Seats: 172
  • Range: 3,850 mi (7,130 km)
  • Length: 116 ft. 8 in (35.9 m)
  • Wingspan: 117 ft, 10 in (35.9 m)
  • Engines: (2) LEAP-1B, CFM intl

www.boeing.com/commercial/737max.


Panasonic

In order to provide coverage to their Asian markets, Panasonic has reached a capacity agreement with APSATCOM’s new APSTAR-6D satellites with the goal to deliver Extreme Throughput via satcom to the Asian mobility markets.


Global Eagle Entertainment

We understand that they secured $150m investment from Searchlight Capital Partners which will be used to repay a $78m debt and the rest to fund growth.


Astronics Ballard Technology

The company was selected by SITAONAIR to provide webCS wireless aircraft communications server in an integration with its e-enabled application software. The goal is to deliver a connected aircraft ‘smart core’ for better airline operations.


US – Stay Alert

“A disruption of the airline and private-aircraft systems could have enormous economic and psychological effects. In recent years, several airlines have had to halt operations and suffered millions of dollars of lost revenue when their computer reservation systems crashed, for example. Terrorists have long targeted aviation because of its out-sized impact on society. Russian hackers attempted to penetrate the U.S. civilian aviation industry early in 2017 as part of the broad assault on the nation’s sensitive infrastructure. The attack had limited impact and the industry has taken steps to prevent a repeat of the intrusion, Jeff Troy, executive director of the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center, said Friday. Troy wouldn’t elaborate on the nature of the breach and declined to identify specific companies or the work that was involved.”

Alan Levin March 16, Bloomberg


Other News

Lufthansa Systems and castLabs are working on new technology that allows movies to be played in a browser on iOS devices

Raunheim, Germany | March 19, 2018– Lufthansa Systems, with its wireless BoardConnect IFE solution, and partner castLabs will soon enable browser-based playback of DRM-protected movies on iOS devices. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management and regulates the copy protection of digital movie files. This new technology means that passengers will no longer need to pre-install an app to enjoy movies and TV series on their own iOS devices while on board a flight.

The latest version of iOS from Apple, 11.2, allows protected video content to be played on smartphones and tablets in the Safari browser. Previously, this was only possible with the help of a separate player app. “If passengers can simply enjoy our entertainment offering on their own devices as they wish instead of having to install an app before departure, we believe this will increase the number of users,” said Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “This not only improves the passenger experience but also creates a larger potential target audience for the airline’s advertising activities and ancillary revenue opportunities. Airlines also benefit from greater usability, as they no longer need to offer a separate app for their entertainment offerings.”

Different operating systems and device suppliers currently use different encryption formats for video file copy protection. This means that the same content has to be stored in several different formats for all passengers to be able to access it regardless of which device they are using. The new DRMtoday Onboard solution from castLabs changes all that. castLabs uses the Common Media Application Format (CMAF), which has a secure encryption converter. This means that airlines will only need to store a single encrypted video file on the aircraft for each movie or TV series that can then be safely used on any device.

“We are delivering technology that makes DRM-protected movie files playable on all devices, and in BoardConnect, Lufthansa Systems has a proven and comprehensive IFEC solution with which to provide its entertainment offering – a perfect combination,” said Michael Stattmann, CEO of castLabs.

Both companies are currently working on integrating DRMtoday’s new functionality into BoardConnect to give passengers app-free access to onboard entertainment in the future. Passengers simply connect their own devices to the aircraft’s WiFi and are automatically taken to the airline’s entertainment homepage. From there, they can watch all content through their browser, regardless of their device’s model and operating system.

Before we start your IFExpress Hot Topic, we wanted to remind readers (especially advertisers) that AIX is coming soon and If you have show info you want to pass along, we are at your service! Now, lets get IFExpress started with some satcom deeds from Panasonic (see the above image):

Panasonic

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) and APT Mobile Satcom Limited (APSATCOM) announced a major evolution in connectivity for mobility markets – Extreme Throughput Satellite (XTS) service. APSATCOM is an affiliate of APT Satellite Company Limited (APT), the operator of the APSTAR satellite constellation.  With this new satellite, the companies are building on a long-standing and successful capacity relationship.

The new satellite, APSTAR-6D, gives Panasonic the capacity to meet the needs of its customers and to position itself for sustained growth in the region. In addition, Panasonic will continue to optimize its global network and add more state-of-the-art satellite capacity in high-density regions to ensure industry-leading performance everywhere its customers fly.

APSTAR-6D was jointly designed by APSATCOM and Panasonic to best serve Panasonic’s connectivity customers. It is tailored to put capacity where it is most needed, rather than spread evenly over the Earth. APT has provided technical support in design and project management, and will provide satellite operation after launch. This XTS satellite will provide Panasonic customers with multiple gigahertz of new Ku-band capacity over China and high-density routes around East Asia including Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia using narrow XTS spot beams.

In addition, APSTAR-6D provides HTS coverage over the full field of view of the satellite including the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Australia and the Southern Oceans down to Antarctica.  This includes areas not served by any other HTS satellite.  Tailoring the capacity to areas of demand will provide Panasonic customers with better service, unprecedented coverage and the ability to dramatically increase throughput. One of the markets to benefit the most from XTS service is air transport.  Today, 21 Asian carriers, representing over 800 aircraft, have already selected Panasonic for connectivity service, including many of the region’s leading airlines, such as Air China, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines,China Eastern, China Southern, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Xiamen Airlines.  In addition, other leading airlines around the world that are Panasonic connectivity customers will use this advanced satellite capacity as their aircraft fly routes to and over Asia.

Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, noted: “Today is a milestone moment as Panasonic leads the industry with plans for the next evolution in inflight connectivity. Targeted, flexible use of extreme high throughput capacity ensures that Panasonic can meet the needs of our airline customers for cost-effective and reliable high bandwidth services well into the future.”

This XTS satellite will be integrated into Panasonic’s recently launched third generation communications network, which is built to meet the growing connectivity demands of airlines and their passengers.  This flexible network is designed to place capacity where it’s most needed across the globe to meet demand.   Panasonic’s third generation communications network supports the provision of services such as fast internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, improved TV picture quality and broader channel choice, 4G phone services, and greater bandwidth for crew applications.  The network is backed by Panasonic’s new Customer Performance Center, which drives improved network performance, greater reliability, and faster response and resolution times, along with business intelligence tools and reports that provide customers with the data and analytics to deliver and monitor targeted pricing and advertising campaigns.

Today, approximately 2,000 aircraft flying routes all around the world use Panasonic’s global high-speed inflight connectivity service. The company expects more than 10,000 aircraft to be connected to its world-class global high-speed communications network by 2025.


AIX – Passenger Technology Solutions

Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS), the brand new event focused on how technology can help create a seamless passenger journey, has today revealed the major companies and cutting-edge start-ups that will speak at the inaugural show.

The event, which takes place in Hamburg from 10 – 12 April, will explore how technology can be ‘in the DNA’ of the passenger journey, featuring speakers including Jorge De Luis Sierra, Cabin Interior Design Manager, Airbus, as well as representatives from Norwegian and US rail operator Amtrak.

PTS will also feature some of the most exciting disruptors and pioneers in the industry, with contributions from social listening experts Black Swan Data, design consultancy Reaktor and brand experience management agency branding.aero.

In addition to exploring travel’s most topical technologies, PTS will also showcase best practice: for example, the newly reopened Changi Airport, where the entire passenger journey is designed to be seamless and automated.

The event is co-located with existing events Passenger Experience Conference, Aircraft Interiors Expo and World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo, and is designed to offer a holistic view of the passenger experience, with speakers tackling trends such as big data, biometrics and artificial intelligence. Archana Sharma, Exhibition Director, Passenger Technology Solutions, said:

“Our program brings together established companies and brand new players to explore the most exciting and significant trends shaping travel today.It is designed to take attendees on a journey into the future, inspiring and educating them on how technology can create a truly seamless passenger experience. “We look forward to welcoming our speakers to Hamburg and to working with them in the meantime to ensure that the first show is a huge success.”

