Onboard tech news

AI in action – the new normal from Yates+

June 3, 2020

Yates+ has partnered with French business school, Neoma, to launch trials of an AI-driven app which facilitates the journey through the airport.

Designed to present the next normal airport experience, the truly contactless experience, SafeGo, will be trialled in a Middle Eastern airport in the next months.

Using highest intensity camera facial bio-screening at every point of contact, the airport journey with this app requires no paper ticket, no baggage tags, no human contact at any point – from curb to aircraft door.

SafeGo has been developed by a Yates+Neoma joint-venture.


IdeaNova Technologies launches updated Inplay IFE player

May 13, 2020

IdeaNova Technologies has introduced its new Inplay player – the 6th generation of the company’s popular IFE component.

The player provides a single platform for playback of all DRM and non-DRM content and uses modern React based technology to provide the same experience in mobile and laptop environments, at a lower cost.

The player now supports Google Widevine, Apple FairPlay and Microsoft PlayReady DRM along with playback of mpd and HLS non-DRM content. Customers who already licensed earlier versions of this software can upgrade to Inplay Web 6 free of charge.

Enhanced features include picture in picture, scene seek, playlist and customisation, allowing user interface and experience to be adjusted based on customer preferences.

IdeaNova’s CTO, Janne Pelkonen, said: “This latest web player has more features and better customisability, but at the same time it is easier to integrate and use.”

IdeaNova founder and CEO, Juraj Siska added: “We believe airlines and IFE vendors should consider upgrading their IFE platforms during this COVID-19 downtime to improve the overall passenger experience. Passengers will return to travelling and would likely prefer high quality inflight entertainment on their own devices. We are excited about the future and eager to see the benefits we bring to inflight entertainment and passengers around the world.”


Withers hands over Burrana CEO role

May 13, 2020

David Withers, founder and CEO Burrana, is moving to the role of non-executive chairman and has been replaced as CEO by board member Neal Nordstrom.

Withers will remain actively engaged in the business helping to drive the company’s technology development and product positioning. Paul Margis will step down as chairman but remain on the board.

Nordstrom brings extensive experience of helping newly-acquired businesses transition to fully functioning, high performance teams, and has also supported privately held, high technology companies in southern California as a board member or advisor.

Withers said: “It is of course with very mixed emotions that I make this announcement. For 12 years Burrana has been the single focus of my energy but it is the right time for me personally and the right time for the company to have a new CEO. I thank Neal for accepting the challenge and assure all our customers, suppliers and partners that I remain fully engaged and committed.”

Nordstrom said: “I am inheriting a strong team and competitive product range. Our immediate focus is of course navigating COVID-19 and coming out of it strong and ready to compete. Our recent award by Airbus as their IFEC supplier of the year is just one indication of the capabilities of this great company.”


Inmarsat pulls industry together online

May 6, 2020

A unique all-day broadcast event, hosted by Inmarsat and APEX, last week saw more than 50 leading voices exchange views on the present and future of aviation, as over 3,000 viewers in almost 100 countries watched.

Designed to encourage collaboration during these challenging times, FlightPlan: Charting a Course into the Future, saw experts express confidence in an eventual bounce-back and highlight the importance of technology in spurring passenger return.

Nick Careen, senior vp of airport passenger cargo and security at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), observed that although the COVID-19 pandemic has “no parallel to draw upon in recent memory… the airline industry has illustrated time and time again that if there’s any industry in the world that knows how to deal with a crisis, it’s this one”. Careen predicted that changes to come may include staggered boarding processes, alongside faster adoption of biometrics and self-service technologies in the airport.

In an interactive poll during the event, FlightPlan viewers were invited to share their own predictions on the COVID-19 recovery. Results showed: 43% predicted recovery will take 18 months to three years; 44% said the industry was poorly prepared for COVID-19; and 36% stated governments have helped the industry but could have done more.

New passenger processes

Some 87% expect to see more deep cleaning and slower turnarounds while 86% believe that personal protective equipment (PPE) will become standard for cabin crews in the coming months. 80% also expect thermal scanners to become part of the passenger journey although only 9% see blood tests for airline passengers becoming the norm.

Discussing the ambitious sustainability targets the industry has previously set itself, such as net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the experts agreed that collaboration was fundamental. Anko Van Der Werff, ceo of Avianca, argued that “the whole ecosystem needs to work together on this.” Paul Stein, chief technical officer at Rolls Royce, added that the impact of single-nation initiatives has been limited and a “coalition of the willing” with industry bodies, airlines, manufacturers and fuel providers is needed.

