It is April; therefore, it is that time of year where the international aviation world flocks to Hamburg, Germany in order to see and discuss the latest and greatest developments in inflight entertainment, connectivity, cabin interiors and a plethora of other aviation related innovations. Not to mention the prestigious Crystal Cabin Awards, which will be announced on Tuesday 2 April for the leading innovations and concepts of the past 12 months. This year is particularly noteworthy as AIX is celebrating its 20th birthday.

IFExpress looks forward to seeing and hearing about your company’s latest technology developments over the coming week and if you need to reach out to us during the Expo please send an email to plwiseman@gmail.com

But now, lets get down to some of the highlights from the past week’s news and a few companies you should be sure to visit during AIX.


Astronics

Astronics will demonstrate several new technologies at this week’s AIX in Hamburg, Germany, in Stand 3B30. The new technologies bring together a set of power, connectivity, interiors, and other solutions that will help airlines and airframe manufacturers improve the passenger flight experience while providing cost and operational efficiencies.

Smart Sensing on the Aircraft: The company will demonstrate its pioneering Smart Aircraft System technology, which includes the innovative Intelligent Bin Solution, as well as additional features to detect the presence of passengers and other aircraft sensor data. This patented system uses Internet of Things (IoT) wireless technologies to detect and report in real time the status of various sensor data, such as remaining space available in overhead bins, passenger seat occupancy, and early detection of Lithium ion battery outgassing. “Our new Smart Aircraft System integrates hundreds of advanced sensors with our webCS wireless communication server to collect and present meaningful data to crew members on their portable electronic devices,” explains Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology. “Crew members and gate agents can know exactly when to start checking bags and reduce boarding times. Additionally, they can understand when a seat is occupied and positioned for taxi takeoff and landing at a glance rather than a time-consuming walkthrough. There are a multitude of uses for this new system, which brings new data and insights into the hands of the crew in order to increase airline operational efficiency.” The Intelligent Bin Solution is shortlisted in the AIX Crystal Cabin Awards, and expected to start airline trials later this year. Learn more about Astronics Smart Aircraft Initiatives.

Astronics will also preview some initial concepts for next-generation passenger service units (PSUs) in the booth. Intended to generate feedback and discussion with conference attendees and customers, the exploratory demonstration units will include features including finish treatments, smart technology additions, customer interface, and other features. “The PSU is the unsung hero of the cabin environment, and we envision it can serve the passenger experience and the airline better than it does today,” said Dave Freund, President of Astronics PECO. “We are previewing these concepts for our customers so that as we go to develop next generation PSUs, we are working in partnership with them to meet their specific needs for safety, aesthetics, and technology. Astronics is also a pioneer in aircraft smart technology innovation, and we believe that some of the new features we can now offer will excite the industry.” See more about Astronics PSUs.

Finally, in the smart aircraft category, Astronics PGA will demonstrate its smart wireless handset, the GemOne, which is shortlisted for a Crystal Cabin Award. From this single device, premium jet passengers can operate IFE and cabin systems, order meals, make telephone calls, and more. See details on the Smart Wireless Handset.

Inflight Connectivity Innovations: Astronics will preview a variety of inflight connectivity innovations at the show including the new E-Series electronically steered array (ESA) antenna system, developed by Astronics AeroSat in partnership with Phasor. Available in three sizes, the E-Series will provide Ku-band connectivity and offer multi-beam capacity for GEO/HTS, MEO, and LEO satellite networks.  Ultra-low in profile, the E-Series supports the “make before break” requirement of non-geo networks. “We are creating some very exciting new technology with this product, and we think the new E-Series will provide seamless connectivity for both new and existing networks while providing a true, solid-state, active array antenna system. This provides a lot of advantages for airlines, network operators, and most importantly the customer and their inflight connectivity experience,” explained Matt Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat.

For connectivity routing inside the cabin, Astronics CSC will bring its next-generation Summit Line products of inflight connectivity hardware. Attendees can expect to see new versions of the Encompass portable wireless IFE system as well as traditional servers, content loaders, personal control units, and wireless access points. “Our inflight connectivity system is the most widely adopted infrastructure in the industry today, and we continue to add innovative features, such as security enhancements like WPA3, 10Gb Ethernet, Bluetooth low-energy, and 802.11ax, all meant to increase speed and reliability in our already robust and successful product line,” said Michael Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC.

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

“We’re building on the conversations we’ve had with customers over the past several months, and in addition to showing how Li-Fi can deliver passenger connectivity, we’ll be demonstrating the immense advantages available with an aircraft data link application,” said Mark Schwartz, Vice President of PDT, an Astronics Company. ”Come by the booth to see how aircraft data can be transferred, wirelessly, between terminals and aircraft in seconds.”

Powered Solutions: Keeping passengers’ electronic devices (PEDs) powered is even more important in today’s aircraft as more airlines depend on these devices to generate ancillary revenue through content delivery and Wi-Fi purchases. In support of this demand, Astronics will demonstrate a myriad of innovations including the recently introduced wireless charging module as well as their new High Efficiency EmPower USB Type-C PED charging system.

Astronics will also have its airframe power system, CorePower, on display in the booth. This system will feature a new 115VAC version of its recently introduced Electronic Circuit Breaker Unit,  which replaces conventional thermal mechanical circuit breakers and functions as both a breaker and a switch for controlling loads.

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

“Astronics has broad expertise in many technologies that we are combining into integrated solutions,” said Mark Peabody, Executive Vice President of Astronics Corporation. “Our goal is to sit side-by-side with our customers in a collaborative way to find new ways to solve their challenges.”


Kros-Wise Aviation Group

Right now, many of us are getting ready to attend this week’s AIX Hamburg and one of the primary topics of the show will inevitably be connectivity, as it has been for the past 15+ years. However, if you are not an expert in telecommunications and satellite technology, you may well come away from your various interviews more perplexed by the various options and which offering would best suit your airline passengers needs and expectations.

At most airlines, the responsibility for IFC tends to be assigned to the team that is responsible for inflight entertainment equipment and content, supported by Engineering. But since the technologies for providing inflight connectivity are relatively new to the airline industry and are primarily based on telecommunications and satellite industry standards, it is not surprising that few airline organizations have the properly trained staff to do the time consuming and detailed analysis required to compare the available options. As a result, airlines can often become frustrated and/or confused when confronted with the myriad of sometimes conflicting data.