Gillian Jenner, Editorial Director, Passenger Technology Solutions, said: “My experience putting together speaker programs in this space goes back many years, but curating the line-up for PTS has been especially interesting. It has been an opportunity to ‘zoom out’ from specific technologies and trends to consider what these innovations can achieve when combined. “It is this focus on the bigger picture that I believe makes PTS a must-attend for anyone involved with passenger experience – whether in aviation, rail or one of the many other services that shape the journey.” For more information about the educational program at Passenger Technology Solutions, visit: www.passengertechnologysolutions.com/programme.

 


SITAONAIR

SITAONAIR is delivering a next-generation connected aircraft ‘smart core’ that will significantly enhance airline data communications and operations. The company has partnered with Astronics Ballard Technology to provide an integrated product solution using their new webCS® Wireless Aircraft Communications Server along with SITAONAIR’s e-enabled application software. This closely-integrated software and hardware solution greatly reduces deployment complexity and will bring even greater value to SITAONAIR’s airline customers – delivering enhanced capabilities and operational efficiencies – empowering airlines to realize the promises of the connected aircraft. The ‘smart core’ brings together the vast connected aircraft data collected by SITAONAIR’s e-Aircraft® DataCapture solutions for cockpit, cabin, and aircraft operations. It then distributes this SITAONAIR-processed data onboard using Astronics Ballard Technology’s flexible webCS, a smart AID/server/router that securely bridges avionics data with wired and wireless networks in a single compact box. Today’s offering of an integrated product will further enhance airline customers’ data management approach. The combination of SITAONAIR’s established portfolio of passenger, crew and flight operations solutions with Astronics Ballard Technology’s innovative hardware and strong technical expertise in the area of aircraft avionics interfacing, will form a central pillar of airlines’ connectivity and e-enablement strategies, delivered to airlines as a managed service.

Next, An industry-leading weather-alerting feature, empowering flight dispatchers to avoid or anticipate weather disruption throughout flights, has been launched as a new feature of SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker, in partnership with DTN.

Airline dispatchers using AIRCOM® FlightTracker will now be equipped to help aircraft avoid inclement weather – including aircraft-specific turbulence, icing, and thunderstorm forecasts – supporting the smoothest and safest possible flight experience for those onboard, and maximizing fuel efficiency. Already adopted by airlines operating more than 250,000 flights every month, SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightTracker is a ground-based software system delivering vital global real-time aircraft position alerting to airline operations teams. The application aggregates the best available inflight position data from a wealth of sources – including cutting-edge spaced-based ADS-B provided by FlightAware and Aireon using the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation – on a single aircraft position display. What’s more, no modifications to the aircraft are required to activate it. Interest in FlightTracker, and its enhanced, 100% global minute-by-minute update capabilities, is accelerating as the industry counts down to the ICAO GADSS 15-minute flight-tracking recommendation, coming into force in November 2018. The incorporation of DTN’s Flight Route Alerting data represents an important addition to the solution, making it indispensable to flight operators in their flight planning and flight following.


SITA

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

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


Rockwell Collins

Norwegian Air will feature Arthur Collins, the founder of Rockwell Collins, as a “tailfin hero” on the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner aircraft throughout 2018. Collins joins over 80 other tailfin heroes depicted on Norwegian aircraft since the airline began operations in 2002.

“Norwegian is a technology-progressive airline that’s pushed aviation forward by challenging industry norms,” said David Nieuwsma, senior vice president, Information Management Services for Rockwell Collins. “It has embodied a spirit of adventure and accomplishment, which is quite fitting with Arthur Collins’ legacy.”

“Our tailfin hero program was created to honor individuals who have pushed boundaries, made a difference and inspired others,” said Thomas Ramdahl, chief commercial officer at Norwegian. “Through our partnership with Rockwell Collins, we learned of Arthur Collins’ story, whose innovative spirit reflects those characteristics, making him a perfect tailfin hero and part of the Norwegian family.”

Collins, born September 9, 1909, was an electronics enthusiast from a young age. At the age of 15, he was an avid ham radio operator making contact with other ham operators around the world. He founded Collins Radio Company in the basement of his home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which was formally incorporated in 1933. The company, renamed Rockwell Collins in 1973, initially designed and produced shortwave radio equipment, but has grown to become a leader in cockpit, cabin, communication and connectivity solutions provided by nearly 30,000 employees worldwide. His full story can be found here. 


Thales

GSA and Thales launch the EDG²E project to further optimize aviation navigation with Galileo. The European Union’s Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) has officially launched the EDG²E project (Equipment for Dual frequency Galileo GPS and EGNOS) with a consortium led by Thales. This four-year project intends to develop a dual-frequency multi-constellation receiver, enabling enhanced navigation capabilities, support standardization and certification preparation.  The consortium includes Thales, Thales Alenia Space and ATR, as well as contributions from Dassault Aviation and the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC).


Other News

  • Inmarsat snagged European Space Agency (ESA) contract to develop satellite communications services that will deliver 4D trajectory air traffic management from 2020.
  • We will have to see this on an airplane sometime in the future – One of the main areas in which a lot of 5G development is progressing is on mmWave techniques. However another area that needs to be considered is light communications. A company named pureLiFi has developed a very effective in home or in-office link using light communications. With bandwidth of many systems being a limiting factor, this could prove to be a airplane winner. Technology – pureLiFi
  • Today, Boeing employees gathered around the 10,000 B737 MAX 8 for Southwest Airlines, which has broken the Guinness World Record title for the most produced commercial jet aircraft model.
  • And lastly, remember, success is what you do internally, not externally! The Reason You’re Not Successful Is Because You Don’t Want To Admit This 1 Thing | Inc.com

 

Wow! there is a lot going on in the business and we start off with a new Gogo President, Oakleigh Thorne, a big stockholder who has a history of 30 years of leadership experience – here is the release:

Gogo

Gogo announced that Oakleigh Thorne has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Thorne’s appointment follows the mutual decision by Michael J. Small and the Gogo Board of Directors for Mr. Small to step down as President and Chief Executive Officer, and as a director of the Company. Mr. Thorne, a director of the Company since 2003, has approximately 30 years of leadership experience with significant operational and financial expertise. He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Thorndale Farm LLC, the family office of the Thorne family, which is the largest Gogo shareholder, owning approximately 30 percent of the Company’s outstanding common stock. Mr. Thorne has served in numerous senior management positions, including as Chief Executive Officer of two public companies.

From May 2000 until July 2007, Mr. Thorne served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of eCollege.com.  Under Mr. Thorne’s leadership, he drove a five-fold increase in equity value which culminated in the sale of the company for more than $500 million. Earlier in his career, Mr. Thorne served as Chief Executive Officer of Commerce Clearing House (CCH) and led a significant operational transformation that culminated in CCH’s $1.9 billion sale to Wolters Kluwer in 1996.

“I am excited to work with the Gogo team as we move forward with urgency to execute on four strategic priorities: driving quality for airlines and passengers, sharpening our operational focus, achieving profitability with the money we have in the bank and driving shareholder value,” said Mr. Thorne. “We are highly confident in our ability to achieve our strategic and financial objectives as we improve execution and realize our significant growth opportunities.”

Ronald T. LeMay, Chairman of the Gogo Board of Directors, said, “With our best-in-class technology and capabilities, the Board believes that Gogo has a clear path to achieving our objectives and that now is the right time to transition leadership. After a comprehensive search process, the Board determined that Oak is the best person to help Gogo achieve our next phase of growth. Oak is a seasoned executive with a strong track record and his interests are aligned with all shareholders. Oak has made significant contributions to Gogo as a member of our Board and has a deep understanding of our business, strategy and operations. On behalf of the Board, we also thank Michael for building Gogo into a global leader and we wish him the best.”