Industry speakers were largely confident COVID-19 would not interrupt progress on sustainable aviation and felt it may even push the topic higher up the agenda. Stein said: “The post-COVID-19 world is going to be one that recognises the fragility of the planet…sustainability isn’t just going to come back to the point it was before COVID – it’s going to be an even stronger issue.” In the FlightPlan poll 40% of respondents agreed COVID-19 will accelerate the drive to reduce emissions.

Digital imperatives

Rupert Pearce, ceo of Inmarsat, spoke about the power of connectivity to drive global development and industry recovery. “I believe that digitalisation lies at the heart of our ability to first survive this crisis, and then to drive our ability to rebound from it and start to thrive in whatever new reality lies in front of us.”

The next generation of passengers were at the centre of a discussion around the need for airlines to continue preparing for the future with Generation Z’s now seeing travel as a right and inflight connectivity as a driving force in their decision-making.

Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “As we look towards recovery and ensuring long-term resilience, there will be no one-size-fits all approach. However, it will remain important that airlines can differentiate for customers. It’s clear that the safety of consumers will continue to be at the forefront in this new world, and that digitisation and innovation will be crucial to driving much-needed efficiencies, reducing environmental impact and improving passenger experience.”


Linstol forges new partnerships

April 22, 2020

Linstol has entered into a new business agreement to operate all headset-related activities under license from Phitek/Amphenol.

The agreement will allow the engineering and product characteristics of Phitek to benefit from Linstol’s production capabilities, supply chain network and customer service, and the move is expected to significantly improve the customer experience and ensure long-term satisfaction.

Mark Russell, Linstol’s CEO, said: “We are excited to be a leader in the industry and continue to raise the bar for our airline partners. Our team is pleased to add the Phitek brand to the Linstol portfolio and is committed to driving the technology and engineering that has made the Phitek brand a benchmark product.

Aaron Gough, general manager Amphenol Phitek, added: “Linstol’s market leadership within the aviation industry, combined with Amphenol Phitek’s historical and ongoing development of high-performance engineered audio products, will provide airlines a full suite of high performing audio solutions now and into the future. Amphenol is pleased to have found a perfect complimentary partner to move forward the Phitek brand.”


Fit to fly technology trials

April 22, 2020

Automated check-in specialists, Elenium, has partnered with Amazon Web Services to offer a touchless check-in kiosk, which can evaluate a person’s vital signs and provide an early warning indication on fitness to fly.

The self-service technology can detect a passenger’s temperature, heart rate and ask a series of questions from a distance of 1.5 metres at any airport touchpoint such as a kiosk, bag drop, security or immigration – enabling the self-service device to act as a screening station for potential symptoms of COVID-19.
In partnership with Amazon Web Services, Elenium has also developed hands free technologies that enable touchless use of self-service devices, voice recognition and head movement detection, thereby further minimising the potential of any viral or bacterial transmission.
CEO and co-founder, Aaron Hornlimann, says: “The potential benefit of such enhancements is to provide peace of mind to passengers and staff that symptoms of illness can be detected at any self-service terminal, so anyone who presents with these symptoms can be intercepted before boarding an aircraft.”

Elenium has created a triage kiosk prototype and is currently in discussions with existing aviation customers and trialing it with Etihad Airways at Abu Dhabi Airport.
Hornlimann adds: “While it is a very difficult time for the industry, airports have an opportunity during this shut down to make changes now that inspire greater confidence in their processes and solutions, especially when it comes to passenger safety and inclusiveness. We believe the introduction of touchless devices and automated health screening will encourage passengers to return to travel sooner.”

Jorg Oppermann, vp HUB and midfield operations at Etihad Airways, adds: “We are testing this fit to fly technology because we believe it will not only help in the current environment but also into the future with assessing a passenger’s suitability to travel and thus minimising disruptions.”

The system automatically suspends the self-service check-in or bag drop process if a passenger’s vital signs indicate potential illness symptoms. A remote agent can then make further assessments and manage that passenger as appropriate.

Elenium has more than 700 check-in kiosks in use by 30 airlines across thirteen airports globally, including Hong Kong, Auckland, Avalon, Bangalore and Sydney airports.


