Plaisir, France | April 6, 2018–

Zodiac Seats is constantly looking for new solutions to adapt to the demanding market of air transport, to support airline strategies and to improve the passenger experience. Zodiac Seats is able to quickly suit evolving passenger needs, technology trends and airlines emerging new business models.

At the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2018, Zodiac Seats will show its wide and efficient product line – from the super lightweight Z200, to the highly sophisticated Singapore Airlines A380 First Class Suite designed by Pierrejean Design Studio and manufactured by Zodiac Seats – demonstrating Zodiac Aerospace’s expertise on several classes.

Innovation has always been part of our DNA and new products will be unveiled as well as a brand new immersive experience.

This year, Zodiac Seats will exhibit among others the below seat innovations:

Z200: For the first time, Zodiac Seats will present its new
economy seat for short & medium-haul flights. Available in two different versions, one simple and super lightweight, another fully featured and distinctive, this seat offers more possibilities to narrow body operators. Lighter than the previous generation, it also provides minimum of 1.5” of additional legroom, a greatly improved living space from 28” pitch. Z200 seat platform is therefore the perfect choice for comfort and efficiency.

Z400: Zodiac Seats is pleased to announce its new long range
economy seat, already presented during AIX 2017, has passed all certification tests required for TSO authorization and is awaiting the FAA TSO. This is a major milestone which encapsulates the most critical cases across all Boeing & Airbus platforms and paves the way for a product entry into service on the 777X in 2019. Z400, enabling the lowest lightweight for its class, offers an enhanced visual comfort and individual
passenger modules tailored to airlines preferences: from simple one piece table, to bi-fold with upper literature pocket or one piece table with a range of options satisfying the most demanding tech savvy passengers, all integrated in a seat developed with a strong focus on passenger comfort and seat reliability. Z400 is the ultimate choice for the long haul operations.

Skylounge Core: Latest re-designed staggered super business class seat optimized for A330 and 787 aircraft that focuses on offering class leading features with maximum cabin efficiency. The innovative product architecture enables airlines to offer the best possible experience to passengers whilst also customizing elements that reflect their branding and unique identity through a multiple choice of options. This next generation modular platform offers a reliable and pre-certified risk free solution with quality at its core.

Doors concepts for Business Class seats: As Business Class passengers always look for more privacy and coziness, Zodiac seats developed two new concepts to address this important challenge: a single conventional door showed on the Cirrus Suite concept and one flexible privacy screen exhibited on the Skylounge Suite concept. On one hand, a door designed with a new security system and on the other hand, an alternative flexible solution fulfilling the same privative function but offering more living space, more customization options and a weight & cost significantly reduced. With these concepts, industrial designers found the perfect optimization with seats design, positioning Zodiac Seats ahead of the competition in this segment.

The visitors will also have the possibility to experience an immersive experience in virtual reality and be able to walk into Economy, Business and First Class cabins, to sit physically and virtually on seats. It will allow the visitor to see a full cabin and to evaluate the passenger experience.

For two years, the Zodiac Seats design team, including more than twenty industrial designers around the world, has worked intensively on style and perceived quality process and its execution embedding clean and crisp finishes and alignment. This attention to details raising the bar on premiumness of our products and providing a distinctive experience.

Zodiac Seats is also proud to announce that its EcoZlounge concept has been chosen as a finalist for the Crystal Cabin Award 2018, in the “Passenger Comfort Hardware” category. Moreover, we would like to congratulate Singapore Airlines, finalist in the “Cabin Concept” category for their A380 First Class Suites designed by Pierrejean Design Studio and manufactured by Zodiac Seats.

Meet us at Zodiac Aerospace booth 7B40 at the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2018 in Hamburg!

A unique Business Class offer…

Hamburg, DE | April 4, 2017–
Officially launched at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg on 4 April 2017, Zodiac Seats latest product Optima is expected to set a new standard in business class travel.

Combining class leading passenger experience and improved cabin efficiency, through a unique cabin configuration that mixes in-line and angled seats, Optima can offer the uncompromised business class solution that the market was expecting.

An elevated business class experience comes from direct aisle access for every passenger, large surface areas, extensive stowage options and configurable privacy. Thanks to its seating arrangement and electrically actuated privacy screens, Optima offers an exclusively private environment for travelers wanting to relax and unwind, or passenger interaction for those travelling together.

With bed lengths up to 83.5” and the option for a centerline double bed, Optima creates a sleeping experience for travelers that would typically only be associated with First Class Travel.

However, Optima’s unique quality is that while it pays close attention to the needs of its passenger, it never forgets the requirements of airlines; to increase their profitability through increased passenger count. The unique cabin layout, originally designed by Acumen, allows airlines to maximize their revenue potential, offering 15% more seats in the cabin compared to standard business class products.

Optima can be tailored to the brand of any airline; thanks to its modular architecture. A variety of optional product features and customizable areas, allows each customer to embed their brand identity. This design ethos has been integrated into the product from its origination, building upon Zodiac Aerospace’s heritage and experience in manufacturing bespoke premium aircraft cabin solutions.

The perfect marriage of empathetic design and innovative engineering, Optima is the dawn of a new era in Business Class Travel.

Dublin | February 6, 2017–

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Global Galley Equipment Market 2017-2021” report to their offering.

The global galley equipment market to grow at a CAGR of 4.20% during the period 2017-2021.

Global Galley Equipment Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.