(Editor’s Note: 2Ku has had success both in North America and internationally as well with some significant carriers selecting their 2Ku satellite offering: Delta, American, British Airways, Air France and Cathay Pacific – to name a few. As many of us in the industry are aware, Gogo has experienced some difficulties with the 2Ku antenna -oscillation along with a few other technical issues as well, which we hear the company is addressing. It is IFExpress’ speculation that stockholders are concerned with their investment given the aforementioned issues and the fact that Gogo has not seen a profitable quarter since their IPO in 2011. If we were an investor, we would also be worried about the new telecommunications coming down the pipe within the next few years – possibly 5G, and what that will mean for Gogo, as well as, other legacy connectivity providers in the IFEC realm. As a result, we wouldn’t be surprised to find Gogo courting a major telecom to help solve some of these problems in the very near future.)


ViaSat

Today, communications company Viasat debuted the fastest satellite internet available in the US — up to 100 megabits per second. It’s thanks to the Via-Sat 2 satellite system, which serves North America, Central America, the Caribbean and a small part of northern South America. Viasat is now also offering tiered unlimited data plans, from 12 to 30 megabits per second. The plans top out at $100 per month.

One of the goals of satellite internet is to provide a high-speed internet connection to homes located in areas that don’t have the ground infrastructure to support it. “The innovations we’re making across our satellite system allow us to do extraordinary things, from moving the satellite industry up-market by delivering premium services, speeds and plans that give consumers new choices in their internet service provider, to helping bridge the digital divide in the U.S. today,” said Mark Dankberg, Viasat’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. In addition to home internet, Viasat is also planning on using its Via-Sat 2 satellite to provide faster and more reliable domestic in-flight internet.

Satellite internet is becoming a bigger market, as the cost of access to space is lowered thanks to companies like SpaceX. Indeed, SpaceX itself is dipping its toes into the arena with the recent launch of two prototype satellites in its planned constellation.

Via-Sat 2 may have just launched in June of 2017, but the company is already working on the three-satellite Via-Sat 3 constellation. The new system is designed to blanket the world in high-speed internet access, with data speeds of up to 1 terabyte per second. It’s scheduled to launch in 2020 for America’s satellite, with the two covering the rest of the world to follow.

(Editor’s Note: We asked nice-guy, Don Buchman, Vice President and General Manager, Commercial Aviation to give our readers a bit more on the growing ViaSat inflight connectivity solution, and he told IFExpress: “We know our airline customers and their passengers expect a great Wi-Fi experience, gate-to-gate. We invested in ViaSat-2, our next-generation satellite and ground network technology, to further extend our lead in offering airlines the most capacity available in the sky with even better economics. These factors enable us to give more airlines, their passengers and their crew faster speeds and higher-quality connectivity at the best in-flight connectivity cost.

It’s our job to ensure our in-flight internet service matches our customers’ high standards and expectations. Our ViaSat-2 satellite system nearly double the capacity of ViaSat-1, which means we can deliver even faster speeds; serve higher streaming demands—even in highly-congested air corridors and hubs; and enable optimal video streaming capabilities for the best in-flight viewing experiences onboard. Additionally, ViaSat-2 offers seven times more coverage as compared to ViaSat-1, which means we can now provide the highest-quality internet service to more locations, including: across the continental U.S., to the Caribbean and across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. And finally, ViaSat-2 essentially doubles the bandwidth economics over our prior generation satellite system, which enables us to offer in-flight internet service at the best cost to the airline.

Our technology takes a substantial leap forward—compared to any other in-flight internet service—which allows us to connect more passengers today, while accommodating the broadband demands of tomorrow.”)


Crystal Cabin Awards

In 2018 there are now 24 pioneering finalists for on-board innovations, the winners to be announced as every year, as part of the leading global trade fair for aircraft cabins, the Aircraft Interiors Expo (10 – 12 April in Hamburg), at a gala dinner to be held at the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski on the evening of Monday, 10 April. The winners will then present their concepts once more at the Expo in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery, Hall B3, 1st floor, on Thursday 12 April, at 11 AM. Information on all finalists will be available there throughout the entire Expo.2018 finalists: 24 pioneering on-board innovations for airliners | CRYSTAL CABIN AWARD


Big Data/AI

It looks like Boeing and Microsoft are partnering for a efforts in the Big Data and AI and you can learn more here:Boeing and Microsoft: Taking the next step together in digital aviation – Transform  and here Your next Boeing flight may be getting a cloud and AI upgrade, courtesy of Microsoft – TechRepublic We do understand the deal will focus on Big Data to improve fuel consumption and improve maintenance. Further, you can be sure these two technologies will make their way into aviation and travel to improve the flight experience more and more in the next few years.


Airbus

The first Ultra Long Range version of the A350 XWB has rolled out of the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse. The latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB Family will be able to fly further than any other commercial airliner and will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines later this year. Altogether, Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, which it will use on non-stop flights between Singapore and the US, including the world’s longest commercial service between Singapore and New York.

Following completion of the airframe assembly, the first aircraft has now moved to an outdoor station where it will undergo extensive ground tests, prior to installation of its Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

The aircraft will then embark on a short flight test program to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 that will bring the additional range capability. These include a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 L or 6340 Gal., without the need for additional fuel tanks. The test phase will also measure enhanced performance derived from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.

With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the A350 XWB Ultra Long Range is capable of flying up to 9,700 nautical miles or over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances.

The A350 XWB is an all new family of widebody long-haul airliners shaping the future of air travel. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. The A350 XWB features an Airspace by Airbus cabin offering absolute well-being on board with the quietest twin-aisle cabin and new air systems.

To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 854 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever. Singapore Airlines is one of the largest customers for the A350 XWB Family, having ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven Ultra Long Range models. The carrier has already taken delivery of 21 A350-900s.


Other Stuff

A variety of entertainment modules and useful digital services will be soon enjoyable by every passenger onboard Air Nostrum planes. Multiple contents will be at passenger’s fingertips, easily accessed through their own smart devices (phones, tablets and PCs).

Barcelona, Spain | February 28, 2018– Air Nostrum full fleet will soon count on Immfly’s digital services. The first CRJ aircraft equipped with Immfly’s service will take off this April. The airline based in Valencia is the first Spanish airline to install a plugged portable solution, ideal for its aircraft’s size and flight duration.

Immfly is 100% focus on providing airlines with the opportunity to digitally revolutionize the passenger in-flight experience, by designing, developing and managing the onboard digital services platform, always adapted to each airline’s needs and specifications.

Immfly identified the need for short-haul and low-budget airlines on having an economical and functional embedded onboard digital services. According to Air Nostrum aircraft’s dimensions, the portable plugged technology is a powerful solution and ideal to its airline profile. Avoids time-consuming installation ́s processes, that usually comes with fixed solutions due to the exigency of having the major Supplemental Type of Certification (STC), allows operating savings of not having to charge and swap batteries every day and involves fewer costs of installation. For all of these, Air Nostrum decided to adopt the embedded portable solution SkyCube.

With the plugged portable solution, Immfly together with Air Nostrum present “Air Nostrum Play”, the onboard digital services platform that will be available as a freemium model to its passengers. Through a set of access points installed inside the planes, passengers will be able to connect to “Air Nostrum Play” and enjoy multiple entertainment modules among other airline services.

“Air Nostrum is a highly important client for us, it will prove a new technology and with a new business model perfectly suited for regional carries. The airline performs predominantly short-flights and therefore the services will be more oriented to TV shows, series, press & news, due to the flight duration. Bringing this services to regional carriers is a before and after in the IFE industry”, explains Vincent Tomasoni, Chief Customer and Content officer at Immfly.

“We are very proud to announce this partnership with Immfly, which will allow our passengers to enjoy media contents during their flights, therefore enhancing their onboard experience. We feel especially satisfied for having developed, together with Immfly and Sirium, an innovative technological solution, hat endows our regional full fleet with the ideal technology to bring a variety of media content onboard our aircraft”, mentioned Juan Corral, the Commercial Director of Air Nostrum.