Armchair travel to make you smile

April 15, 2020

Suffering from travel withdrawal symptoms and longing to get onboard a plane again? Well technology can of course help with a little virtual exploration.

The creativity of armchair travel experts is really coming to the fore, encouraging us to experience places virtually and escape our home environment without even opening our front door.

The ingenuity of some is impressive. Check out this creative airborne adventure doing the rounds, created by one imaginative homeworker eager to get his feet off the ground

Watch the video

FTE adapts with new virtual events

April 15, 2020

Difficult times call for new ways of thinking and new ways to do business, so we are pleased to support our event partner, FTE, as they launch their FTE APEX Ancillary virtual event and a series of post-COVID brainstorming webinars.

Having successfully hosted webinars for its FTE Innovation & Startup Hub members since 2018, in the coming months the team will be taking this further and hosting webinars and virtual events for the entire industry to engage and collaborate at this pivotal moment in the air transport sector’s history.

The first two webinars will include insight from industry leaders on how the airport and cabin experience must be evolved quickly to restore consumer confidence, enhance operations, and prepare for the post-COVID-19 reality.

They will also include pitches from suppliers with unique solutions and visions for this new world in which air transport will need to comply with social distancing practices and deliver a more contactless, seamless, automated, sanitised and digitally powered travel experience.

Speakers confirmed include Rohit Talwar, futurist and CEO, Fast Future, Daniel Coleman, Founder & CEO, Future Travel Experience and Joe Leader, CEO, APEX & IFSA, with more to be announced.

The webinars entitled Post-Covid-19 Airports (Wednesday May 13 at 15.00 BST) and Post-Covid-19 Aircraft (May 20 at 15.00 BST) .

In addition on Thursday June 4, 15:00 BST, the team will hold its FTE APEX Ancillary virtual event including speaker contributions from airlines on how they are evolving their commercial approaches.

There will also be a chance to hear pitches from a series ancillary revenue suppliers who will present their latest products, services and visions, and respond to airline questions.

All these events and webinars will be completely free to attend for airlines and airports and $50 for vendors. Attendee places are limited. To book register here/a>.

APEX is also encouraging airlines to look to the future through a collaboration with Inmarsat Aviation to host a one-day online broadcast event.

Entitled #FlightPlan the digital event aims to bring together aviation experts, analysts and leaders to share insight and direction and share best practice and strategies at this challenging time. The event will take place on Wednesday 29 April 2020 from 9am – 4pm BST.

For more information: flightplan.wavecast.io

Preparing for the new reality, and Singapore

April 7, 2020

Our event partners at the Future Travel Experience are looking beyond the COVID-19 crisis and encouraging airlines and suppliers to stay ahead of the curve and reimagine the new reality.

The team has been forced to cancel its June FTE EMEA/Ancillary show in Dublin and has postponed FTE Global in Las Vegas to December 7-9, but it is confident the rapidly-growing FTE APEX Asia EXPO will go ahead as planned in November (10-11), in collaboration with our own Onboard Hospitality Forum – Asia.

Daniel Coleman, FTE founder and ceo, said: “This is our show for the fast-recovering Asia market and it will go ahead as scheduled at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. It will now include the FTE APEX Commercialising IFEC Summit and focus on everything from digital transformation to urban air mobility. Uniquely, we will now offer a level of complimentary VIP access for airlines and airports to support their essential need to plan for the future, whilst they operate on tighter budgets through 2020.”

Planning for the event is underway and to help identify key issues and ideas for debate, the team has researched a deep dive into the way the industry will look once global air travel is able to resume. Check out their predictions for new innovations in the passenger experience here.

See more details on the Onboard Hospitality Forum

AK-Service brings AR to a market

April 2, 2020

Amenities specialist AK-Service has launched a high-tech division, AK-Digital, to bring Augmented Reality (AR), amenities, interactive media and mobile devices together.

AK-Digital’s goal is to create a new approach to the way the industry entertains its customers and a new, augmented dimension to ordinary things.

Using AR the team’s designers are adding digital elements to products using the smartphone to create an illusion that content on the screen is a part of a real world, adding 3D objects, animations, graphics, videos and sounds to inflight entertainment.

The technology can be used in children activity books or colouring pages, or for onboard menus and inflight shopping magazines making these interactive and animated. Ordinary things become more visual and engaging.