But it is of course very important that these analyses be accurate and complete, given the large capital and service costs associated with purchase, installation, certification, and operation of IFC systems. Capital, installation, and certification costs alone can sometimes approach $1 Million US dollars per aircraft.

As IFC systems improve over time and new applications become available, those systems are capable of serving an increasing variety of airline needs. In order for the airline to select an IFC solution which is best for them, the first step is to develop a detailed Requirements Document. This can be challenging since the capabilities of IFC systems are constantly changing, so it can sometimes be difficult for the airline to even know what to ask for, especially since every airline’s requirements are different.

Listed below are a few high-level examples of issues related to an airline’s specific requirements:

  • Satellite vs. ATG
  • Ku-band vs. Ka-band
  • GEO vs. LEO or MEO satellites
  • Satellite Earth Station (teleport) Locations
  • Geographical Coverage Requirements
  • Capacity and Throughput Metrics (CIR/MIR)
  • Data Speed and Variance, Latency, jitter, etc.
  • Supplier Product/Service Roadmap
  • System Flight Demonstrations
  • Cost of Aerodynamic Drag and Weight
  • ARINC Standard Compliance
  • ISP Service Provision
  • Social Media support
  • Live TV Capability
  • Data Security and Privacy
  • High Latitude Coverage Capability
  • Skew factor
  • Tail Blockage of Antenna
  • Atmospheric Attenuation
  • Software Update Process

And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Realizing that airlines require assistance with the IFC selection process, Kros-Wise Aviation Group has assembled a team of highly experienced staff and developed a disciplined process which can cost effectively help the airline ensure that they make the best decisions. In September 2018 they launched a unique new service to help airlines make better and faster decisions on connectivity systems and service. This process is called Connectivity Assist. Utilization of this process can save airlines millions of dollars over the term of their IFC contracts.

Kros-Wise is a professional services and product development firm which was founded in 2004 and currently has approximately 150 full-time employees. The company headquarters is in San Diego, California. It is a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB).

“Our new Connectivity Assist process provides a simple, fast, and cost-effective way for airlines to augment their expertise on a short-term basis and ensure that they obtain the maximum benefit from their substantial IFC investment,” says Lily Aragon, CEO of Kros-Wise. “We brought together the top experts in the IFC industry and worked hard to develop a process that ensures that the airline avoids any nasty ‘surprises,’ while allowing them to minimize expenditures and increase passenger satisfaction.”

Kros-Wise has extensive experience providing support to IT Programs for US Navy and other US Government Organizations, and to aviation and satellite equipment and service providers. The Kros-Wise team is highly experienced in IFE and Connectivity systems, service, installation design and support, and the associated FAA/CAA certification. Kros-Wise employs senior level staff who have extensive experience working with companies across the aviation and IFE-C industries. These companies include: Gogo, Inmarsat, Iridium, Panasonic Avionics, ViaSat, Virgin America, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, US Navy, and United Airlines.

Kros-Wise also provides the following types of services related to inflight entertainment, connectivity, cabin management systems, galleys, and aircraft interiors:

  • Inflight Connectivity Requirements Definition and Comparative Analysis
  • Aircraft Surveys
  • Aircraft Installation Design
  • Aircraft Certification
  • Aircraft Installation Project Management
  • Program Management
  • Flight Test Planning, Implementation and Support
    • Kros-Wise has an ATP and FAR Part 135 rated pilot on staff, with type ratings in B-737 and A320-series aircraft
  • Flight Manual Supplements
  • Aerodynamic Analysis and BirdStrike Substantiation
  • Flight Vibration & Buffet Substantiation
  • Supplier/Vendor Management
  • Systems Engineering
  • Aircraft ‘C’ and ‘D’ Check Management and Support
  • LRU and Component Design
  • Power Load Analysis
  • Proficiency in CATIA, Cadkey, Autocad and SolidWorks
  • Structural Substantiation
  • Fatigue & Damage Tolerance

Kros-Wise will be attending AIX Hamburg. You may get in contact with them via the following information:

Bill Peltola, VP Business Development – bill.peltola@kroswise.com – +64-21-861-954

Ken Larson, CTO – ken.larson@kroswise.com   Mobile +1-619-674-0098


Panasonic Avionics

Mark Jennings, Chief Operating Officer at Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), commented on the acquisition of Newtec by ST Engineering’s subsidiary, Singapore Technologies Engineering (Europe) Ltd, stating, “This investment by ST Engineering is an important milestone for both Panasonic and its customers.” Jennings noted that, “We believe that the combined new business will speed time to market and accelerate the innovation cycles needed to best serve our inflight connectivity customers. In fact, Newtec’s bandwidth efficiency and Ultra High Throughput technologies with iDirect’s seamless global bandwidth and network management capabilities have the potential to be unrivalled in the market. Jennings continued, “Newtec’s modem has played a key role in our global Ku-band high throughput satellite service, and we have an aggressive plan to upgrade all remaining and future aircraft to this technology. We have shared our future development plan with the combined ST Engineering team, and they are ready to meet that schedule. Panasonic Avionics has over 3,600 aircraft committed to its global high throughput satellite service. Today, there are over 2,000 aircraft connected to its Ku-band network. More than 780 aircraft are currently using the Newtec modem, and the company expects to have all currently equipped aircraft upgraded to this technology by the end of 2019.


Mythopoeia

Mythopoeia is delighted to announce that after a successful implementation of Business Class that it has just completed an installation of Air Cloud for Air Greenland economy class cabin. Mythopoeia is again partnering with SR Technics in Zurich to complete the overall delivery of the system from Seat modification, STC package and Installation. Air Cloud is a low-cost wireless seat back IFE display system. The systems comprise the very latest wireless standards delivering content to the displays. Files are stored locally at the display making the system fully redundant and offering no interruptions to the passengers viewing experience. The Economy class cabin features 18” monitors mounted on bulkheads to display Moving map, company promotional info and safety videos. Air Greenland worked with Mythopoeia to develop a Graphic User Interface that reflects the unique identity and brand of the Airline. Katja Vahl, Sales and Marketing manager worked closely with the team to implement a unique theme including northern lights, Mother of the sea and the flying Angakkoq known as the shaman in the old days. These wonders, myths and characters played a vital part in the daily life of the ancient Greenlanders, who learnt moral code through oral traditions. Today, they are part of the social fabric that ties Greenlandic people together. – The integration has delivered a unique, customised and tailored experience for our customers, said Katja. 2.1 amps of USB power is provided at each display to allow Air Greenland’s customers to charge their PED devices and the system has a fully integrated PSS functionality for reading light and attendant call. Air Cloud displays feature the very latest quad core processing technology. Air Cloud offers a wide range of software features from revenue generating applications, apps as well as Hollywood Movie Content.