OK, Aviation Emoji’s are not the biggest news … probably not news at all, but we thought it would make a nice IFExpress rectangle so  here is where you can find them if your iMessages need them, and be sure to type “airplane” in search.

Next, we should mention that when we last reported on the forthcoming WPA3 Wi-Fi standard we received another input, this one  from Joe Winston, Senior VP Engineering at Zodiac Inflight Innovations and he told IFExpress: “Yes, we will see this on inflight Wi-Fi. The most important reason is that most inflight WiFi systems wish to be open so that any passenger can connect without having to know a password. Under WPA2, that means your data is also in the clear (typically, there are exceptions), and even if your data happens to be encrypted (like if you are browsing a web site with HTTPS), the URL that you are visiting was in the clear. Any passenger also connected to the WiFi is able to observe your traffic in the clear. With WPA3, this is fixed by using “individualized data encryption”. Even if you don’t use a password to connect, all of your traffic will be encrypted. Now other passengers can’t snoop on your Internet traffic.” Stay tuned on this one!


Now we will move onto the news.

ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced that it was recently selected by Air Esurfing (ARE) to provide supplemental type certificates (STCs) plus associated products and services for aircraft connectivity systems on a variety of aircraft for Chinese airlines. The work will be performed by the Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification group. Astronics will provide certification services to generate the antenna STC and the cabin distribution system Validation STC (VSTC) in partnership with ARE and Lufthansa Technik AG, the connectivity service provider for this project. As part of the award, Astronics will also provide adapter plates and installation kits for the aircraft. The initial award is for non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs and trial kits. Once the system is tested and approved, Astronics will support the installation of connectivity systems on up to 300 Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft from its operations center in Toulouse, France. “We continue to serve as the industry’s global, go-to partner for in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) certification services and hardware,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC. “This represents yet another opportunity for Astronics to provide a menu of aircraft connectivity solutions to this growing and evolving market, especially in Asia.”

Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (formerly Telefonix PDT and Astronics Armstrong Aerospace) provides IFEC hardware and certification services for aircraft. Astronics CSC has worked on over 100 projects for industry partners to upgrade and certify commercial and business aircraft with new passenger power systems, IFEC, navigation, communication and flight safety systems. Additionally, Astronics CSC offers proven IFEC hardware systems, flexible design platforms, high customer satisfaction, and long-term relationships with industry leaders to help make the connected aircraft a reality. For additional information on services provided by Astronics CSC, visit Astronics.com. (Air Esurfing is a fully owned subsidiary of Air Media Group.)

On a further note, the wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), is expanding its CorePower® system product line with a new 28VDC Electronic Circuit Breaker Unit (ECBU). As the newest addition to its successful line of ECBUs, the new unit provides 24 channels of 28VDC power in a lightweight, compact design that simplifies electrical system complexity while improving power system flexibility. The new ECBU incorporates Astronics’ latest solid-state electronic circuit breaker (ECB) technology and offers programmable ECB outputs that can be custom configured to each mission or aircraft.


GOGO

Gogo Announced Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2017 Financial Results and here a a few highlights:

  • Record quarterly revenue of $188 million, up 18% from prior year
  • Record full-year revenue of $699 million exceeds guidance
  • 2Ku was installed on more than 470 aircraft in 2017 and is now flying on 620 aircraft
  • LATAM Airlines and Cathay Pacific Group selected 2Ku for satellite inflight connectivity

THALES

Australia occupies a unique global position in the air traffic management (ATM) domain. The country’s Air Navigation Service Provider, Airservices Australia, manages the largest airspace in the world, totaling over 11% of the globe. Their ambition is to ensure the seamless integration of all civil and military air traffic over an area totaling 53 million square kilometers, approximately equal to the combined surface of North America, Central America, South America and China.

  • Australia announces they will partner with Thales on the OneSKY program to modernize and integrate the Australian airspace.
  • The program will deploy Thales’s four key digital technologies: connectivity, big data, AI and cybersecurity, to manage 11% of the world’s airspace an area totaling 53 million square kilometers.
  • OneSKY is designed to provide quantifiable reductions in travel times, delays and achieve CO2 emission reductions and fuel burn reductions whilst maintaining Australian air sovereignty, thus protecting its citizens, delivering clear economic, environmental and security.

AIRBUS

Airbus, Delta, OneWeb, Sprint, and Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) announce the formation of the Seamless Air Alliance – which will usher in a new era of innovation for airlines on all routes. By empowering member mobile operators to extend their services into airline cabins, the Seamless Air Alliance will allow them to continuously provide their customers – via satellite technology – with the same high speed, low latency connectivity from ground, to air and back again. It will also significantly reduce costs for everyone involved while creating a smooth, positive user-experience.

The alliance – which aims to attract additional industry operators beyond the five initial members – will eliminate the immense costs and hurdles commonly associated with acquisition, installation, and operation of data access infrastructure by streamlining system integration and certification, providing open specifications for interoperability, increasing accessibility for passengers, and enabling simple and integrated billing.

“What if the best internet you ever experienced was in the air? Keeping this goal in mind, together, we will enable an affordable and frictionless experience for passengers everywhere,” said Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman of OneWeb. “With the launch of our first production satellites set for later this year, we’re one step closer to bridging the global Digital Divide on land and in the air.”

“Easy-to-use, high-speed connectivity is part of the next revolution in aerospace,” said Marc Fontaine, Airbus Digital Transformation Officer. “We’re excited to create this seamless experience for our airline customers and their passengers. As we showed with our Skywise aviation data platform, Airbus is committed to innovation that creates value across the aviation industry.”

“We know that Delta customers have an expectation that their internet connection just works – no matter where they are in their travel journey” said Gil West, SEVP & COO. “Delta is constantly looking at innovative ways to improve the customer experience. We are excited to be collaborating with other visionary companies, and that our existing partner Gogo will be joining the alliance as Delta develops a system that not only benefits Delta customers, but the entire airline industry.

“With our 5G network rolling out next year we’re investing heavily to make sure our customers have the best mobile Internet experience possible,” said Dow Draper, Chief Commercial Officer, Sprint. “As an initial member of the Seamless Alliance, we’re looking forward to enabling customers to experience Sprint’s high-speed connectivity in the air, hassle-free.”

Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said: “We are delighted to be an initial member of this innovative technology platform to bring seamless connectivity to customers in the true sense. Over 370 million mobile customers across Airtel’s global network will be able to enjoy uninterrupted access to high speed data services even while they are in-flight. We look forward to collaborating with all partner members to ensure this platform goes LIVE at the earliest.” Airtel is the third largest mobile operator in the world with operations in 16 countries across Asia and Africa.

Michael Small, CEO of Gogo added:  “As the  market-leader in inflight connectivity, Gogo is excited to join the Seamless Alliance. We look forward to working with the Alliance to develop future generations of inflight connectivity, which will provide airline passengers worldwide with simple, fast and reliable connectivity”

Editor’s Note: If you are wondering why this arrangement is proceeding you should note that it’s formation has a goal to make it easy to deal with installation, certification, maintenance, and customer billing. Watch for others to join this effort! Here is the link


SKYLIGHTS

It has just been announced Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL) offered SkyLights’ Cinematic VR Entertainment to a delegation of VIP guests traveling between Japan, India and Sri Lanka from 21 to 27 January. JAL selected SkyLights’ solution to demonstrate its innovative spirit and gauge the potential of virtual reality as inflight entertainment. SkyLights is a high-tech immersive entertainment provider, leveraging virtual reality headsets to create cinema quality entertainment inflight. With SkyLights headsets, the 50 VIP passengers were given the opportunity to enjoy a selection of over 30 titles, including 180°/360° VR videos, 3D and 2D feature films and documentaries.