One trend in the market is rising demand for customized galley systems. The global galley market has experienced significant growth over the years mainly due to the consistent vendor focus on providing customized services to the commercial aviation and marine segments. Most clients of the galley system vendors have specific requirements as they operate differently and there are no standard designs for galley systems. The customization is mostly based on different parameters, which include compactness design and light weight to reduce the overall load on aircraft and ships. For instance, airlines that provide five-course meals or offer self-service of beverages and snacks need extra space on the counter.

Key Vendors:

  • B/E Aerospace
  • Kang Li Far East
  • Loipart
  • Zodiac Aerospace

Other Prominent Vendors:

  • GN Espace
  • Bucher Group
  • Diehl Aerosystem
  • Aerolux
  • National Marine Suppliers

Key Topics Covered:

Part 01: Executive summary

Part 02: Scope of the report

Part 03: Market research methodology

Part 04: Introduction

Part 05: Market landscape

Part 06: Market segmentation by application

Part 07: Geographical segmentation

Part 08: Key leading countries

Part 09: Market drivers

Part 10: Impact of drivers

Part 11: Market challenges

Part 12: Impact of drivers and challenges

Part 13: Market trends

Part 14: Vendor landscape

Part 15: Key vendor analysis

Part 16: Appendix

For more information about this report visit


Lufthansa Systems

Brussels Airlines introduced a new passenger service system in 2016. To make its departure control and adjacent applications accessible from the respective CUTE systems at each of the airports in its network, the Belgian airline is using cFront/LAGUNA from Lufthansa Systems. CUTE stands for Common Use Terminal Equipment. This software enables airlines to make shared use of airport IT infrastructures. This means that different airlines can use the same hardware to access their own servers for passenger and flight handling. The cFront/LAGUNA adapter software helps standardize the different versions of the CUTE systems.

“We have more than 100 destination airports in our route network. As an airline, it isn’t possible for us to develop interfaces for every version of CUTE and acquire the necessary certifications. This is why we are relying on the expertise of Lufthansa Systems,” said Paul Rogiers, Delivery Manager Outstations/IT at Brussels Airlines.

For many years, Lufthansa Systems has offered airlines comprehensive CUTE services – from setting up the applications to carrying out updates and maintenance. cFront/LAGUNA was modified by the experts to meet the specific needs of the Lufthansa Group. The software is based on the CUTE solution known as cGroup. It accesses an airline’s IT systems in a smooth, standardized way and supports all leading CUTE platforms as well as the new standards for Common Use Passenger Processing Systems (CUPPS). In addition to Brussels Airlines, other airlines in the Lufthansa Group are also using cFront/LAGUNA. This means different airlines in the Group can benefit from a shared check-in system if necessary. Users can access the system from anywhere with a web app. cFront/LAGUNA also offers monitoring functions that provide an overview of the status at all CUTE and CUPPS airports and enables the responsible management team to intervene quickly in the event of a disruption.

“Thanks to the shared certification and provision of cFront/LAGUNA, the Group solution was already available at many of the airports in Brussels Airlines’ network. During the implementation, we simply had to add the information specific to Brussels Airlines. This saved money and ensured a fast launch,” said Bjoern Steinbrecher, Head of cGroup Solutions at Lufthansa Systems.

Established in 2002, Brussels Airlines from Belgium is part of the Lufthansa Group and a member of the Star Alliance. With a fleet of 49 aircraft, Brussels Airlines connects the European capital of Brussels with more than 100 destinations in Europe, Africa, India and North America.”


On a similar subject, Vision-Box also has automated airport passenger electronic control devices. We realize this is not IFEC, but  you are going to see a lot of this ground-based technology in the future. Since this technology free’s up a lot of people, border and airport automated technologies will increase for identifying passengers and visitors and a recent release about a Caribbean airport at St. Maarten caught our eye. “Juliana International Airport just upgraded to the new Vision-Box™ which is a self-service biometric Automated Border Control eGates intended to modernize the process, improve the security of the identification procedure, and expedite passenger flow at one more stage of the passenger journey across the airport!”  The news release went on: “vb i-match ™ ABC eGates have now recently announced a seamless passenger journey designed by Vision-Box ™, joining the existing vb i-match ™ security checkpoint gates installed in the first phase of the project. Together, these solutions are streamlining identification processes for departing passengers, when entering airside and clearing immigration.” We also understand that the arrival of biometric ABC technology at SMX (Juliana) Airport means that after successfully entering airport side by using vb i-match ™ security checkpoint eGates, passengers crossing the border will be able to complete the entire immigration process in a few seconds using customer-centric, self service touchpoint vb i-match ™ ABC”. Here is how it works: “Once at the eGate, the passenger will first scan their ePassport, where facial biometric information from the echip is scanned and matched with a live facial image capture of the passenger. Once all identification and safety checks have been successfully conducted, the passenger is allowed to clear immigration. At the forefront of modernizing the immigration clearance procedure is cutting-edge fraud detection and self-clearing biometric identification capabilities, using an advanced eGate security algorithm authenticating the passengers ePassport and identifying identity through multiple fraud and security operations, which just takes a few seconds.” We note that “Newly appointed airport ambassadors are there to greet and guide travelers in the use of the eGates, additionally to the support of a passenger-centered, expertly designed user Interface, oriented towards the success of the operation! Additionally, every passenger transaction is closely monitored by an immigration officer using vb inspector ™, a monitoring system giving the officers immediate information on each passenger’s identity and transaction status, detecting identity fraud, leveraging biometric and biographic information during real-time checks of intelligence and criminal databases, and instantly alerting border officers in case of an emergency.”