On another note, Mythopoeia wins tender with Rossiya Airlines to replace Passenger Service Systems (PSS) for 8 X B747 aircraft. Mythopoeia’s solution provides full integration with both ACESS and CSS platforms. A challenge facing operators when transitioning/upgrading wide body aircraft is the need to control the “reading light” and “attendant call” PSS functions delivered by the existing IFE system. The traditional solution requires installation of a dedicated PSS replacement that requires seat and CAM modification at significant cost and no quality of service enhancement. The PSS system provides a unique off seat solution making it convenient to install. Mythopoeia is again partnering with SR Technics to deliver a complete turnkey solution to include STC package & seat modification. 2.1 amps of USB power is provided at each display to allow customers to charge their PED devices. The overall combination of the right product and ease of integration makes it very interesting product and we are happy to cooperate with MHL for this project.


Airbus

  • AIX: Airbus showcases its latest cabin innovations at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany – the world’s largest event dedicated to the aircraft interiors industry, in-flight entertainment, connectivity and passenger services. At the Airbus stand this year (Hall B5, Stand 5A20), Airbus will display the latest full-scale Airspace cabin mock-ups for the A320 – including its new overhead Airspace XL Bins and full-flat seats for long range comfort; and an A220 cabin mock-up with both business and economy seats – demonstrating how this aircraft offers the leading cabin experience in any small single-aisle aircraft. Moreover, the booth will also feature the ‘Day & Night’ premium concept for the A350 XWB; and there will also be an A320 Upgrade Services mock-up. Virtual Reality Gears will allow visitors to experience all aircraft cabins. Airbus is also leading the field with new innovations in the cabin, notably with our IoT-enabling “Connected Experience”, creating a cabin ecosystem which seamlessly connects cabin elements to provide a personalized passenger experience. In addition, Airbus is providing a glimpse of the future flying experience with our new ‘Cabin Vision 2030’ – inspired by airlines, tech companies and start-ups. At the stand, visitors can also explore what’s new in terms of possible seat innovations for passengers’ comfort and airlines’ differentiation and efficiency. This year Airbus is proud to have been shortlisted twice in the prestigious Crystal Cabin Awards for the following achievements: The “Lower-Deck Passenger Experience Modules”, in cooperation with Safran; and also for the new “X-tend Seat” concept over-wing exit seat for single-aisle aircraft. The Crystal Cabin Awards ceremony is held on the evening of Tuesday 2nd where the winners will be revealed.
  • AIRBUS/EU Counter Measures: Airbus welcomes the report of the WTO Appellate Body, which confirms that the United States failed to withdraw the subsidies granted by federal, state and local authorities to Boeing, and to remove the harm those subsidies caused to Airbus.
    The Appellate Body has rejected every single United States argument whereas it has taken all EU legal points on board. In addition, the WTO highest court has also qualified a number of additional US federal and state programs as illegal subsidies, and even, as prohibited subsidies as in the case of the Foreign Sales Corporation scheme (FSC), a major win for the EU. The report requests that further compliance steps are necessary from the United States and Boeing. Failure to do so will provide the European Union the possibility to seek countermeasures on imports of US products. Airbus General Counsel John Harrison stated: “This is a clear victory for the EU and Airbus. It vindicates our position that Boeing, while pointing fingers at Airbus, has not taken any action to comply with its WTO obligations, contrary to Airbus and the EU. With this damaging report, continuing to deny they receive massive illegal subsidies from the United States government is no longer an option. Stated differently, absent settlement, the US will pay – in perpetuity – billions in annual sanctions driven by every single flying Boeing program, while the EU would face, in the worst case, only minor issues.
    He added: “We hope that these findings will prompt the United States and Boeing to move forward constructively in this long-standing dispute and join us in working towards a fair-trade environment. In the absence of a constructive approach, the EU now has a very strong legal case to move forward to countermeasures.” Airbus thanks the European Commission and the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain for their continuous support throughout the long dispute process. Their longstanding efforts to restore a fair level playing field are now clearly showing results.
  • Evelop Airlines, the Spanish carrier of Barceló Group’s Ávoris travel division, has taken delivery of its first of two A350 XWBs, the world’s most modern and eco-efficient aircraft family. The second aircraft will be delivered in 2020. The A350-900, on lease from Air Lease Corporation, will be based at Madrid Barajas – Adolfo Suárez airport and deployed on long-haul routes to Caribbean destinations. It features a high comfort single class configuration with 432 seats. Passengers will enjoy more personal space, the quietest cabin of any twin-aisle aircraft and the latest generation cabin products, including individual onboard in-flight entertainment.

With much going on this week we would like to get started with our IFExpress BUZZ message and give you a little background on why it is in this week’s issue.

Firstly, we were contacted about the new secure content streaming technology implemented by IdeaNova, and we are certain you will hear a lot about them and their new technology in the future. We will delve in this further in a future issue this soon in IFExpress, but we wanted you to meet their CEO, Juraj Siska. In discussing the IdeaNova technology, Juraj told us that it used a new and special “Hardware Secured” server noted Juraj:” ‘Hardware secured’ server means that DRM cryptographic operations and certain security functions are executed in special hardware, which is separate from the main processing unit, making it harder to compromise and almost impossible to replicate for malicious purposes. This is unlike traditional software implementations where software is much easier to copy.”

We will have more on this content security technology in an upcoming issue; however, we should mention that Rich Salter is now an independent consultant and is advising IdeaNova. It is also worth noting that the APEX Technology Committee has a Working Group co-chaired by Phil Watson (Panasonic) and Juraj Siska (IdeaNova) that has created a draft of APEX 0415 version 2 that adds security provisions for premium content.

However, as we previously stated, we will cover more on this new content security in a forthcoming issue.