OTHER STUFF

  • Bet you never tied together US airlines, jet fuel prices, and the National Rifle Association! Here is what AXIOS said: “Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R) on Monday tweeted that he will block any legislation seeking to provide tax benefits for Delta Airlines, after the Atlanta-based company ended its discount program for NRA members. Delta is seeking to restore a sales tax exemption on jet fuel that expired in 2015, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution.”
  • You are probably not going to believe this but drones are now in fashion design! Check it out

SES Networks and Gogo collaborate to ensure that HTS connectivity is seamlessly deployed to more than 200 Gogo Aircraft within the first operational month of SES-15

Luxembourg | February 14, 2018– Gogo, the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced today that it has more than 200 aircraft equipped with its 2Ku inflight connectivity technology which are now utilizing the increased capacity delivered by SES-15. These aircraft came online in SES-15’s first operational month and are the first to benefit from the new high throughput satellite (HTS) capacity.

SES-15 entered service in January 2018 and is SES’s first hybrid satellite providing Ku-band wide beams and Ku-band spot-beam capacity over North America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Due to SES-15’s high-powered HTS beams, all Gogo aircraft outfitted with its next generation modem will experience an even better customer experience with improved economics. All new 2Ku installations enter service with the upgraded modem, and all 2Ku equipped aircraft are expected to have the new modem by the end of this year.

“Gogo’s 2Ku technology is delivering industry leading performance today, but we designed the technology with an open architecture so it could take advantage of numerous enhancements over time,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s Chief Technology Officer. “As we layer in more HTS capacity from satellites like SES-15, 2Ku’s performance will get even stronger without having to touch the aircraft.”

“Deploying HTS connectivity requires a coordinated and collaborative approach because of the spot beam design,” said Elias Zaccack, Executive Vice President Global Sales at SES Networks. “We are proud of our strong working relationship with the entire Gogo team.”

Gogo has signed capacity agreements across 11 SES satellites around the world, including agreements for HTS capacity onboard SES-15 and SES-14, which successfully launched in January 2018 and will provide additional HTS capacity over Latin America, the Caribbean, and across the North Atlantic.

While IFEC is our focus in this issue, we need to first cover a huge sale between Airbus and Emirates and this is a big deal!

Airbus/Emirates

Emirates firms up order for up to 36 additional A380 – the airlines aircraft of choice – to continue the airline’s successful growth. They signed a contract on Sunday to buy as many as 36 Airbus (AIR.PA) A380 aircraft worth as much as $16 billion at list prices, firming up an order that is crucial to the future of the world’s biggest passenger jet. The order, for 20 of the double-decker planes with an option for 16 more, was originally announced on a provisional basis in mid-January. Deliveries are to start as soon as in 2020, the Dubai-based carrier said. Airbus had previously said it would have to end production of the A380 if it failed to secure the huge Emirates deal.

Alongside the contract signing, visiting French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum discussed the expansion of air services between France and the United Arab Emirates, the airline said without elaborating. The latest order brings Emirates’ commitment to the A380 program to 178 aircraft, it said, adding that it was evaluating engine options for the new planes.

Airbus noted: The A380 is an essential part of the solution to sustainable air traffic growth, alleviating congestion at busy airports by transporting more passengers with fewer flights. The aircraft is the best way to capture growing world air traffic, which doubles every 15 years. The flagship airliner can accommodate 575 passengers in 4 classes and offers a range of 8,200 nautical miles (15,200 kilometres). The double-decker has become the passenger’s favorite resulting in higher load factors wherever it flies. The A380 is the world’s roomiest aircraft, offering the widest seats, wide aisles and more floor space. The A380 has the unique capability to generate revenue, stimulate traffic and attract passengers, who can now specifically select the A380 when booking a flight via the innovative iflyA380.com web site and the new IOS app.

To date more than 200 million passengers have already enjoyed the unique comfort of flying on board an A380. Every two minutes an A380 either takes off or lands at some of the 240 airports around the world, ready to welcome this magnificent aircraft. To date, 222 A380s have been delivered to 13 Airlines.


Gogo

Gogo Business Aviation’s innovative new inflight connectivity system – Gogo AVANCETM L3 – has received Supplemental Type Certification (STC) and Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) from the FAA. The latest connectivity solution from Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO) lets users customize their inflight experience based on their unique needs and can be installed on business aircraft of all types, sizes and ages, but is an ideal solution for smaller aircraft including turboprops and light jets. Gogo is actively fulfilling orders that have already been booked and installations are underway via Gogo’s dealer network.

AVANCE L3 delivers the benefits of the Gogo AVANCE platform to passengers and flight departments in a small, lightweight form factor, with the most affordable pricing options in business aviation. The AVANCE platform integrates a full range of Smart Cabin features, allowing passengers to simply and reliably access and use all available data, voice, maps, entertainment and cabin management system (CMS) services.

By leveraging the AVANCE platform, the L3 delivers an unparalleled level of flexibility so users can adjust their system’s capabilities up or down without anyone needing to board the aircraft. Once installed, if a customer’s needs change and they want more or fewer capabilities, Gogo can make the adjustments to the system remotely.

“AVANCE L3 delivers the ultimate in flexibility,” said Mike Syverson, senior vice president of development for Gogo Business Aviation. “The AVANCE software-centric platform gives us capabilities that are transformative to business aviation. Users are no longer constrained by the hardware itself and there’s no need for downtime in a hangar if business needs evolve and require different service levels.”

The new system provides a level of flexibility not seen before in business aviation that allows operators to tailor their passengers’ experience and control and manage the number of devices they allow to connect.

And here is the “big deal”: With AVANCE L3, anyone onboard the aircraft can stay connected to email; send text messages and make voice calls with Gogo Text & Talk (service plan required); access their favorite flight apps such as moving maps, weather and flight information; or watch movies and TV shows using Gogo Vision (service plan required). For customers looking for full internet connectivity, AVANCE L3 can be enabled to connect to the Gogo Biz data network delivering a 3G experience. It’s the ultimate in scalability and flexibility.

Look at it this way:

1. For customers primarily interested in email, voice and light internet browsing capabilities, Core enables up to five devices. Hourly and monthly service plans available.

2. For customers looking for full internet connectivity in addition to email, Plus enables up to seven devices. Monthly service plans available.

3. Delivers similar capabilities that Plus does, but Max enables up to 25 devices. Monthly service plans available.

Gogo’s dealers and OEM partners are actively pursuing multiple STCs that will certify the Gogo AVANCE L3 system for installation across a variety of business aircraft models. Most other business aircraft models will also be available for Gogo AVANCE L3 system installation utilizing existing STCs.


Thales

Thales is making a comeback into Malaysia’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) scene as it works jointly with Novatis Resources to upgrade Kota Kinabalu’s Flight Information Region’s (FIR) Air Traffic Control (ATC) system and more.

To improve air traffic services for safer and smother travel within Malaysia’s airspace, Kota Kinabalu’s FIR, one of the two in the country will be receiving this series of upgrades including a new air traffic control system, radars, ground station, surveillance systems and distance measurement equipment in the next three years.

Together with local contractor, Novatis Resources, Thales will be bringing to the table its state-of-the-art ICAO’s ASBU-ready TopSky-ATC system, its new negation new generation primary and secondary co-mounted radars, ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) ground stations and latest DVOR-DME.

Notably, over 40% of the world’s airspace and more than 70 % of Asia Pacific airspace are controlled by Thales’s TopSky-ATC. Amongst Asia Pacific countries that employ the system are Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam.

The last major Thales ATM project in Malaysia was contracted over 15 years ago. The ubiquity of the TopSky ATC in the region will give Malaysia’s DCA the advantage of interoperability with its neighboring countries.

Next, Cebu Pacific Air, a leading airline in the Philippines currently operates a fleet of 56 aircraft comprised of A319, A320, A330 and ATR 72-500. The airline also has a further 50 aircraft on order which will be delivered between 2016 and 2021. With this anticipated expansion, the airline has decided to invest in pilot operations, to ensure that flight crew day to day operations, and their mission management are at the cutting edge. As a result they have selected the Aviobook Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) solution to digitize all their current flight dispatch documentation.