Editor’s Note: If you think there is not enough electronics in the airport departure and entry areas, you need to keep your eye on companies like Lufthansa Systems and Vision-Box. Here is another link about the coming technology.


We recently came across an interesting website about the use of Android apps for passenger devices.

While a bit old (2014 – 2015) we note their comments: “The average customer rating across Apple App Store and Google Play for the 12 major European airlines included in this study grew from 3.2 to 3.6 (on 1 to 5 scale) between January 2014 and October 2015. And you guessed it – this app stuff is getting a lot more important to travelers.

Airlines aiming at increasing personalization are aware of the importance of mobile apps. However, a prerequisite to unleashing new streams of ancillary revenues through tailored offers is offering an outstanding digital user experience.” The app importance is noted in the link above, but tnooz said: “The average customer rating across Apple App Store and Google Play for the 12 major European airlines included in this study grew from 3.2 to 3.6 (on 1 to 5 scale) between January 2014 and October 2015. While the airline average was around 3.1 to 3.6 (or lower) a reader sent us LATAM’s score (a few months old) – 4.0 Google/4.0 Apple – Guess who designed it?  If you said Zii, you win!


And speaking of Zodiac Aerospace, Safran will buy them and merge the two companies with lots of financial machinations if all the business offers are accepted. In the end, Safran landing gear, nacelle, power systems, actuators and avionics would be combined with the Zodiac seats, cabin interiors, power distribution, lighting, safety, and oxygen/fluid/safety equipment.

Here are the involved Zodiac companies: Heath Tecna, Contour Aerospace, IMS (Zii), NAT, TriaGnoSys, PPP, and Greenpoint Technologies.

One expert said that the message here is clear, Safran see’s the future of electrical and avionic involvement in in aircraft. We believe, because of their native product differences, that management selection will be very critical as the two companies are so different and almost opposite talents. It is worth noting that the combined company would have about 92,000 employees and we understand Safran purchase is estimated to be approximately  $9.5 Billion. Interestingly, Safran attempted this acquisition in 2010. FYI, if the deal goes through, Safran will be number three Tier 1 supplier behind GE and United Technologies. However, the purchase is still subject to shareholder approval and if so it will close at the end of 2017/ 1st Qtr. 2018. Stay Tuned.


Gogo announced that it has promoted Jon Cobin to Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Gogo. Cobin has served in a leadership position at Gogo for six years, most recently as head of strategy and global sales for Gogo’s commercial aviation division.  In his new role, he will continue to manage strategy and sales, but will take on the added responsibilities of managing Gogo’s product and marketing teams. Under Jon’s leadership the company has experienced numerous successes, including adding more than 1,000 2Ku aircraft to the backlog in 2016. “Gogo is at the forefront of technology development and innovation and combining our strategy group with product, sales and marketing enables us to better align the organization around meeting the needs of our global airline partners,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “Jon’s proven leadership makes him the right person for this role.” Congratulations Jon!


JetBlue announced the completion of its fleet-wide Fly-Fi installations and they said: “Fly-Fi is the revolutionary Wi-Fi service offered to JetBlue passengers for free across the carrier’s 227 aircraft, including Airbus A320s, A321s and Embraer 190s. This Wi-Fi offering was developed by Thales InFlyt Experience to meet JetBlue’s expectation to offer connectivity services for every seat, on every aircraft. This service allows passengers to connect and remain connected from gate-to-gate. With the completion of these installations, Thales has again enhanced the passenger experience for JetBlue by providing high-bandwidth connectivity services that complement existing stored and live in-flight entertainment products.” For additional details on this service, please refer to this JetBlue press release.


Global Eagle Entertainment, CA secured a $500m senior-secured term-loan facility and a new $85m senior-secured revolving credit facility.


This came into us after publishing last Tuesday. It is a prediction submission from FlightPath3D: “We predict 2017 as the year the industry finally recognizes the PAX audience as the most highly coveted demographic for advertisers and begins real & sustained efforts to bridge the gap between them.”


An unnamed IFExpress reporter told us: “Yesterday, I spoke with a friend of mine at (US) FCC and he confirmed that there will be organizational structure changes within. The alleged purpose is to “streamline” the licensing process. We’ll see. I have my doubts with any Federal bureaucracy. However, it could make for an interesting scenario with the 14 GHz air-to-ground license auctions. I suspect the license costs will go higher. Notwithstanding the purported organization changes, with every presidential transition period, he told me, from Republican – to – Democrat, or vice versa, or has about a 3-4 month period when almost nothing happens.” We concur.


You gotta see this – it might work! The Worst Seat on a Plane Gets Better: New Middle Seats




This week’s Zodiac Inflight Innovations (Zii) rectangle should give you an idea of the relative growth of RAVE AVOD customers over the past year or so. RAVE’s sales and marketing Guru, Harry Gray told IFExpress at APEX: “It has been a good year. In the last ninety days, we have acquired six new RAVE customers.” It should be noted, that RAVE has over 250 aircraft flying with inseat systems and almost 300 with RAVE wireless systems. Some of the new customers are prominent and market leading airlines. A recent press release from Singapore noted: “ – four new A350 customers, 150 committed B737Max aircraft, their first A380 customer as well as over 200 Global Express Connectivity equipped aircraft committed with the first installation scheduled early in 2017. Zodiac Inflight Innovations is quietly becoming a force in the world of IFEC. Zii first hit the IFE scene with their revolutionary new Seat Centric IFE system in 2011 and just five years later they are growing with over 45 airline customers, over 550 aircraft in service, and over 650 aircraft in committed backlog.” Noted Harry, “RAVE is: Reliable, Affordable, and Very Easy (to install, operate and maintain) – that is why it has been a success.” He also noted that the retrofit market has been very stable, and as of late, line fit is definitely growing. “Our RAVE systems are much easier to maintain than traditional IFE systems which allows airlines to maintain their own aircraft without the added expense of paying a traditional IFE provider for support” says Matt Smith, CEO for Zodiac Inflight Innovations. “Zii is a company that is different by design; our focus is always on putting our customers first. We want to be a company that Airlines want to work with; customer focused and innovation driven, we relentlessly pursue our core value of RAVE – Reliable, Affordable and Very Easy. It’s more than a name, it’s who we are.”