Now, let’s get on with the news from the past 7 days:


AEROMOBILE
Inflight mobile connectivity provider AeroMobile announced the addition of TAP Air Portugal to its connected fleet. TAP Air Portugal’s first connected Airbus A330-900neo entered into service in December 2018. This launch marks an exciting time for TAP Air Portugal, which is the first airline in the world to operate the next generation A330-900neo aircraft. The onboard AeroMobile service allows TAP Air Portugal passengers in all cabin classes to use their mobile devices to send and receive SMS, catch up with emails and browse the internet from 20,000 feet. Following the successful launch of its first aircraft with inflight mobile connectivity, TAP Air Portugal will add an additional 37 aircraft over the next year, reaching a total of 71 aircraft by 2025. The A330-900neo fleet with inflight mobile connectivity will be deployed on services to Sao Paulo, with four other Brazil destinations launching across 2019. And just in case you didn’t remember, AeroMobile is a subsidiary of Panasonic Avionics!


ASTRONICS
Astronics Corporation announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics PECO, was awarded a multi-year contract extension to provide custom manufactured interior and structural components to Boeing for multiple aircraft platforms.

Under the contract extension, Astronics PECO will continue to provide its innovative passenger service units (PSUs), fuel tank access doors and environmental control system components, among other parts. The products will serve on a variety of Boeing aircraft, including Boeing 737, 747, 767, 777 and KC-46 models.


THALES

  • Aireon and Thales, through this agreement, look at ways to improve aviation efficiency by globally leveraging the space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) service. Aireon and Thales will collaborate and utilize live space-based aircraft positioning data via the Thales TopSky-ATC system as well as the Thales aviation data platform, ECOSystem. Aieron will go live in weeks, providing global air traffic surveillance coverage via satellites. It is supported by the leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) around the world
  • Thales and Gemalto announced that they have received Regulatory Clearance for US antitrust approval, as the Stipulation and Order related to their agreement with the United States Department of Justice, which was announced on 1 March 2019, has been entered by the court.

SITAONAIR
SITAONAIR successfully expanded the operational capacity of air traffic service (ATS) datalink across Brazil’s airports, in a crucial step towards modernizing air traffic control operations in the country as air traffic continues to rise. The development of the service follows SITAONAIR’s instrumental work with Brazil’s Department of Airspace Control (DECEA), as part of the wider Brazilian Air Navigation Modernization SIRIUS program to advance ATS Datalink services. The deployment of services for The Commission for the Implementation of the Airspace Control System (CISCEA) to 24 control towers across Brazil began in June 2016, ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, the initiative, in partnership with SITAONAIR’s specialist air traffic control partners Saipher and ATC Systems has continued to evolve, increasing safety, sustainability and operational efficiency. As a result, DECEA has seen an increase in aircraft opting to access voice and datalink ATIS (D-ATIS) as well as DCL (Datalink Departure Clearance Service) information in a more digital, convenient and secure manner, with approximately 250 departure clearances issued a day and 20,000 D-ATIS requests a month from the country’s major airports. SITAONAIR’s most recent infrastructure development in 2018 includes establishing services at two additional airports, Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont and São Paulo’s Campinas, bringing the total number of fully-equipped control towers to 26.


AIRBUS
Wizz Air, the largest Central and Eastern European low cost carrier, took delivery of its first of 184 A321neo aircraft on order at an event in Hamburg, with József Váradi, CEO Wizz Air and Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. The new generation aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney GTF engines and features the widest single aisle cabin with 239 seats in a single class configuration and offers operators maximum flexibility, fuel efficiency and low operating costs. Wizz Air is an all Airbus operator, with more than 100 A320 Family aircraft operating all around Europe with 261 more to be delivered. With 184 of the larger A321neo aircraft on order, Wizz Air is the largest Airbus customer worldwide of the type.


BOEING

Boeing completed the acquisition of ForeFlight, a provider of innovative mobile and web-based aviation applications. ForeFlight partnered with Boeing over the past two years to bring aviators Jeppesen’s aeronautical data and charts through ForeFlight’s popular mobile platforms. Now, the teams will integrate talent and offerings to bring innovative, expanded digital solutions to all segments of the aviation industry. The acquisition of ForeFlight aligns with Boeing’s growth strategy of complementing organic investments with targeted, strategic investments that position the company for long-term growth. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, ForeFlight has approximately 180 employees.

EDITOR’S NOTE: With the second recent B737 MAX-8, belonging to Ethiopian airlines, crash many passengers are getting nervous. While no connection to the issues with the first crash (Lion Air) have been proven, potential MAX 8 flyers are concerned. Since the US FAA notes that there are 387 B737 MAX jets flying (operated by 59 airlines) this could have a significant impact. The wonderful folks at the Seattle Times News Service have provided a number of good articles on the plane and you can read and link to them all here: Worried travelers seek answers about the 737 MAX 8. Here is what passengers should know. | The Seattle Times IFExpress notes that Boeing has developed a flight control enhancement: “For the past several months and in the aftermath of Lion Air Flight 610, Boeing has been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer. This includes updates to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law, pilot displays, operation manuals and crew training. The enhanced flight control law incorporates angle of attack (AOA) inputs, limits stabilizer trim commands in response to an erroneous angle of attack reading, and provides a limit to the stabilizer command in order to retain elevator authority.” Further they state: “Boeing has been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on development, planning and certification of the software enhancement, and it will be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks. The update also incorporates feedback received from our customers.”


OTHER NEWS

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


IFPL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ASTRONICS

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


GOGO

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

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

THALES

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

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

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


IMMFLY (see image above)

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

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

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

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

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

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


AIRBUS

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

OTHER NEWS

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

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

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

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

A crew-friendly service

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

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

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

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

Flymingo Box : An Aircraft-Powered Device

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

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

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

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

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

Mike Hettich Named CEO of Satellite Startup LeoStella

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


INMARSAT

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


SITAONAIR

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

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

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


AIRBUS

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

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


OTHER NEWS

Los Angeles | September 24, 2018– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. [NASDAQ: ENT] has announced Canadian North Airlines as the first customer for Global Eagle’s new product, Airconnect Go, a portable wireless in-flight entertainment solution.  Airconnect Go draws on Global Eagle’s award-winning Airtime entertainment platform and content leadership to allow quick deployment of a proven and superior passenger experience.

“Every passenger expects entertainment and Airconnect Go is a high-quality portable system that takes advantage of Global Eagle’s industry-leading passenger entertainment platform,” said Per Norén, Executive VP and Chief Commercial Officer of Global Eagle. “We thank Canadian North for being the launch customer and we expect a significant number of airlines to follow.”