Cebu Pacific Air will equip their flight crew with Thales Aviobook
Full implementation of EFB solutions enables increased situational awareness and optimized flight collaboration with airline operation centers. This contract has further broadened Thales’s expertise in avionics and airborne connectivity.


SITA/SITAONAIR

They are providing wireless connectivity on the ground to Air Mauritius’ new fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, keeping the new-generation aircraft connected to the vital back-end systems no matter where they fly. In October 2017, Air Mauritius introduced the first two new-generation Airbus A350 aircraft with a further four expected to join the fleet over the next few years. The Airbus A350 is one of the most advanced aircraft flying today. It brings with it a unique complexity with large data exchange in its own unique protocol – Media Independent Aircraft Messaging (MIAM). This is designed to exchange large amounts of data between the aircraft and ground systems using multiple communication channels.

SITAONAIR, SITA’s sister company focused on connected aircraft,  has developed a solution to understand this complex MIAM communication and simplify integration into airline systems and processes. Additionally, Air Mauritius wanted this exchange over Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB). This required SITAONAIR to work closely with all stakeholders, including Airbus and IBM, to ensure the successful launch of A350 operations and in the process, hosting the entire service in the SITA ATI Cloud.

At the gate, SITA’s wireless connectivity allows the airline to quickly and securely exchange vital aircraft information generated during flight with both the airline’s own systems as well as with Airbus and IBM. At the same time key information ahead of the next flight can be uploaded, including passenger and flight information.

This connectivity allows for rapid exchange of aircraft information which will help Air Mauritius speed up aircraft turnaround times while ensuring seamless management of the aircraft’s systems by ensuring complete connectivity globally.

SITA has also won the respected Aviation Technology Achievement at Air Transport World’s 2018 Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards. The award was given for SITA’s work with JetBlue and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to deliver a new secure, paperless and device-less self-boarding process, using biometric technology. This was the world’s first biometric boarding system using just a facial scan to board passengers while also completing the US customs and border exit checks. Working with JetBlue and the CBP, at Boston’s Logan International Airport, SITA demonstrated that biometric technology can reduce friction points in the airport experience including at boarding, where integrating checks with government systems is one of the hardest challenges to solve. The technology eliminates any boarding pass scanning and passport checks. Passengers just need to simply look into the camera for a quick photo and they are on their way. The integration of the airline and government systems by SITA showed how passengers can enjoy a seamless experience, while demonstrating how airlines and government border agencies can work together to enhance security.


Other Stuff

  • You might want to check out Gogo’s newsletter here.
  • Last week as we were going to press, Rob Mitchell, Communications Specialist at The Bookmark told us of a really interesting and descriptive web page on Wi-Fi that the folks at Verizon Internet have put together: “Because the topic of Wi-Fi is so complex, our experts recently created an animated guide as a follow-up to that article explaining how Wi-Fi works. It’s animations do a better job than most blog posts showing how routers send and receive Wi-Fi signals. I thought you would like to add a link to The Bookmark’s new guide as an additional resource for your viewers since they will have an easier time understanding how wifi works using our animated guide. Thank you keep up the great work on airfax.com/blog!” Check it out, it’s really interesting. And if you have something that might help understanding in this business, let us know.
  • PDT (Astronics) came out today with their incredible 2018 CES Trend Report – and it is a winner. You can check it out here. While it is not IFEC, it is very good.
  • The International Federation of Robotics just made an interesting observation. Considering global robot average density is 74 per 10,000 workers and Europe has 99/10,000, the US has some 84/10,000, but the winner is Republic of Korea with an astounding 631/10,000!
  • Interested in Asian aviation growth? Hear what Airbus has to say: “While air traffic is doubling every 15 years in the world, the Asia-Pacific fleet is set to almost triple by 2036. For services, this translates into more than a third of the global MRO business coming from this region by 2036. This represents more than $660 billion – the sum total of the accumulated spending during the next two decades, and encompasses the following segments: Components; Line maintenance and Airframe base maintenance and Engine maintenance.”
  • We got a note from Galgus (Wi-Fi folks) and they noted they are on tour: next stage Mobile World Congress! From February the 26th till March the 1st, Barcelona will hold the Mobile World Congress 2018 (MWC18) and Galgus will be there with its own booth for the second year in a row. The Galcus booth will be located in the Spanish Pavilion (Congress Square CS30) and you will be able to find them on booth #23.
  • Airbus has been testing (and using) the SLS (Satellite Landing System) and you aviation tekkies need to get up to speed on this one. They note that the final approach segment is equivalent to a ground-based ILS beam! Here is a great slide presentation of the technology and Airbus deserves a pat on the back on this one!

Editor’s Note: Last week we mentioned that we had a lot of Airbus and Boeing sales info data – Here it is.

Wireless connectivity at the gate will allow the aircraft to connect to vital aircraft, airline systems

Port Louis | February 8, 2018– SITA is providing wireless connectivity on the ground to Air Mauritius’ new fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, keeping the new-generation aircraft connected to the vital back-end systems no matter where they fly.

In October 2017, Air Mauritius introduced the first two new-generation Airbus A350 aircraft with a further four expected to join the fleet over the next few years. The Airbus A350 is one of the most advanced aircraft flying today. It brings with it a unique complexity with large data exchange in its own unique protocol – Media Independent Aircraft Messaging (MIAM). This is designed to exchange large amounts of data between the aircraft and ground systems using multiple communication channels.

SITAONAIR – SITA’s sister company focused on connected aircraft – has developed a solution to understand this complex MIAM communication and simplify integration into airline systems and processes. Additionally, Air Mauritius wanted this exchange over Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB). This required SITAONAIR to work closely with all stakeholders, including Airbus and IBM, to ensure the successful launch of A350 operations and in the process, hosting the entire service in the SITA ATI Cloud.

At the gate, SITA’s wireless connectivity allows the airline to quickly and securely exchange vital aircraft information generated during flight with both the airline’s own systems as well as with Airbus and IBM. At the same time key information ahead of the next flight can be uploaded, including passenger and flight information.

This connectivity allows for rapid exchange of aircraft information which will help Air Mauritius speed up aircraft turnaround times while ensuring seamless management of the aircraft’s systems by ensuring complete connectivity globally.

Donald Li Ying, Vice President – Information Systems at Air Mauritius, said: “As Air Mauritius begins to introduce a new-generation of connected aircraft such as the Airbus A350, it is vital that we have a partner that can support the transfer of data both in the air and on the ground. This is vital to leverage the full benefit that connected aircraft can bring to the airline and our passengers.”

Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa said: “The continued growth in connected aircraft such at the Airbus A350 is opening new possibilities to enhance the passenger experience on board as well drive new efficiencies in how these aircraft are managed.”

“These new aircraft have become flying data centers which rely on world-class connectivity in order to exchange information on everything from engine data, passenger requirements to updates at the destination. This requires reliable, fast connectivity no matter where the aircraft finds itself. At SITA we are working with airlines globally to support that connectivity and ensure that the full benefits of connected aircraft can be unlocked.”

A total of 30% of airlines are already operating connected aircraft within their fleet and 73% of airlines will either operate or have taken delivery of connected aircraft in the next three years, according to SITA Air Transport IT Insights 2017.