This year Zii has added an aftermarket support package to round out their portfolio of products. With RAVE Care, an airline can tailor a support package to its specific needs for a fixed price per month per aircraft. RAVE Care can include everything that an airline needs to maintain and operate their IFE systems, including spares, repairs, customer abuse and even content integration. Included in RAVE Care is a software guarantee that means airlines never have to worry about the cost of updating their Passenger User Interface and features over the lifetime of the system.


Kontron’s latest equipment developments include their ACE Flight 4608 8 core onboard server, which has the capability to do a lot more than inflight entertainment. For example, Kontron’s early systems featured solid state drives which were in the 100 GB but today their servers will feature 7 TB drives that are all solid state. The important point to note is that communication/connectivity enhancements are a real future capability. The Kontron team told us that Kontron specializes in cabin systems as well as security and safety certifications. Furthermore, the 4608 server excels at data processing onboard, the benefit to the airline is that they don’t have to wait to get the information off the aircraft when it is on the ground – once again proving that the big data technology is becoming an expectation and a reality. They also received FAA PMA for their Cab-n-Connect A100 wireless access point (PIX).  It should be noted that it delivers next-generation HD video and is certified on Boeing, Airbus, and Embrear aircraft. (Editor’s Note: Since 2005 Kontron has added new IFE and connectivity equipment every year. This year seven new products and iterations were unveiled: the ACE Flight 4780 MODMAN, ACE Flight Server 4608, the ACE Flight Server 4600, the ACE Flight Server 2600, and the ACE Flight Server 1600, the ACE Flight Server 904 and the Cab-n-Connect A100.)


This year APEX introduced a ‘Cool Award’ that was selected by industry peers. PXCom was the recipient of this award, probably because of the recognition of many of the companies’ innovations such as seat back wireless IFE compatible destination guides and destination information. IFExpress has had the pleasure of knowing Cyril Jean of PXCom for several years now and we have reported on their many innovative IFE communication developments and we were thrilled that their IFE peers acknowledged their creativity. Congratulations PXCom!

We had the opportunity to meet GEE’s new Director of Marketing, Nancy Harvey during APEX. She was happy to discuss their recent content agreement with Qatar Airways, which was announced during the expo. The deal is a new one for GEE that expands on their longstanding relationship with the airline and covers several years where they will provide movies, music, audio, and TV for on 164 aircraft, as well as, 8 charter jets and 12 business jets. (Editor’s Note: In our November 15th issue of IFExpress we discussed GEE’s recent JV with Shareco of HNA Group. Joint venture would exclusively provide inflight connectivity hardware and entertainment services on HNA airlines, comprising over 320 aircraft today with the potential to grow to over 500 planes. Shareco plans to invest up to $416 million in GEE stock at $11 per share through a combination of primary and secondary share purchases. Under terms of the contemplated transactions, GEE and Shareco would form a JV to provide IFEC and passenger monetization services to HNA airlines.)


The first of three A350-1000 development aircraft to fly – MSN059 – landed at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport France at 15.00hrs local time after successfully completing its first flight which lasted four hours and 18 minutes. Powered by Rolls-Royce’s new Trent XWB-97 engines, the aircraft traversed south-western France, during which the crew explored the aircraft’s handling and flight envelope. (See the full press release in “News Releases” below.)

On another front, Airbus plans to increase delivery rate of their A350 next to some 80 aircraft next year.


New Hire
Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg on Monday named Kevin G. McAllister president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, succeeding company Vice Chairman Ray Conner in that role. Muilenburg also appointed Stanley A. Deal president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, a new business unit to be formed from the customer services groups within the company’s existing commercial airplanes and defense, space and security business units. McAllister joins Boeing from GE Aviation. Deal is a veteran Boeing executive. Conner, 61, will continue to serve as Boeing vice chairman through 2017. He will work closely with McAllister in the months ahead on a purposeful hand-off of customer, supplier, and community and government relationships, and to ensure continuity of operations and customer support. Conner also will provide strategic oversight and guidance for the company’s transition to a single integrated services business and remain involved in ongoing product development strategy at Commercial Airplanes. Deal will begin immediately finalizing and executing detailed and deliberate plans to structure and organize the new business while ensuring all near-term customer commitments are met and value is maximized over the long term. Deal and McAllister join Caret as business unit leaders reporting directly to Muilenburg. They also become members of the company’s Executive Council. The appointments are effective Nov. 21, 2016.