“Throughout Canadian North’s history, we have continually grown and innovated for the benefit of our scheduled service and charter customers, always with warm hospitality and an unyielding commitment to safety,” said Steve Hankirk, President of Canadian North. “The launch of top-notch inflight entertainment options will further enhance our onboard experience. We’re thrilled to be working with Global Eagle to introduce this exciting new inflight amenity.”

The first deployments for Calgary, Canada-based Canadian North will be during December 2018 with four Boeing 737 aircraft. Canadian North operates daily scheduled flights to, from and across Canada’s vast Arctic region. It also operates charter flights in North America and beyond for energy companies, sports teams, tour operators, cruise lines, government agencies and other large groups.

Airconnect Go: The Best Combination

Airconnect Go, which was unveiled in April 2018 at the Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg, combines a reliable hardware system with Global Eagle’s Airtime services, including a proven passenger experience and entertainment packages with industry-best movie, audio and video offerings. The product is so compact it can fit into the overhead bin of most commercial aircraft. A single Airconnect Go system, which is not much bigger than a loaf of bread, can stream concurrently to over 50 users. Passenger analytics can be tracked using Global Eagle’s Airview reporting system.

The system is a low-cost and fast option for airlines. There is no hardware to install and the system complies with avionics standards without the need for additional aircraft certification or Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs). Passengers can use their own devices to stream content. Airconnect Go integrates Airtime’s leading Digital Rights Management capabilities, enabling passengers to play back content via their web-browser without an additional application being required for Apple iOS or Google Android devices and laptops.

Global Eagle has experienced interest in Airconnect Go from a variety of airlines, including large and full-service carriers with service gaps, regional airlines, charter carriers, airlines with small or leased fleets and other companies where the combination of low-cost and high quality is the goal.

 

Melbourne, FL | October 17, 2016– This official approval by the FAA marks SD as an authorized manufacturer for avionics, as well as an authorized maintenance repair and overhaul center for all SD avionics.

The certification was awarded for its development of the SD WiFi Hub, the standalone router and WiFi solution that enables onboard voice and data communications. Over the last five months, the associated processes, manufacturing quality manuals, and the physical setup at their World Headquarters location in Melbourne, FL, have been audited by the Orlando Manufacturing & Inspection District Office (MIDO), in order to gain the approval.

The PMA certification will allow SD to use Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) to quickly obtain approvals on future hardware developments.

“This milestone accomplishment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to aerospace manufacturing, and our continued efforts to expand our capabilities as a technology innovator,” said Ken Bantoft, SD Chief Technology Officer.

(IFExpress Readers: It is fairly obvious which image above is the SITA robot, Leo. (the middle image). However, in searching for a good robotic image for this week’s story, we came across a number of pictures that caught our interest (and imagination) as you can see above – PLW)

While we had some fun with the concept of airport robots, the folks at SITA are very serious about the future of robot technology in use with aviation – in this week’s case, airport baggage handling. We talked with Stephane Cheikh from SITA Lab who answered a number of questions we thought our readers might find interesting. While the future is rather unclear as to the use of robots in aviation solutions, handling passenger baggage appears to be one logical application. So, we asked a few folks at SITA and their communication people about LEO. Leidar’s Charlie Pryor told IFExpress when we asked the question about the application: “It’s really part of a bigger story about automation throughout the airport. And it is very much a trial at this stage, albeit an interesting one of course.”

Here are a few questions we asked of Stephane:

1. IFExpress: Let’s get started with robot power, we assume it is charged via wall power during the night and via alkaline or lead batteries while in use?

“Leo runs on two lead batteries which can last between 24 to 48 hours depending on the type of operations required. The robot is programmed to autonomously return to its base station to get charged when it’s running low on battery power.”

2. IFExpress: Please describe the way a human interacts with the robot?

“Leo does not directly communicate with passengers. In the case of Geneva Airport Leo was positioned outside the terminal building. Touching Leo’s Scan&Fly bag drop interface opens the baggage compartment doors to allow passengers to place their bags inside. After the passengers have scanned their boarding passes, the tags are printed and can be attached to the bags. With the bags loaded and tagged, the compartment door closes and Leo displays the boarding gate and departure time.”

“Leo then takes the bags directly to the baggage handling area where they are sorted and connected to the correct flight while the passenger heads straight to the gate, bypassing the check-in hall. Being a fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot, Leo is able to transport bags from the point of bag drop to where they are handed over to be injected into the baggage handling system.

The doors of the robot can only be reopened by the operator unloading the baggage in the airport. For the purpose of the proof of concept at Geneva Airport, the baggage robot was monitored at all times.”

3. IFExpress: Please describe how it finds its way to the required destination? I presume robot speed is fixed?

Using GPS technology, Leo is programmed to follow a specific route from where the bag drop takes place to where the bags are handed over and injected into the baggage handling system. The robot’s speed is fixed but is able to stop if it detects passengers passing in front of it.”

4. IFExpress: Will airport inside destinations required any new facility construction?

“SITA hopes to continue further trials and proof of concepts to probe how robots such as Leo can be incorporated into airports. This will vary from customer to customer.  SITA continues to work with the industry to ensure that the baggage robot is able to meet the requirements of our airport customers.”

5. IFExpress: Has an approximate cost/price been determined of the robot?

“Leo is still a proof of concept and as such SITA is unable to provide a cost or price.”

6. IFExpress: Please describe and detail the human/movement sensors and protections?

“The robot has two laser-based sensors: one in front and one at the back of Leo. The robot is programmed to stop when the sensors detect an object either in front or behind. Sometimes if an object is close but still a safe distance away, the robot will decelerate until it is free of the object and then re-accelerate.
Leo also has an obstacle avoidance mode where it will go around an object – within certain thresholds.”

7. IFExpress: If I were an airline or airport, why would I want this device/system in my airport?

“During the trial at Geneva Airport, Leo demonstrated how, by taking the bag drop process out of the terminal building, the number of trolleys and bags in the terminal could be significantly reduced.

Leo also provides an early glimpse into the future of baggage processing and handling being explored by SITA Lab, SITA’s technology research team. Using robotics and artificial intelligence, bags will be collected, checked in, transported and loaded onto the correct flight without ever having to enter the terminal building or be directly handled by anyone other than the passengers themselves.”

8. IFExpress: Are there any rough technical specs available?

“As Leo is still in a developmental stage, we are not able to disclose more details than what has already been provided above.”

9. IFExpress: How would an airline or airport contact SITA/manufacturer of the robots if they wanted to test out a system?