AK-Digital has already created a number of AR applications and participated in the number of AR projects including children travel kits with AR 3D-puzzles and a premium series of collectable porcelain airplanes with AR effects. Others, including onboard retail applications, are under development.

Md, Aleksandr Ferents, says: “The AK-Digital team includes professional mobile developers, AR-enthusiasts and artists all well trained and excited to deliver next-gen kits – quality amenities made by AK-Service with modern technologies by AK-Digital.”


Gategroup focuses on data

April 2, 2020

Gategroup is launching what it calls ‘a data revolution’ using data and predictive technologies to better understand and address the wishes of consumers while travelling.

A spokesman says: “Technology and data are at the heart of everything we do. We are constantly developing our business intelligence capabilities to adapt to market dynamics and to meet ever-changing consumer needs to deliver the superior travel experience that our airline partners and passengers expect. This includes leveraging social media and artificial intelligence to accurately predict consumer behaviour through key partnerships with Airbus and Black Swan.

“The company has already joined forces with Black Swan in an exclusive partnership to develop a ground-breaking travel retail digital platform. The partnership combines gateretail’s industry knowledge, capabilities and retail software platforms with Black Swan’s data-driven predictive analytics improving airline crew sales capabilities and passenger interaction dynamics.

The spokesman adds: “We are also utilising Trendscope, the first-ever social prediction tool developed by Black Swan. Trendscope is capable of analysing millions of real-time online consumer conversations which then evaluates, ranks and predicts every category trend by its future growth potential, helping you determine which trends will matter most to your consumers.

This in turn promotes sound sustainability practices in the industry, customer satisfaction and in turn, profitability. Indeed, leveraging this information together with gategroup’s culinary and retail expertise, gategroup is able to drive critical insights that drive innovation in menu development, waste reduction, product range and category optimisation.”


Novo Onboard Retail acquires Touchstar

April 2, 2020

Novo Onboard Retail has acquired Touchstar’s onboard retail division and is predicting a surge of demand for onboard retail in aviation to help drive the post-COVOD 19 recovery.

Novo’s ceo, Jon Hall was a former board member and chief operating officer at Touchstar and personally spent 23 years with the company, including over a decade within the airline sector.

Hall has been instrumental in the specification and design of the Novo cloud-based onboard retail software suite and takes with him the full support team, and their prestigious client base in the airline and mobile retail sectors.

Hall says: “The newly-formed limited company will trade as Novo Onboard Retail Ltd. The new name is a nod to the organisation’s original formation as ‘Novo IVC’ and I am delighted to be inheriting that team legacy of more than three decades of involvement within the airline sector.

The onboard retail team has created an excellent feature-rich enterprise-level software suite for managing and optimising ancillary revenue. We now look forward to building upon this foundation, creating innovative cutting-edge technology solutions for the onboard ancillary sales revenue industry.”

He is confident inflight retail will be key to aviation recovery post COVID-19 and adds:“We are expecting a surge of activity in the airline onboard retail sector once the COVID-19 virus has been contained. Airlines, hard hit by the cessation of services are looking to every revenue channel to aid recovery. We have already been approached by a number of airlines and concessionaires looking for a SAAS-based (software as a service) onboard retail solution that can be rolled out quickly anywhere in the world with online training, in order to be ready for the predicted surge in travel.

In the words of one airline executive: “We need an onboard retail system because if we can’t sell food, wines and spirits, the passengers expect it for free!” We are looking forward to helping facilitate the recovery in the airline, rail and ferry sectors in the post-COVID-19 era.”


Inflight Dublin launches EASE

March 31, 2020

IFEC specialist, Inflight Dublin, has launched its latest innovation, EASE: Wellness Breathing Exercise – a wellness product designed to promote the wellbeing of passengers in the air or on the ground.

EASE is a user-centred, brand-aligned breathing exercise that helps anxious travellers feel more relaxed during their flight or at home – particularly during these difficult times. Compatible with all inflight entertainment systems, the exercise can be housed on any wireless or seatback IFE platform. Adopting binaural beats (audio frequencies), resonant breathing techniques, and comforting visuals, the goal of the video is to instill a calming and positive experience for the user throughout their flight.

EASE is fully customisable and through the complementary application of an airline’s logo, colour palette, and typography the exercise can reflect each airline’s brand. This on-trend product is designed and managed entirely in-house by Inflight Dublin.