World Trade Organization Ruling
The World Trade Organization (WTO) today rejected virtually all of the European Union’s challenges to the Washington state tax incentives. The EU challenged seven different state tax incentives.  The WTO rejected entirely the EU’s challenge to six of the seven incentives and rejected most of the challenge to the seventh.  The WTO held only and narrowly that a reduction in Washington state’s Business and Occupancy (B&O) tax rate for future 777X revenues is inconsistent with the WTO agreements.  The WTO threw out all of the EU’s other challenges to various incentive programs and left untouched even the B&O tax rate as it applies to revenue from the other Boeing models produced in Washington state–the 737, 747, 767, 777 (current model) and 787. In total, the EU claimed that Boeing had received $8.7 billion in subsidies.  This claim was rejected by the WTO, which found future incentives totaling no more than $50 million a year to be impermissible.  The WTO found that to date Boeing has received no benefit from the 777X rate incentive, and will not until 2020, because the first airplane will not be delivered until then. In light of today’s decision and the massive liability that the WTO has found against the EU and Airbus, we expect the EU and Airbus to appeal the decision.

  • Lifestyle Cabin awarded a Reddot award in the “Design Concept” category

Plaisir, France | August 11, 2016– Zodiac Aerospace is honored to announce that its Lifestyle cabin concept has won the prestigious Reddot Award in the category “Design concept”. The Lifestyle concept recently also won a Crystal Cabin Award in the ‘’Visionary Concept’ category, during Aircraft Interiors Expo in April, 2016.

The Advanced Concept Team and designers from several business units of Zodiac Aerospace have worked with London-based creative agency New Territory to rethink the future of the cabin. The Lifestyle cabin concept illustrates possible aircraft interior design for 10 years’ time, and aims to provoke conversation around the future of the aerospace industry. The concept, privately unveiled at the Aircraft Interiors Expo and Paris Air Show is visualized through a 20th scale aircraft 3D model.

The mock up also features the accompanying motion work on six screens around the model mounted on a light box. The screens bring the interior concept to life through rendered images showing fluid natural movements of passengers around the cabin. At Aircraft Interiors Expo 2016, airlines were also able to visit the lifestyle cabin virtually and “walk” into a cabin that could fly in10 years.
The design awards received for this project prove that passengers are also looking for something different in cabin architecture and that it will be a great way for the airlines to differentiate. It tells that the passengers are looking for a more authentic and tailored travelling experience as well as a more digital experience.

Preview APEX Regional Conference/FTE Asia | November 9, 2015– Singapore Airlines will deploy high-speed connectivity on its long range fleet, with Zodiac Inflight Innovations providing the GX Aviation equipment including RADOME and ARINC 791 installation provisions for their A380 and B777 aircraft. Zodiac Inflight Innovations will supply the equipment for the retrofit program through SITAONAIR and will also be providing the equipment directly for the A380s. This will be the first Inmarsat GX Aviation system to be installed and is scheduled for the second half of 2016.
“We are thrilled to be part of this ground breaking program”, says Larry Girard Executive Vice President of Zodiac Inflight Innovations. Zodiac Inflight Innovations is using its system integration expertise, to bring together all of the system components; including the Honeywell Jetwave GX terminal, continue Girard. Singapore Airlines has been at the forefront of inflight connectivity innovation. The airline was an early adopter of connectivity, on its A340s, as well as one of the first to provide connectivity on the A380. Recently, it has been providing free Wi-Fi sessions to the passengers in First and Business Class cabins through promotional sponsorship. The airline’s priority has always been to provide the very best inflight experience and knows passenger connectivity solutions have a central role in that.
“Singapore Airlines is one of the most respected carriers in the world. By choosing Zodiac Inflight Innovations as the equipment provider and SITAONAIR services, Singapore Airlines is clearly demonstrating their belief in the superiority of GX Aviation in terms of passenger experience, reliable global coverage and support, says Matt Smith Zodiac Inflight Innovations CEO”. “Singapore is our first customer, but we are also excited about what is yet to come, continues Smith.
The first aircraft type to be equipped will be Singapore Airlines’ B777-300ER aircraft, followed by A380-800s.

Zodiac Inflight Innovations at AIX was all smiles this year, and why not? Rod Farley’s team of Larry Girard and Harry Gray has chalked up some 26 new airlines for RAVE the past couple years by offering a product with one of the best screen image qualities we have ever seen on a seatback unit. We are sure price is also another feature and that makes airlines say “yes” to RAVE. The Zodiac Inflight Innovations Team has brought Mr. RAVE along for a few years now and they now have stand alone and integrated hardware such as those with the TriaGnoSys products like RAVE Wireless. But lets start at the beginning: firstly we should point out that RAVE comes in 3 flavors – RAVE CENTRIC (the seatback version), RAVE WIRELESS (the service for your portable entertainment device), and RAVE CELLULAR (the service for your phone). Secondly, and before we forget, RAVE came about as a business strategy – Reliable, Affordable, and Very Easy. From what we have heard from airlines, the products are working in aircraft “as advertised.”

Harry Gray told us that, “Our customers are consistently very happy with RAVE CENTRIC. Not only are we signing up more new airline customers, but existing customers want to extend our IFEC solutions across their fleets.”

Let’s look at all three in a little more detail. The data sheets from the Zodiac Inflight Innovations folks state: “Now airlines can choose from multiple features and capabilities to keep their passengers entertained and engaged during flight. Our product line provides our customers with a modular concept that can be tailored to each airlines needs, making it “very easy” for them to pick and choose which features are most important to them and their passengers.” The 3 product lines can be used on aircraft singularly or in a “mix & match” approach. This makes the IFEC solution flexible and allows for a solution on an airline with one-hour flights to differ from an International flight that could include all three.