“Airlines or airports can reach out their SITA representatives in their respective regions or contact us through the www.sita.aero website.”

(And yes, this is not an IFEC story per se; however, we wanted to check in on the future of robot technology in our business. Interestingly, SITA has been working the robot solution for some time now and, who knows, it may even be on an airplane in the future… and you may get your future headsets from one – Patricia Wiseman, Editor)


IFEC News:

1:  Here is a news release from Gogo about their new relationship with Aeromexico: Today, Gogo partner Aeromexico announced the launch of a pilot program to provide complimentary in-flight access to Netflix. Netflix members onboard select Aeromexico flights within Mexico, Central & South America will be able to stream the best programming available in the skies, including hit series Orange Is The New Black, Club de Cuervos and Chef’s Table, on their phones, tablets, and laptops at no cost starting on June 17th and through October 17th 2016.

The “Netflixabordo” experience is made possible by our next generation 2Ku satellite wifi system, which offers passengers a ground-like experience, including the ability to stream video.”As the first airline to launch with Gogo’s new 2Ku technology, we couldn’t be more excited to help Aeromexico bring this great new passenger experience to life,” said Dave Bijur, Gogo’s regional president. “Gogo’s industry-leading 2Ku technology is enabling passengers to connect using any Wi-Fi enabled device and experience all of Netflix’s hit series just as they would at home.”

“Passengers on aircraft equipped with the new Gogo 2Ku technology will be notified by the Aeromexico in-flight team that they can access high-speed WiFi. Clients can then open their browser and login for free. Passengers will then be prompted to either login to their existing Netflix account or to create a new, 30-day free trial account, after which they will then be connected to the Netflix service up in the air, just like they would on the ground. Existing account holders onboard Gogo 2ku Aeromexico aircraft will be able to access Netflix at no additional cost through October 17th, while new members can sign up to enjoy a 30-day free Netflix trial – good for use both in the air, on Aeromexico 2Ku-equipped aircrafts, or on the ground.”

Gogo told IFExpress: “Netflix offering is available to everyone flying that has an account. For those passengers that might not have an account, they are able to sign up for the free 30-day trial to take advantage of this partnership. In terms of bandwidth, we are confident that 2Ku can handle the amount of people on an aircraft that will choose to stream.” – Morgan Painter

Here is another release you might find interesting – Gogo Inc. Announces Launch of $500 Million Senior Secured Notes Offering – Jun 9, 2016

2:  IFE manufacturers might just have to consider a new baggage use for a totally new application – World’s First Passenger Drone to Begin Testing

3:  You might want to check out the 35th DASC in Sacramento CA, Sept 25/29, and here are just a couple reasons: MA1: Modern Avionics Architectures – Tim Etherington, Rockwell-Collins and MM2: Aircraft Systems, Safety and Cyber-security: RTCA DO-326A guidance – Laurent Fabre, Critical Systems Labs –www.dasconline.org

4:  Here is a new IFE & Connectivity Show in the US – IFE and Connectivity USA. And, it is co-located with Innovative Aircraft Seating – USA, June 27 – 28 in Seattle, WA!

5:  From an article in ArsTechnica on creating VPN lists, we found this interesting comment – “The best use case for consumer VPNs is local network security, especially on public Wi-Fi networks in airports, hotels, cafes, and even on airplanes (especially since GoGo has been caught issuing fake HTTP certificates for YouTube, which could expose all user traffic—including users’ YouTube passwords—to the inflight broadband provider).” Here is the story

– Majority of Fleet Now Equipped With Variety of Inflight Entertainment Options

Dallas, TX | February 19, 2013/PRNewswire/- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) announced today that movies on demand are now available on all WiFi-equipped Southwest aircraft for only $5 per movie, per device. The airline also announced an upgrade to their television package. In 2012, Southwest became the only airline in the world to stream live television directly to Customers’ personal devices. Now, in addition to eight channels of live news and sports, Customers can also select on-demand episodes of popular television shows. The upgraded TV package is $5 a day, per device on WiFi-enabled planes.

“Providing a comprehensive and robust inflight connectivity system for our Customers is paramount,” said Dave Ridley , Southwest Airlines’ Senior Vice President Business Development. “Our Flight Attendants are famous for delivering superb Customer Service, and we’re excited to enhance our onboard entertainment offering and take the Customer Experience to new heights.”

The majority of Southwest Customers now have access to WiFi, movies on demand, and the upgraded television offering. As of February 6, all Southwest Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 aircraft were equipped with Row 44 satellite technology that enables these entertainment offerings/services. This milestone represents nearly 75 percent of all Southwest aircraft, which completes the retrofit installations. Moving forward, all new deliveries and AirTran conversions will enter service with Row 44 technology installed.

WiFi service can be purchased for $8 a day, per device including stops and connections. Customers do not need to purchase WiFi in order to access movies or TV.

Accessing the Internet, or watching movies and television is simple. Customers use their WiFi-enabled device onboard any Boeing 737-700 or 737-800 aircraft, connect to “southwestwifi,” and launch their browser to be directed to the inflight entertainment portal. From the portal, Customers are able to select WiFi, movies, or television. The portal also provides free access to a flight tracker, shopping, and games. With Row 44 satellite technology, connectivity continues to work over bodies of water so Customers remain connected all day, no matter where they travel. This video highlights the Inflight connectivity experience.

For more information and visuals about using WiFi, movies, or television onboard, please visit the WiFi media kit on SWAmedia.

You read it right, this holiday season in the US (sorry Europe, Asia) Google from Silicon Valley is providing travelers at 47 US airports free Wi-Fi. The free service commenced November 10 and runs till January 15, 2010. At Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) and Burbank (BUR) airports, Google’s Andrew Pederson told us that the service will continue indefinitely. Google said, “… we like people online.” Rightfully so! This free offering from Google led to the ‘Virgin-Airlines-Free-Holiday-Inflight-Wi-Fi’ that was initiated about a month ago, helping drive the airborne leg. However, we were most interested in the airport arrangement and contacted SEA and BUR asking about the deal drivers – why forgo revenue that can easily exceed $100K per year?