John White, Inflight Dublin’s CEO says: “We are delighted to announce our latest innovation, EASE: Wellness Breathing Exercise. Recognising the fast-growing wellness trend, we wanted to create something simple and user-friendly that would help ‘ease’ the anxiety or fear that many passengers suffer when flying. I am proud of the team for continuing to innovate and creating something positive during such a tough time for the industry.”


Startup access goes virtual

March 24, 2020

The Future Travel Experience (FTE) Innovation & Startup Hub is offering airlines and other industry stakeholders the chance to meet new startups without leaving the office, through virtual pitch sessions online.

The FTE Innovation & Startup Hub is the first-ever innovation network for the air transport industry and already includes a number of the world’s most forward-thinking airlines and airports including the likes of United Airlines, Vancouver Airport Authority, Japan Airlines, Los Angeles World Airports and Southwest Airlines.

Launched two years ago, the Hub has added new features to ensure members get the most possible value out of joining. Virtual Pitch Sessions are the latest addition and allow members to meet with startups from the comfort of their own office.

The Hub connects needs with curated personalised video pitch sessions. Members can watch the startups pitch and then ask them any follow-up questions during the Q&A.

Learn more

Air New Zealand launches new safety video

March 10, 2020

Air New Zealand has hatched its latest safety video called A Journey to Safety.

The video highlights the impact of New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis through the story of a young girl who transports a lost takahē bird to his new home with help from Air New Zealand and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

The airline’s latest offering builds on its eight-year partnership with DOC. The two organisations have been working together since 2012 to help protect and enhance New Zealand’s natural environment. Under the partnership the airline has transported more than 3,200 threatened species to safety, funded pest traps across 38,000 hectares of the country, and supported marine science and research within New Zealand’s marine reserves.

New Zealand’s landscapes are also a feature of the video, with the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland, Tiritiri Matangi in the Hauraki Gulf and Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari in Waikato all making an appearance.

Air New Zealand’s general manager global brand and content marketing, Jodi Williams, says the newest video is a charming story with a serious message behind it.

“While it’s lighthearted on the surface, it conveys a really important message – our native birds need our help. Our safety videos have collectively generated more than 180 million views over the past decade, so what better medium to shine a spotlight on New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis.

A Journey to Safety will be rolled out across Air New Zealand’s international and domestic fleet from and is available to view online here.


Vistara introduces innovative cabin lighting

March 10, 2020

Following the unveiling of the first of six new wide-body aircraft, Vistara is enhancing passenger wellbeing and reducing jetlag with the introduction of new customised lighting on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The customised lighting scenes have been jointly developed by Vistara and jetlite, with the support of Boeing, by considering corporate design, cultural background and effect on colours, material and finishing.

Vistara is Asia’s first airline to adopt jetlite’s cabin lighting onboard, joining premium airlines such as Lufthansa to place greater focus on the positive effects of lighting on the human body.

jetlite’s Human Centric Lighting helps reduce travel-related fatigue and brings the wellbeing of passengers into focus. According to the startup, adjusting light colour and intensity throughout the flight, encourages passengers to adjust sleep schedules and arrive well-rested and less jetlagged.

Vinod Kannan, chief commercial officer at Vistara, commented: “Since inception, Vistara has focused on delivering an exceptional inflight experience that enhances our customers’ wellness. Cabin lighting is one of the elements that makes this possible and we are delighted to partner with jetlite for their cutting-edge Human Centric Lighting. This will help us to take the Vistara flying experience to the next level for travellers.”

Dr. Achim Leder, co-founder and managing director at jetlite, also commented: “Vistara´s lighting scenes are backed by extensive research studies and real test flights. jetlite customises Human Centric Lighting solutions individually for each airline, taking factors such as corporate design, the effect on CMF (colours, material and finishing) and cultural background into consideration.”

airvistara.com; jetlite.de

This article was originally published by Future Travel Experience

SES and Isotropic Systems enter new phase of development

March 10, 2020

Isotropic Systems and SES have announced a new developmental phase of their collaborative partnership to produce scalable, cost-effective multi-beam customer edge terminal antennas capable of unlocking access to the O3b mPOWER system.

Together with SES, Isotropic Systems will review, refine, and test key components of its full line of customised digital software-defined terminals throughout 2020, optimising the tiered platform to meet specific performance, cost, power, and connectivity requirements of user cases around the world.