RAVE CENTRIC is the headliner that provides inseat/overhead entertainment screens all connected via Ethernet throughout the cabin. This includes crew panel screens, which are interchangeable with the passenger screens of the same size. The entertainment content can be updated daily via an SD Card or USB drive by the crew while the built-in cell modem handles airline operational data offloads from the IFE system. Theatrical content loads are delivered to each seat via their content loader (System Control Unit) and can take place on the ground and even in the background during flight. Both Airbus and Boeing aircraft are flying with RAVE CENTRIC and airlines like the simple addition of one LRU in each seat for both installation ease and testing and replacement ease. Reliability is enhanced in the stand-alone in-seat units by the use of solid state memory and this is one of the reasons over 100 planes now are flying with this system and is a past Crystal Cabin Award winner. And yes, RAVE is now line fit offerable as well.

Two things stood out in the seatback system for us: USB charging available in each of the seatback displays and the INCREDIBLE quality of the screen displays. The in-seat HD displays, available in 17”, 15”, 12” and 9”, all have SD memory cards. Larry Girard told IFExpess, “We built in new intuitive screen controls that are more “swipe driven” and with our slide-up panel, pull down menus, and slide button controls, we mimic mainstream devices, which is one of our goals.” Aside from the new intuitive touch screen interface there’s a wireless option that we will talk about later.

The System Control Unit has a lot going for it, just look at some of the features:

  1. A single major LRU in the head-end
  2. Under 50 watts and 3.5kg weight
  3. 12 Terabyte capacity with built-in “load & 
go” content loading, even during flight
  4. Wireless data transfers at the gate
  5. Broadcast Moving Map (option)
  6. Supports all aircraft standard interfaces for 
PSS, PA, VA, Connecting Gate, etc.
  7. Qualified to DO-160 requirements

Let’s now move on to RAVE WIRELESS, available today. An airline that features short / medium haul operations or has customers who demand personal device entertainment will find RAVE WIRELESS a solution looking for users. This would be a good place to mention that this RAVE solution has a bit of development history combined in its background, as TriaGnoSys brought a lot of connectivity history to the party when Zodiac Aerospace purchased the company in September 2013. From an operational point of view, no app is required so users don’t have to download any application before the flight – Wi-Fi is streamed via an open network. This can also be pass-code protected for a pay per access or pay per view option. As a browser based connectivity device, the system allows any PED with Safari, Chrome, Opera, Firefox, (and so on) to be up and running with one URL entry. We asked about equipment requirements for a 200-passenger plane and 3 WAPS will fill the bill. The system shuts down automatically when wheels touch the ground. We understand that RAVE WIRELESS has a couple customers already and a fleet of aircraft goes into service this month.

RAVE CENTRIC and RAVE WIRELESS can also work together to enable passengers to use dual screens. Most obviously, they can have both a film showing on one screen and the Internet – social media, for example – running on the other. But what Zodiac Inflight Innovations has done in addition is to incorporate pairing, so both screens work together. That means passengers can swipe content from one screen to the other, and back again. It is just like having two linked screens on your desk.

Lastly we should mention a bit about RAVE CELLULAR, the international voice, SMS, and Data services provided through connectivity service providers, with billing, as with international roaming, coming though each passenger’s home mobile network operator. From a hardware perspective:

  1. CCU (Communication Control Unit) hardware is integrated with RAVE Cellular, RAVE Broadband, and RAVE Wireless in one cost effective LRU weighing approximately 5kg
  2. Antenna – leaky line or dipole antennas are required in-plane
  3. NCU (Network Control Unit) creates a usable airborne environment for GSM voice and data services
  4. CCP (Cabin Crew Panel) provides cabin crew and maintenance control functions as well as system and BIT status

This solution pretty much fits the bill for any airline in the world wishing IFE and/or connectivity and the Zodiac Inflight Innovations RAVE family boasts enough aircraft installations to call them one of the IFE contenders in the race to fill space with IFEC!

After APEX closed, IFExpress received a very good, and very short video about Panasonic show products that neatly explained their booth-featured product lines. There was an optional questionnaire at the end, however, we wanted to point out that the video itself presented a very concise summary of their show products and we now wonder if IFE companies with large, multiprogram displays should put out a booth summary before the show to help show-goers focus on their own personal preferences, given limited show viewing time… not too early though for competitive reasons, say a day or two before?

We wanted to tell our readers a bit about the ongoing aircraft interior developments at BAE Systems, a potential cabin powerhouse. The company brought some significant new products, some new and some next generation of the existing ones. We note the new Attendant Control Panel which is the cabin lighting controller (among other cabin control features) for B737NG aircraft with those wonderful collared LED lights (crew interface) which is just being introduced. The existing ACP is some 5 years old so watch for more on this new product as things develop from BAE. We want also to note their in-development in-seat power solution. Interestingly, the company has been working in-seat power from a different angle and we thought you might want a bit more information about it, so we talked with chief cabin honcho, Jared Schoemaker, Director of Cabin Systems (See Images LINK and note the 3D models of cabin hardware) and he told IFExpress, “The IntelliCabin power system is different because it does not perform power conversion at the seat. Existing systems convert 115VAC 400Hz power to 115VAC 60Hz at each seat group (3-4 seats). IntelliCabin converts the power on a larger scale, and 115VAC 60Hz is distributed to many seats.  Additionally, the smart outlet is able to sense how much power is being drawn by each outlet, and can be commanded on/off.  This allows us to “right size” the power conversion to the need, and manage the power distribution across the entire aircraft.  The result is a lower cost system with less impact (weight, size) to the seat.” We note that the system is not available today and if you want to stay tuned to developments, contact Shelby Cohen, Communications Manager.