Perry Cooper from progressive Seattle-Tacoma airport told us that they were very excited about the offer since they had a free Wi-Fi concept in their internal planning for 2010 and Google came along at just the right time. Seattle is now winding down a contract with AT&T, but expects everything to be in place in the very near future. At BUR airport, a spokesperson was not so optimistic about a free Wi-Fi future but this is where you readers can help. In fact US airports like SFO and LAX are not participating, probably because they do have exclusive service providers or advertising contracts and cannot participate; however, if travelers make it a point to contact their airport authority on the web or by phone and thank them if they participated in the free airport Wi-Fi from Google or tell them to adopt the Google deal if they did not…this could take off.

Check the links below for more information about participating airports. Further, send this Hot Topic to airport authorities in Asia, Europe and your backyard and help make a difference. We have all seen costly pay phones almost disappear at airports (killed by cell phones) and as a replacement, service providers and most airports alike, jumped on the paid Wi-Fi bandwagon. Gouging (yes, we said gouging) the traveling public seems natural in that greed driven environment. IFExpress has been on a mission for free airport Wi-Fi and we finally have a chance to change airports — so do your part. Remember, this is only a free service through the holidays. We recommend our readers beg their local airports and Google to keep this service alive after January 15, 2010. In many instances Google is installing the infrastructure and we fear that the airports may well turn them over to paid providers after the event closes.

There is one catch though, it is free, it is public, and there will be some bad actors trying to steal identities, passwords, and your money. There are a few safeguards and we have a link below to PCWorld’s common sense precautions you should consider if you do surf a la Google.

We should mention that Google has asked for charitable contributions in lieu of connectivity payments – they only ask that you contribute to a very worthwhile charity, Engineers Without Borders (link below). Come to think of it, a few of our readers could probably contribute an idea or two. Feel free to do so, these folks are only trying to make the world a better place thru brainpower.

In Memoriam, we note the passing of long-time, IFE good guy, Gar Westfal. We knew him and loved the man like everybody else. Want a role model? Try Gar… he was the best!

DALLAS, Aug 21, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ — Southwest Airlines and Row 44 are continuing plans to roll out wi-fi beginning in the first quarter of 2010. Beginning this fall, Southwest will be moving to the next step of certifying Southwest’s full fleet with plans to begin fleetwide rollout of the Row 44 satellite service in the first quarter of 2010. The airline has been testing the service on four aircraft since Feb. 2009 and has received fantastic Customer feedback on the product.

“We have concluded our testing for inflight wi-fi and are very happy with both the technical performance of the system and the response of Customers who have used it,” said Dave Ridley, Southwest Airlines Senior Vice President of Marketing and Revenue Management. “We are pleased to be continuing with our plans to offer satellite-enabled broadband access through California-based Row 44.”

“Row 44 is thrilled to be the in-flight wi-fi service of choice for one of the most Customer-focused airlines in the world,” said John Guidon, Row 44 Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited about moving forward and delivering Southwest’s Customers a rich menu of in-flight connectivity and entertainment options.”

During the testing phase, Customers have been utilizing the service for anything from e-mail to streaming video. Those interested in using the service during the test period have had the opportunity to log on to the service via their own personal wi-fi enabled device (laptops, iPhones, wi-fi enabled smart phones, etc). Additionally, the airline has been testing a variety of price points for the service and will continue testing price points through the end of 2009.

Southwest Airlines is the most productive airline in the sky and offers Customers a comfortable traveling experience. Southwest offers a very comfortable ride with all premium leather seats and plenty of legroom with a young all-Boeing 737 fleet. Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), the nation’s largest carrier in terms of domestic passengers enplaned, currently serves 67 cities (with service to Milwaukee starting Nov. 1, 2009) in 34 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,200 flights a day and has more than 35,000 Employees systemwide.

Geneva, Switzerland, 26 May 2009 – EGYPTAIR and OnAir today announced agreement to install full Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir inflight passenger communications services on their fleet of twin-aisle Airbus 330-300 aircraft. These will be delivered over an 18 month period, starting August 2010, and will operate on European and North American routes as well as in the Middle East.

EGYPTAIR passengers will be able to stay connected inflight using their own mobile phones or smartphones to make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages and emails, and access the Internet. Using the Internet OnAir service, passengers will be able to access the Internet just as they do on the ground by connecting their laptops either wirelessly or via a wired connection. By OnAir providing both GSM/GPRS as well as Wi-Fi Internet, EGYPTAIR’s passengers will have the broadest range of inflight connectivity options available anywhere in the world today.
EGYPTAIR’s Chairman, Captain Sherif Saad Eldin Galal, said, “We are constantly looking to improve our offering to passengers. This latest technology from OnAir helps us further differentiate our service, and enables our customers to stay in touch with colleagues, family and friends while they travel.”

“OnAir is proud to be working with EGYPTAIR,” said Benoit Debains, CEO of OnAir. “The Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir services together provide air travellers with a complete solution: a full range of service and the highest levels of performance whether they are using mobile phones, smartphones or their laptops – and with global coverage.”

Mobile OnAir uses the industry’s most advanced and extensive infrastructure for mobile communications, along with Inmarsat SwiftBroadband, high capacity services from Inmarsat 4th generation satellites. This gives EGYPTAIR passengers the best reach and performance available today.

Passenger can use Mobile OnAir to stay in touch as they fly on over 6,000 flights each month, to over 240 cities in over 50 countries across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. OnAir has operated more than 13,000 fully connected SwiftBroadband flights to date and has signed agreements with more than 15 airlines worldwide.

The EGYPTAIR announcement comes amidst mounting demand for inflight passenger communications. A growing number of commercial airlines and private aviation companies either currently offer OnAir inflight communications services or will offer them in the near future.

OnAir also serves corporate jets, private VIP and Governmental customers.

According to a recent passenger survey, 80% of passengers who have used Mobile OnAir services on selected flights would like these services to be available on every flight.

About EGYPTAIR

EGYPTAIR is the world-renowned national airline of Egypt, based in the cosmopolitan city of Cairo. In more than 76 years, EGYPTAIR has experienced extraordinary growth, taken the lead to be the first airline in the Middle East and Africa and the seventh in the world to join IATA and become a treasured brand.

Throughout its 76 years of service and, as a result of continuous investments, EGYPTAIR has successfully extended its network over the years to reach more than 1,624 weekly departures to 70 cities in 44 countries carrying more than 7.8 million passengers in 2007 /2008 with an increase of 20%. Currently EGYPTAIR has one of the most modern fleets with an average age of eight years which consists of 53 aircraft targeting to reach 75 aircrafts in 2013.