Cyprus’ award-winning flag carrier Cobalt Air selects Bluebox Wow to provide wireless IFE

Dunfermline, UK | January 31, 2018 — Cobalt Air has signed a 3-year agreement with Bluebox Aviation Systems Ltd. for the deployment of Bluebox’s portable wireless IFE platform – Bluebox Wow – across the airline’s fleet of Airbus A319-100s and A320-200s.
“As we make the rapid transition from low-cost to full-service carrier, we recognise the role that delivering a high-quality inflight entertainment experience has to play,” said Andrew Madar, Chief Executive Officer, Cobalt Air. “Bluebox Wow enables us to do this quickly and cost-effectively, and with virtually no disruption to our service, which would have happened if we’d attempted to implement a fitted system. The power and capabilities of Bluebox Wow are very impressive.”
“As an award-winning start-up airline, Cobalt’s commitment to delivering service innovation is already well recognised,” said Kevin Clark, Chief Executive Officer, Bluebox Aviation Systems Ltd. “We’re delighted – not only to welcome Cobalt to our growing customer list – but that our own award-winning Bluebox Wow was selected to be part of their on-going innovation, delivering an exceptional IFE experience for passengers across Cobalt’s rapidly expanding route network.”

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including up to 1.6 terabytes of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content, accessed through any web browser. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit. Stowed in overhead lockers, each box’s single, swappable rechargeable battery offers the equivalent of delivering 15 hours of streamed video content to 50 passengers simultaneously.

Welcome back to IFEC in 2018, and thank you for following us throughout 2017. Having said that, this coming New Year ought to be one of the most interesting years for our technology, and almost everything else for that matter. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we wanted to pass along a short 2018 New Year message from Joe Leader, CEO of APEX and IFSA: “As we launch into 2018, APEX celebrates its 40th year of serving the passenger experience industry with every major airline in the world. The year ahead will see ancillary revenue tying into more facets of new products. In addition, we expect that this is the year that in-flight Wi-Fi surpasses 50% of available seat miles worldwide. It’s going to be an incredible year with major advancements.” We have a feeling he is right on track for this industry and he said it – the IFEC future will be a big deal in 2018, and we certainly agree – with inflight Wi-Fi becoming the passenger necessity. Furthermore, we agree with Mr. Leader’s comment that over 50% of available seat miles will have access to inflight Wi-Fi this new year, with the result being  new innovations that will generate both passenger and flight revenue. Thanks Joe!

Next, we thought it be interesting to delve into some specifics for 2018, as we do almost every year with some reported IFExpress efforts from last January 2017. One prediction that stood out was from an “un-named” provider who said: “The exponential growth of cabin Wi-Fi usage within the confines of the same aircraft will lead to more congestion in the cabin – passenger data to-and-from aircraft will more than quadruple in 2017.” Along the same lines last year, Joe Leader of APEX sent similar predictions: “Connectivity announcements and deployment will hit a new high for the industry and In-flight entertainment continues its expansion with more global IFE system installations and upgrades.” We knew that something like this was coming as well, but what’s new (or what’s news) is the speed at which this is happening. Perhaps, data quadrupling 2017 from 2016 may be a push; however, lets look at what the folks at Inmarsat say today: “Inflight broadband is changing the airline industry and revolutionizing passengers’ expectations of the onboard experience. That is the conclusion from the third annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey, published today by Inmarsat …Overwhelmingly, passengers now expect the same levels of connectivity and access to online services whilst they are at 30,000 feet as they receive on the ground. As such, 60% of all passengers say that inflight Wi-Fi is now a necessity rather than a luxury. The majority (61%) of global passengers who have experienced high-quality inflight Wi-Fi rate it higher on their list of priorities than inflight entertainment when choosing an airline.” The report went on: Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “High-quality inflight Wi-Fi is changing the way people think about flying and how they spend their time in the air. Whether using the time to work, to connect with friends and family, or to pass time shopping or viewing entertainment, the availability of inflight broadband has become a major factor when choosing an airline.””

Last year in IFExpress we wrote about the value of messages and that connectivity was the solution for doing so – what we said then is even more relevant today: “While 2016 may have a few techno-changes from 2015 and summary numbers differ, we are riding the same messaging train! Since technology and media have grown so much (at least in the US) folks are spending more time on it than sleep or work (Business Insider), there appears to be plenty of opportunity time for messaging (Facebook, Twitter, and the like) but messaging will be even bigger. If you don’t believe it, just watch the ‘head down time’ at a public function where time is spent on devices – it’s less invasive and non-interruptive. Why is this a boom time for messaging, you might ask? The answer must lie in new, portable communication technology for one. If, as some writers predict, we spend over half of our waking day with media and technology, and because the devices and connectivity mediums are there, plain and simple, we will text. From a broader perspective, time on major digital activities will increase, and has done so for each year, for the last 5 years.” Needless to say, we do not expect the demand to diminish as far as passengers expectations for messaging real-time inflight, in fact, we anticipate the demand to grow exponentially.

Another couple areas of predictive interest last January were Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning. We noted in our IFExpress predictions: “Maintenance of aircraft will see more outsourcing, new technology products like AI and voice technology used in maintenance products, and more consolidation in the MRO world (Maintenance Repair Overhaul).” A recent IATA meeting in November 2017 featured speakers on both subjects – Finnair’s Rogier van Enk talked about using “Artificial Intelligence to assist customer service agents in managing the increasing volume of interactions with customers over social media channels,” while SITA’s Wayne Matrose shared knowledge of predicting disruptions with the use of “Neural Networks, to try and better predict the likelihood of a disruption to an airline’s scheduled movements. What data was used and how it was sourced? The importance of data quality and cleansing to make it both usable and useful. What can be predicted and what are the current limitations found with this technology (e.g. Black Swan events) – Ultimately, what changes are required to maximize the operational value of accurate predictions”

Another area we covered was seating and while we were on target for smaller seating, there was on area we missed. Here is what we said in early 2017: “Narrower aircraft seats are coming in 2017, especially in newer low class offerings where only certain sized carry-on baggage will be permitted – smaller and surely less comfortable as well. We already know United Airlines has a new low cost Basic Economy package that will be copied by others. The rub will be what limitations will be placed on passengers who do not have the airline reward travel card! Hey, many folks can travel short flights and put up with almost anything. It is all a function of what they have to take with them. And yes, cheaper seats will be located in the back of the plane.”

What we missed for 2017 was the new “beyond” Basic Economy package rolled out this past year with these extreme lack of features : even lower cost seats, seat selection and upgrades are not available, group and family seating is not available, full-sized carry-on bags are not permitted, one personal item is allowed, flight changes and refunds are not allowed, certain MileagePlus and Premier member benefits are not available, and they are the last boarding group. However, United notes: Basic Economy fares provide most of the same inflight services and amenities that are available with standard Economy — such as food and beverages, United Wi-FiSM and inflight entertainment.

One area where IFExpress fell short in our forecast for 2017 was company employees. We predicted the following for 2017: We fear aviation manufacturing layoffs”…While employee data is a little shaky because of the multitude of companies within a large corporation; we predicted a decline in employees from 2016 to 2017. When we looked in 2016, Boeing had 150K+ workers – today, it is around 174K. Airbus is also up.

We should also note that there are a lot of industry changes (not aviation) that will affect IFEC in the coming year. Video on Demand/LiveTV will surely eventually affect inflight entertainment and connectivity. Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain may as well. In 2018 blockchain will move beyond standard banking applications to money transfer, insurance, digital identification and even insurance, it will be on the aviation near horizon. Similarly, edge computing (near the source of data to reduce transmitted data) could be at the heart of aviation control, monitoring and data communication. With the airplane a trove of unanalyzed data and passengers desire to send and receive more data, connectivity, IFE, and TV, data will be the new connection from the air to the ground and vise-versa – not to mention smart bag issues, power-at-a-distance charging systems; as well as, increased satellite payloads ($11B – 2017 to $18B – 2022) and service providers.

Anyway, another year has passed and IFExpress is now in its 26th year and we still love the craziness of this entertainment and connectivity based aircraft show, albeit, it is getting harder to stay current with all the ups (and downs) of technology, connectivity, seat shrinkage, increased baggage payments, super long haul travel, passenger biometrics, security, and political impacts on the rights and preferences of travelers. There are even bigger changes coming: Net Neutrality and it’s effect on aviation and connectivity neutrality, higher prices coming, airport and possible airplane biometrics, Wi-Fi vs embedded IFE, prospective “splitter” customers, younger airline customers, and even Amazon in the business! However, because each year we are surprised, entertained and enlightened by the creativity and brilliance of many of the industry engineers, marketeers and developers, we again will close with the words of Arthur C. Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Enjoy the MAGIC!