Business Jet
Flight Display Systems will introduce this year’s new product launches at NBAA and we thought our readers might find this note we just got in somewhat interesting. “Be among the first to hear about our focus on aircraft cabin Wi-Fi technology. We will debut the next generation JetJukebox, which streams movies, music, and other content to handheld devices, with no internet connection required. Other products in our wireless suite include a Cabin Wi-Fi Router, a Dual USB Charger, and a 10X PED Synchronizer/Charger. Additionally, one final reveal involves streaming radio!” You might want to go to NBAA, it is in Las Vegas, Oct. 22 – 24 this month!

“Have you thought about Bluetooth in the Cockpit for EFB’s?” This was another note we received from Matt Cadwell, Business Development Manager at Blue Sky Networks. It went on, “Blue Sky Network recently announced a brand new iPad app that harnesses satellite networks for advanced 2-way messaging and forms (HawkEye Link, Press Release).

These completely customizable forms allow crew and dispatch to update flight plans, log maintenance issues, or fill out any custom form in real time during flight. It’s the industry’s first satellite-based dynamic forms application for the iPad, and it is available as an integrated avionics system, or in a portable device for smaller operations. In some cases, it can be used by passengers to stay connected using their familiar iOS or Android devices. Pass this along to your cockpit communications expert and they will thank you!”

That note also caught our attention so we asked him if his HawkEye Link App had any application to passengers in commercial cabins and he told IFExpress, “To answer your question in more detail,” he said, “the system allows for one connection via Bluetooth at a time, so it is definitely possible that PAX could use it, but that means the crew can’t. We do have customers interested in deploying it to small charter operations, where it is reserved for PAX. The messaging system is built 100% on email, so the aircraft has its own email address (usually [tailnumber] and they can email any other email address. Approved email addresses can email the aircraft directly (Approved list configurable by the client).” So there you have it – Iridium may be possible in the cabin!

AIX Americas
With all the talk lately of E.Coli, bacillus, staphylococcus, and salmonella tainted water, Zodiac has developed a clever UV water purification device that cleans potable cabin water via a small (LED-based, we think) UV source that delivers 12 GPM of the pure stuff. The 100 watt device fits in the plumbing line and is about the size of a loaf of bread – first one we have seen and you can find out more by contacting Dale Lauderback  at Zodiac in CA.

IFExpress had a chance to communicate with BOSE rep Hratch Astarjian last week and found out his new title is Manager, Global Aviation Sales and Service (Which includes their airline business, their pilot communication headset business and our military aviation business). He told IFExpress, “Things are going well, but I am incredibly busy… which is why Danielle Glassman is working on the airline business.” Now you know.

Late Breaking News – The last time we talked to the Baltra team at Sky Definition they told us to watch out for a surprise… here it is: Sky Definition will debut it’s 50″ Ultra HD display at this year’s NBAA. The monitor is designed for use in BizJets and on Commercial aircraft and features 4K Ultra Video Playback, Built-in Media Server, Media Share Capability and it will Stream Real-Time Content.

By the way, our IFEC BUZZ included a comment from a well known IFE expert and we thought the context was also of importance… It is a reference to people who are expert in, or very familiar with, one specialty (i.e., structures, stress analysis, electrical systems). Their only solution to any given problem is what they know. Hmmm?

The Boeing 787 program is facing some interesting times. Here are three relevant links.
The Battle for ANA has Far-Reaching Implications | AirInsight
Airbus chief eyes overtaking Boeing in production by 2018 – Yahoo News
A Company Restructuring Follows Boeing’s Heartbreak | Wall St. Cheat Sheet

You have probably read a lot about the recent developments of LED lighting in aircraft cabins because they are a perfect fit with airplane requirements… reliable, low power, lightweight system requirements, tons of colors, virtually no heat, and now many suppliers. As you might imagine, there is a technology development on the scene that will also provide some of the many features of LED’s with some improvements and future potential positive impacts on airplane cabin lighting – Organic Light Emitting Diodes, or OLEDS. Before we get into what they are and how they work, lets look at what the fuss is all about based on the relative light output (based in Lumens Per Watt) and how they stack up today with other sources of lighting all commercial available:

LIGHTING TYPE (Lumens Per Watt)
Incandescent (filament) 20 LPW
Compact Fluorescent 65 LPW
LED 100 – 150 LPW
Linear Fluorescent 100 LPW

Obviously the OLED developments have evolved in the last few years but compared to LED’s they are on a fast track. For example, the first red LED’s came along in 1962 so we have had some 50 years of development in LED research, design, fabrication, and worldwide sales. Kodak discovered organic polymer glow phenomenon but it wasn’t until 1987 that the Given that the first OLED in 1990. Some say this is another “Edison” moment! And since we have introduced the device, here is a technical description of what we are talking about from Wikipedia:

“An OLED (organic light-emitting diode) is a light-emitting diode (LED) in which the emissive electroluminescent layer is a film of organic compound which emits light in response to an electric current. This layer of organic semiconductor is situated between two electrodes. Generally, at least one of these electrodes is transparent. OLEDs are used to create digital displays in devices such as television screens, computer monitors, portable systems such as mobile phones, handheld games consoles and PDAs. A major area of research is the development of white OLED devices for use in solid-state lighting applications.”