In 2004, EGYPTAIR demonstrated the scale of its commitment to the highest standards of safety by being the first IOSA certified airline in the Middle East and Africa. EGYPTAIR is a Star Alliance member since July 2008.

About OnAir

OnAir is the leading provider of inflight communications, enabling passengers to stay connected during their flight, and airlines to offer new services and generate additional revenues. Present on four of five continents, OnAir provides the only air-travel industry sponsored solution, now available to regular and low-cost airlines, to private and corporate jets, on Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and on long and short-haul flights. OnAir is the only provider of services based on SwiftBroadband, the latest high-bandwidth satellite technology from Inmarsat, which offers GSM and GPRS for voice, data and Internet.

OnAir was incorporated in February 2005 and is owned by SITA, the leading IT solutions provider to the air transport world and Airbus, the leading aircraft manufacturer. OnAir is a member of the GSM Association and an Inmarsat Distribution Partner for SwiftBroadband services.

More information about OnAir is available at www.onair.aero

ORLANDO, Fla., and ITASCA, Ill., May 12 – AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AAI), announced today that it will be the first major airline to offer passengers wireless, broadband Internet access on every flight.

AirTran Airways is partnering with Aircell, the leader in airborne communications for business and commercial aviation, to offer passengers full inflight Internet service across its entire fleet of Boeing 737 and 717 aircraft. All 136 AirTran Airways jets will be fully outfitted with Gogo(R) Inflight Internet service by mid-summer.

“Installing Wi-Fi on every one of our aircraft is another great example of what sets AirTran Airways apart from our competitors,” said Bob Fornaro, chairman, president and CEO of AirTran Airways. “Giving business and leisure travelers a consistent, high-quality experience at a low price is a top priority. We feel that Wi-Fi on every flight gives us a distinct competitive advantage over other airlines. Our passengers will know with confidence that no matter which flight they are on, the airplane cabin will be their mobile office, social network, online mall or whatever they want it to be.”

AirTran Airways passengers will have full Internet access including: Web, e-mail, instant messaging and access to corporate e-mail and network systems (virtual private networks) — through their Wi-Fi enabled laptops, smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Gogo Inflight Internet will be available for a small fee based on the length of the flight. “AirTran is known for catering to the needs of its passengers with style. Both its choice and rapid deployment of Gogo Inflight Internet service are testaments to AirTran’s long-standing commitment to offer the best inflight experience possible,” said Jack Blumenstein, president and CEO of Aircell. “Now that Gogo is here and available, passenger demand has taken off, exceeding even our own expectations. We look forward to enabling AirTran to provide the productivity, entertainment, information and social connectivity its passengers want.”

Installing Wi-Fi on every AirTran aircraft is the latest in a series of features the Company makes available to all passengers. Other features on every AirTran fight include: assigned seating, Business Class, XM Satellite Radio and more than 22 varieties of Coca-Cola products on North America’s newest all-Boeing fleet.

Over the past month, AirTran Airways teased the possibility of Wi-Fi being added to its list of amenities as part of the Company’s everyflight.com advertising campaign. During the campaign, AirTran received more than 30,000 suggestions from interested consumers.

AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AAI) and a Fortune 1000 company, has been ranked the number one low cost carrier in the Airline Quality Rating study for the past two years. The airline offers coast-to-coast flights on North America’s newest all-Boeing fleet with Business Class and complimentary XM Satellite Radio on every flight. To book a flight, visit http://www.airtran.com.

Aircell is the world’s leading provider of airborne communications. As winner of an exclusive FCC frequency license in 2006, Aircell has built a revolutionary mobile broadband network for commercial and business aviation. In 2008, the Aircell(R) Network and its inflight portal, Gogo(R), revolutionized the commercial airline passenger flight experience by delivering a robust Internet experience at 35,000 feet. In addition, the Aircell Network provides airlines with connectivity to operations and a path to enhanced cabin services such as video, audio, television and more. A similar feature set is available to Business aircraft operators. Aircell has facilities in Broomfield, Colorado, and Itasca, Illinois. Aircell’s vision is to give everyone the ability to stay in touch, in flight(R). For more information about Aircell, please visit http://www.aircell.com.

Gogo(R), powered by Aircell, turns a commercial airplane into a Wi-Fi hotspot with true inflight Internet access. Passengers with Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops, smartphones and PDAs, can surf the Web, check e-mail, instant message, access a corporate VPN and more. For more information about Gogo, please visit http://www.gogoinflight.com/ or follow Gogo on Twitter: @gogoinflight.

Bonn/Hamburg, 31 March 2009 – T-Mobile presents its inflight communication solution at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. Together with its partners, VT Miltope and ViaSat, T-Mobile shows the latest inflight broadband and GSM telephony solution for all major passenger aircraft.

With this solution, connectivity for the traveller can be expanded: With connectivity on the road, on the train or at the airport and now also in the sky the traveller enjoys seamless mobility. Through WiFi Hotspot in aircraft, passengers will have the possibility of broadband access via their own laptop or smartphone during their flight. Complemented by a GSM telephony solution, passengers can use their mobile phones to receive and send both text messages and emails, or do voice calls in exactly the same way as on the ground. Business travellers can stay in touch with their business partners, leisure travellers will be able to receive information on their travel destination and families stay connected with their loved ones. The inflight broadband solution presented in Hamburg with on-board portals can provide airlines with a competitive advantage and allow them to excel in customer services. Through the WiFi portal, passengers will be able to check real-time information quickly for connection flights, browse for onboard shopping products, or utilize loyalty programme incentives.

The combined effort of T-Mobile and its partners result in a unique offering for all airlines: An integrated, future proof connectivity solution that caters to all passenger connectivity and communication needs under one brand. T-Mobile contributes the expertise of a mass market mobile operator and the knowledge of how to design user friendly communication services. This will help ensure that the needs of the end-customer will be satisfied. T-Mobile’s sophisticated billing system will allow airlines to implement various payment methods. Interface with the airlines’ loyalty programs will also be possible. With these capabilities T-Mobile is able to accommodate the increasing demand by airlines for a worry-free end-to-end in-flight connectivity solution.

T-Mobile’s initiative is driven by a clear vision of tomorrow’s inflight entertainment situation. Passengers are expecting universal connectivity for all their phones and devices, bandwidth like at home and an intuitive user experience. Instead of offline in-seat devices, customers want to use the services and information they are used to for making flights as entertaining and efficient as possible.