The development roadmap will culminate in a series of comprehensive engineering evaluations of Isotropic Systems’ multi-beam antenna components, prior to the commercial launch of the customer edge terminals and the O3b mPOWER Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) system in 2021.

Many of the upcoming trials will focus on maximising the effectiveness of the circuits behind the optical beam-forming lens modules at the core of the Isotropic Systems adaptable multi-beam antenna. The patented lens module technology is a major differentiator, enabling seamless switching between SES’s multi-orbit fleets, and opening the door to a new age of widely accessible and tailored high-performance Ku- and Ka-band connectivity.

“The SES-Isotropic Systems partnership is driving the development of innovative multi-beam customer edge terminal antennas using digital beamforming that will light up new market opportunities for the tailored scalability and flexibility of our O3b mPOWER network and our unique multi-orbit MEO-GEO constellations,” said Stewart Sanders, SES’s executive vice president and O3b mPOWER programme lead. “Our shared vision is keenly focused on bringing game-changing, high-performance broadband to both highly sophisticated and mass markets across the globe, on land, at sea, and in the air.”

John Finney, founder and CEO of Isotropic Systems, explains: “Our terminals are customisable to meet the performance, cost, and power requirements of countless applications – from the most complex government defence systems and mobile backhaul solutions capable of extending 5G, to next-gen connected experiences aboard commercial airliners, cruise ships, offshore rigs, and even small fishing boats at sea.”


Qatar Airways introduces Inflight VR

March 4, 2020

Qatar Airways is trialling virtual reality (VR) onboard in a partnership with Inflight VR.

The system is exclusively available to Qsuite and Business travellers onboard flights from Doha to Singapore and London as part of a pilot project running until mid-March.

“We are excited to have the opportunity of working with Qatar Airways,” says Moritz Engler, ceo of Inflight VR. “They have continued to put the customer first and remain a game changer in the aviation industry, proving time and again why they are masters of their craft.”


Japan Airlines deploys Viasat’s Aerodocs system

March 4, 2020

Viasat has announced that Japan Airlines (JAL) has deployed its Aerodocs document management system to support the airline’s safety and compliance objectives.

Aerodocs is an aviation-grade document management solution that is providing JAL with complete control over the editing, distribution and viewing of original equipment manufacturer documentation, in addition to critical flight reference handbooks, maintenance manuals and operational manuals.

Recently named the most on-time mainline airline in 2018 in the Asia-Pacific region by FlightGlobal, JAL continues to invest in solutions to further enhance their award-winning operations.

“We continue to invest in the enhancement of aircraft operational safety, as it is a top priority. Viasat Aerodocs allows us to effectively organize and manage documents to further enhance aircraft safety while helping us meet critical regulatory and compliance requirements,” said Captain Tatsuo Mori, vice president and chief pilot, Flight Operation Department, Japan Airlines.

He added “the system’s intuitive approach and unique capabilities ensures that critical information is maintained in the right place and is accessible at all times. Having the ability to manage workflows in a more integrated manner, along with tracking read and unread documents, delivers significant value in helping us enhance our safety. While we evaluated a number of different solutions, we agreed that the Viasat Aerodocs product delivered the most comprehensive offering to transform our information management strategy.”


Thales reports 2019 results

March 4, 2020

Thales has reported its 2019 full-year results.

Key figures from the report include the order intake in 2019 amounting to €19,142 million, up 19% from 2018. Order momentum was particularly strong in the Defence & Security segment. At 31 December 2019, the consolidated order book stood at €33.8 billion.

Sales totalled €18,401 million, up 16.1% compared to 2018 and up 0.8% at constant scope and currency (“organic” change), with the decline in sales in the Aerospace and Transport segments offsetting the robust performance in Defence & Security.

“Thanks to the commitment of its 80,000 employees, Thales ended 2019 with a commercially very dynamic fourth quarter,” says Patrice Caine, chairman and ceo. “The booking of 12 projects over €100 million in the last quarter drove us significantly above our order intake objective. After recording growth above 5% in the past three years, sales slowed down due to the commercial Space market downturn and an exceptionally high basis of comparison in Transport. EBIT and adjusted net income were up 19%, boosted by the smooth integration of Gemalto.

“Our roadmap between now and 2023 remains unchanged. We are focused on generating profitable growth sustainably. In a global 2020 environment with several uncertainties, Thales’s business model, which is both balanced and resilient, is more than ever creating value.”