All this technical talk can be a bit over the top, so our simpler definition goes like this: If you can imagine a LED device as a two bonded, doped, dissimilar materials that give off photons of light when a voltage is applied and a current flows across their junction. The OLED works in a similar diode-like way, but when the photons are given off at the junction, they are radiated through a couple of layers of organic materials… the layer(s) luminesce and light is emitted. The layers being organic in nature, facilitate a fabrication that is more like a surface of light rather than a point source of light such as LEDs. Panels versus point sources – can you see the advantages of this technology? How about lighted ceiling panels, personal colored touch switch controls, and OLED video screens? Not only will there a reduction in needed power for light output (coming soon) but the thin devices (credit card thin) put out less heat.

LED Technology


OLED Technology

To produce multiple colors, various organic layers are added with smart switches in the devices to turn them on and off, thus they become video display capable and aircraft will start seeing their application in IFE systems soon. Weight, color and quality are the plus signs; price will no doubt be the negative factor. OLED Displays deliver better ‘black’ colors, images have vivid color and are sharper… not to mention, the on-off characteristics are faster – great for motion video; however, they will just cost more.

As we mentioned, there is a real effort in aviation to include this technology, both in commercial (R&D) and in business aviation (product development and sales). The folks at Flight Display Systems, who are on a lot of cutting edges of inflight technology, started offering cabin IFE controls for the entertainment systems. Further, David Gray, President of Flight Display Systems told IFExpress: “OLED technology allows a fantastic viewing angle, extreme resolution, and low power. All this is in a very small package. The future looks bright for applications that are curved and tight fitting for older technologies. For example I have a Samsung S-4 phone with a 5″ full 1080P OLED display. This quality will become the standard going forward.”

Furthermore, all this lighting technology is not lost on the commercial airline R&D folks. Universal Display has been awarded a $225,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I program from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Under the program, titled “Novel Energy-Saving Phosphorescent OLED Lighting Products,” Universal Display will partner with and subcontract IDD Aerospace/Zodiac Lighting Solutions to evaluate and demonstrate the potential for energy- efficient and cost-effective white OLED lighting panels for aircraft interiors. IFExpress talked to IDD about their development shelf lighting project and Beth de Young, General Manager at IDD Aerospace/Zodiac Lighting Solutions noted: “Through our partnership with Universal Display, we aim to contribute to a disruptive shift in the adoption of OLED lighting by providing a compelling early entry product. The data generated by developing this shelf utility light may be applied to larger-scale OLED lighting aircraft projects, including cabin applications for interior furniture, galley, interior structure enhancements, as well as other potential adoptions in cabin accent, task, ceiling and sidewall lighting, and sign backlighting.” Our readers should stay tuned to OLED breakthroughs for aircraft usage… LED’s and OLED’s are the stuff of future passenger cabin experience.

We should note that Phosphorescent Organic Light Emitting Diodes (PHOLED’s) are another source of potential lighting for future aircraft cabin lighting applications and by their nature can act as sheets of light in applications requiring flat, thin, lighted surfaces. As on might guess, the phosphorescence is a result of similar electrical phenomena and use organic materials that “glow”. Because of their high efficiency, we expect to see them in applications such as personal lighting first and later (as prices drop and manufacturing capability increase) as broader sources of white and colored lighting. There is a bright future for this technology and this is exactly why IFExpress is staying tuned.

In case you slept thru the holidays you might be the last one in IFE to hear about the news: Zodiac has issued a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase seat-centric IFE system manufacturer, IMS. The deal should conclude by year-end, and from what we hear, Joe Renton is thrilled about the company and the agreement (Note: No purchase price was announced). The large French aerospace conglomerate has had a busy year and a financially rewarding one to boot. They recently purchased Heath Tecna and Contour (seating), and IFE is even more clearly in their sight as they have already put a system forward with Sicma, a previous acquisition. We understand that IMS will stay in Brea, California and present-day thinking is to keep the 250-person company intact. Further, we believe that the leadership team will remain unchanged. No doubt, naming and branding will come to the table as soon as the deal is done. We should also note that all IMS products and services (including the Northwest service operations) are included in the deal. IFExpress understands that the sales and marketing organizations will be the first to increase headcount (wink-wink, nudge-nudge). In these kinds of deals, a careful look is usually taken at the two products currently in production (RAVE & SiT) to determine a way forward and, as one insider told IFExpress, product manufacturing locations will be based upon what makes the most sense. We like the potential of a closer proximity and business relationship to Airbus too as the possibility of line-fit operations might be in the offing, not to mention early retrofit requirement knowledge.

While the IMS company spokesman was hesitant to provide much in the way of market detail, we see great value for existing and new customers based on the successful Zodiac history of acquisition and their strong balance sheet. This fiscal year, Zodiac increased sales revenue by almost 26% (Tot: 3.4 B Euros) while current operating income was also up 26.4%. If you think that growth might be an anomaly, Zodiac has had 9 straight quarters of double-digit growth! Can your IFE company say the same? It looks to us like Zodiac is majoring in single-aisle retrofit capability and may see a spurt coming in that business market. With airline employees spread thin, a package retrofit turnaround deal could be a winner for the airlines, especially with increased passenger traffic returning to the travel market.

On another note:
In case you got wind of a good size Lumexis headcount reduction… forget it! We called CEO Doug Cline and he vigorously rejected the rumor. “In fact, if anything, we have more going on today with new content services, Wi-Fi sales and marketing, new hardware installations, and ramped-up marketing efforts around the globe. Of course,” he noted, “with our founding strategy of outsourcing most engineering and manufacturing, it may look like reductions to some in the industry as we realign to current needs. But we have continuously maintained and grown our core of talented management since opening our doors.” Doug also told us to tell our readers that there may be a few announcements soon that will nail the door shut on these rumors. Nuff Sed!