Editor’s Note: Just in case you feel like quitting this year, watch this — and NEVER GIVE UP!

ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation announced that it has formed the Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC) group by combining the recently acquired Telefonix PDT and Astronics Armstrong Aerospace. The new group will serve the needs of aerospace connectivity providers with a complete set of hardware, integration engineering, installation design, and certification services to enable aircraft in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC).

“We serve the world’s leading in-flight entertainment and connectivity providers, and this transition represents further commitment to offer our customers the most complete set of connectivity hardware, installation design, and certification services available from a single supplier,” said Peter J. Gundermann, President and Chief Executive Officer of Astronics Corporation. “Astronics CSC combines the best of both worlds – offering a suite of connectivity solutions that can be delivered a la carte or as a complete solution set, according to customer needs. With all of this capability in-house, we anticipate shortening a customer’s time to market for new, certified IFEC systems.”

Astronics CSC will continue to offer the products and services formerly offered by Armstrong Aerospace, working both within Astronics and with its industry partners to certify and install new IFEC, power, and other systems on commercial and business aircraft.

Astronics CSC will also continue to offer the products previously marketed by Telefonix PDT, including its cord reels and in-flight connectivity hardware such as wireless access points, servers, and control components. Product Development Technologies (PDT), a product design and development consultancy, will operate independently within the Astronics CSC structure.

The new Astronics CSC group will complement the connectivity and data solutions from other Astronics subsidiaries, including Astronics AeroSat, manufacturer of SATCOM antennas, and Astronics Ballard Technology, manufacturer of cockpit connectivity components.

Astronics CSC will continue to operate from its existing office locations in the greater Chicago area with current personnel. Michael Kuehn, formerly the president of Telefonix, will serve as the president of Astronics CSC. For details on the new group, please visit Astronics.com.


ROCKWELL COLLINS

Rockwell Collins has been named America’s Most JUST Company in the Aerospace & Defense industry, according to Forbes and JUST Capital, a nonprofit that ranks the largest publicly traded corporations in the United States on the issues Americans care about most. The second annual JUST 100 ranking compares America’s companies head-to-head, based on the priorities of the American people.

The rankings are based on one of the most comprehensive surveys ever conducted on public attitudes toward corporate behavior, involving 10,000 American respondents in 2017 and more than 72,000 over the past three years. For the complete 2017 JUST 100 list, visit www.forbes.com/just100.

Rockwell Collins is recognized for outperforming its peers on the criteria deemed to be most important, including worker pay and treatment, job creation, healthy products and communities, environmental impact, and more.


SITAONAIR

The company is celebrating a decade since the first ever inflight cellular data transmission and the birth of Mobile ONAIR.

Since that initial transmission was made onboard an Airbus A318 flight on 17 December 2007, it has been installed in more than 550 aircraft, serving the changing needs of commercial, VIP and governmental flights alike. Over the past decade, and with support from SITAONAIR’s industry partners, the service has been made available across all aircraft types, from single-aisle to long-range – with more than 20 million passengers connecting for voice, SMS and data transmission in 2017 alone.

SITAONAIR and satellite communications provider Inmarsat worked in partnership on that milestone flight ten years ago, and since these exciting early days, the service has continued to evolve, with developments such as the recent deployment of cutting-edge inflight 3.5G mobile network services over the high-speed broadband satellite connectivity of Inmarsat’s GX Aviation. This aviation industry first sees passengers and crew benefit from high-speed and seamless connectivity, which is comparable to the home experience.

Mobile ONAIR also enables passengers to utilize simple, secure and reliable connections that contribute to 43% of frequent fliers citing cellular connectivity as their primary choice. This is complemented by the continued evolution of pricing models, from the comparatively expensive price-per-use model that dominated until 2013, to the unlimited mobile data bundles commonly seen today, and the ‘Roam Like at Home’ model, which is set to become the norm across Europe.

Thanks to SITAONAIR’s work in obtaining regulatory approval and securing mobile operator partnerships, the Mobile ONAIR service is truly global. It is easy to forget a time, not so long ago, when passengers turned off mobile phones onboard an aircraft. SITAONAIR, together with partners and customers, has helped secure the regulatory approval, at state and industry level, to make the dream of inflight mobile connectivity a reality for the whole industry.

Passenger experience

SITAONAIR’s latest infographic highlights how cellular data is a crucial ingredient for a first class passenger experience, cementing Mobile ONAIR’s relevance in the connected airspace.

Gregory Ouillon, Chief Technology Officer at SITAONAIR, says: “It’s remarkable to think that it was just ten years ago that SITAONAIR launched the world’s first inflight mobile service onboard an international flight. “Ten years is a long time in aviation, however, and the solution now has evolved to become an essential component of the full cabin connectivity experience, allowing passengers to use their mobile phones as they would on the ground. “One major shift has been the trend towards the convergence of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies, which delivers the best of both worlds. Passenger expectations can be met by offering a hybrid experience that can leverage the advantages of both a Wi-Fi and a cellular connection. Importantly, SITAONAIR is one of the few industry players with the knowledge, assets and skills base to make this convergence happen.” This convergence is essential to meet the demands of the modern passenger. With 50-100 billion Internet connected devices expected to be in circulation by 2020, ranging from fitness trackers to thermostats, mobile network operators will play a central role in connecting these devices, both on the ground and in the air.

Moving towards the future

From supporting this burgeoning IoT movement, to the introduction of wider cellular trends like ‘Roam Like at Home’ to the air, our new infographic examines the future of Mobile ONAIR and inflight passenger communication, as SITAONAIR and its partners see it.

Frederik van Essen, Inmarsat Aviation Senior Vice President says: “Passenger expectations around inflight connectivity have dramatically evolved over the past decade. Inmarsat worked shoulder-to-shoulder with SITAONAIR ten years ago to pioneer the first ever inflight mobile phone call and data connectivity on an international flight. “Today, we are together introducing unprecedented new capacities with GX Aviation, ensuring that airline passengers can browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground.”

Editor’s Note: We really were impressed with this graphic and to download it in full, click here.


AIRBUS

AIRBUS named Guillaume Faury as next President-Commercial Aircraft to replace Fabrice Brégier, who is stepping down in February 2018; CEO Tom Enders also advised that he does not wish to seek another term beyond his mandate ending April 2019.


MORE NEWS

  • Boeing’s 737-MAX10 was also believed to be under consideration. But, a recent trade dispute triggered by a complaint filed by Boeing concerning Delta’s order for 75 Bombardier C Series jets has soured the relationship between airline and airplane maker may have soured the deal.
  • AI: What’s Working, What’s Not – Andreessen Horowitz  This video of a technical presentation at a meeting you probably missed – Great Stuff for those who want more in AI!
  • The IEEE is developing an Ethically Aligned Document for prioritizing human well-being of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems and seeks input for  basically a document that supports the public discussion on how machines and man (women too) work together – and they are seeking human input: standards.ieee.org/develop/indconn/ec/ead_v2.pdf
  • Need some current cryptocurrencies technical research over the holidays? How about Blockchain Technologies? What is Blockchain Technology?
  • We loved this press release from Lufthansa Systems: “To make sure the man with the white beard and red suit can deliver all his gifts on time again this year, a team of experts from Lufthansa Systems worked with representatives from the MATHEON Research Center and Konrad Zuse Institute Berlin to calculate the shortest round trip around the globe. The project was launched by the German “Wissenschaft im Dialog” research initiative at the end of 2016.” Here is the link to the whole story (in English) and we suggest you read it to that young pilot or flight attendant in your household! Where does Santa’s sleigh actually fly? | Lufthansa Systems

Before we forget it, HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone, and thank you for your support for the past 24 years!