Read the full report


The Joker boards Iberia Express

February 25, 2020

On February 18, Immfly and Iberia Express screened Joker in a special event onboard flight I2 3730 flying between Madrid and Copenhagen.

The onboard event, which featured the film that secured the most Academy Award nominations this year in addition to the Oscar for Best Actor and Best Soundtrack, marked the introduction of Warner Bros content on board Iberia Express’ IFE platform, Club Express Onboard.

The wireless inflight entertainment platform provided by Immfly enables passengers on all Iberia Express flights to enjoy a wide variety of content for free. From blockbusters, featuring stars such as Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star is Born, to superheroes such as Aquaman, and wizards such as Harry Potter, the rich cinematic portfolio is complemented with popular TV series and a broad range of other content including games, newspapers and magazines, destination guides and more.

Passengers who found themselves on the special celebratory flight todaywere surprised with free popcorn, earphones and mobile device holders to enhance their IFE experience.

Paloma Cabañas, head of customer experience and inflight services at Iberia Express notes: “A new catalogue of movies will be refreshed regularly and can be accessed for free in three languages: Spanish, English and French. One of our ongoing objectives is to provide a differentiated experience to our customers. Onboard entertainment is a key component of our value proposition.”


Inmarsat launches connectivity services in Saudi Arabia

February 25, 2020

Inmarsat will bring its connectivity solutions to customers based in Saudi Arabia through new partner agreements.

The company has also secured new spectrum licenses to deliver both its narrow-band (L-band) and high-capacity broadband (Ka-band), Global Xpress (GX), services in Saudi Arabia, enabling Saudi-based businesses to deploy these services for the first time.

Fixed and mobile satellite telecommunications distributor Sada Al Ammah and Global Beam Telecom have been appointed as Inmarsat’s first distribution partners in the region and they will work closely with Inmarsat’s Maritime, Aviation and Enterprise businesses to roll-out services.

Inmarsat’s Maritime business will partner with Sada Al Ammah to distribute connectivity services for merchant and offshore vessels operating in Saudi waters.

Inmarsat’s Aviation business will work with Sada Al Ammah to deliver cockpit safety services and passenger cabin broadband wifi connectivity (GX Aviation for commercial airlines and Jet ConneX for business jets) to companies based in Saudi Arabia, enabling airline passengers to browse the internet, stream video and music, check and update social media and more during their flights.

“Saudi Arabian shipping and offshore companies have shown an increasing appetite for the latest digital services to improve operating efficiencies and Inmarsat is delighted to offer our Fleet Xpress service in Saudi and the region in conjunction with our partners, Global Beam Telecom, Sada Al Ammah and Master Systems,” said Ronald Spithout, president, Inmarsat Maritime.

“Owners now see the need for an ecosystem of value-added services to enable digitalisation, rather than just buying a Ku-band VSAT connectivity pipe. That’s why we are seeing demand for Inmarsat’s Fleet Data IoT platform, our Fleet Secure suite of cyber security services and our crew welfare and retention solution, Fleet Hotspot.”

”Saudi Arabia is a fast-growing and important market for aviation connectivity solutions,” said Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation. “Inmarsat looks forward to working with commercial airlines in Saudi Arabia to enable them to upgrade to the world’s leading aviation connectivity solutions, covering high-speed inflight passenger broadband in the aircraft cabin and gold standard operations and safety in the cockpit.”


Get involved with Onboard Tech Innovation

February 18, 2020

As we count down the days to AIX in Hamburg, we’re adding the final touches to our next Onboard Tech Innovation supplement.

Our bi-annual supplement has been expanded to cover technology across every element of the passenger experience. Now going beyond entertainment and connectivity, we include technologies, company profiles, apps and hardware across retail, F&B, wellbeing, crew service, airports, design and innovation.

The AIX issue will focus on: Using tech to identify trends and enhance the passenger experience; Gaming onboard; Inflight retail; Inflight connectivity; enhanced dining experiences, and more.

There’s still time to get involved – view our media pack here.

We want to hear from you! Send your news and views to april.waterston@onboardhospitality.com.

Viasat partners with fuboTV

February 18, 2020

Viasat and fuboTV have announced a video streaming distribution and technology partnership to advance content delivery and consumption inflight.

The partnership is the first to leverage innovative technology standards from the global technical association, the Streaming Video Alliance (the Alliance), and apply them to inflight connectivity.

These standards enable airlines that sign-up for the Viasat/fuboTV partnership to make fuboTV’s live streaming premium over-the-top (OTT) and video on-demand (VOD) sports, entertainment and news programming available to all passengers – at no charge – on U.S. flights equipped with Viasat satellite internet.

As the first to implement the open caching specifications of the Streaming Video Alliance inflight, Viasat and fuboTV are using multicast techniques to deliver live OTT and VOD content at-scale. Specifically, the companies have implemented the Alliance’s specifications over Viasat’s network, to optimise video delivery of fuboTV’s live TV streaming service, including its free linear channel, fubo Sports Network.

Participating airlines that choose to take advantage of the Viasat/fuboTV technology partnership will be able to give its passengers free access to fubo Sports Network.

“We aim to lead the way in creating differentiated inflight, online entertainment experiences and digital OTT provides the features, convenience and choice that passengers love when they’re on the ground,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, commercial aviation, Viasat.

“We’re working with airlines to explore and develop new and innovative technology tools and business models that align with their brand and their interest in engaging more passengers with inflight wifi at the lowest cost. Our partnership with fuboTV uses state-of-the-art technology to leverage our bandwidth advantage even further to offer reliable, high quality OTT, live or on-demand, as efficiently as possible.”

viasat.com; fubo.tv

How Aviation X Lab aims to transform human mobility

February 18, 2020

Today’s aviation industry operates in a land of opportunities that are vast and require a radically different and innovative approach to fully capitalise on their potential. Aviation X Lab, an ambitious aviation-specific incubator which was unveiled last October, brings together some of the largest global pioneers, namely Emirates, Airbus, Collins Aerospace, GE Aviation and Thales, to address these challenges by championing moonshot-thinking, innovation and collaboration.

In partnership with Dubai Future Foundation, the programme has been launched to innovate and create the next era of aviation with its bold vision to positively impact the lives of one billion people. To find out more about the project, FTE spoke to Amna Al Redha, Project Lead of Aviation X Lab.

Aviation X Lab was launched in November last year in partnership between Emirates, Airbus, Collins Aerospace, GE Aviation, Thales and du as digital innovation partner. Can you please provide some more details on the initiative?

Amna Al Redha: “Aviation X Lab is a bold and ambitious aviation-specific incubator that brings together five global aviation giants: Emirates, Thales, Collins Aerospace, GE Aviation and Airbus. UAE telecom provider du is the Lab’s Digital Innovation Partner. Based in Area 2071 at the Emirates Towers, Aviation X Lab was founded in October 2017 with an MOU signed in the presence of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

In partnership with Dubai Future Foundation, Aviation X Lab aims to enhance the air travel experience, innovate and create the next era of aviation through a sustained programme of funding and collaboration with global players in the innovation ecosystem. Its vision is to impact one billion people through innovation.

The cycles of 12 months are split into five key phases: launching challenges; sourcing brightest minds, startups and corporates globally; validating concepts; conducting rapid feasibility; and funding. Through this journey, The Aviation X Lab offers hands-on support, logistics, research, resources, peer feedback, validation, mentorship, and close collaboration or co-creation.”

How are all of the partners working together to achieve this vision?

“The Aviation X Lab has a unique value proposition; it is the only platform that offers its participants direct access to five global aviation conglomerates. This access enables knowledge sharing, mentoring, validation and potentially co-creation. Our partners are directly and equally involved in all stages of the programme. We are open to all collaborations, and we are building a network from Academia, Research & Development, centres of excellence, startup hubs, incubators, accelerators, or any potential feeder that can help us solve our moonshots. Anyone is welcome to reach out to us.”

What is the biggest motivation behind the Aviation X Lab?

“Our goal is to innovate, co-create and positively impact over a billion individuals through our moonshots. We are not here to work on quick solutions, or incremental innovations – our focus is on the next radical idea that will transform the aviation industry.”

Are there any particular technologies or trends that you’re really looking out for at the moment?

“Anything and everything. We want to be as open as possible because the less boxes and restraints we have in our sourcing process, the more room there is for creative innovation. Our focus is on ideas rather than technology, because with the right idea the technology component becomes part of the conversation rather than the conversation. Our challenges are “Carbon Negative Aviation Industry” and “Airport to Airportals”, we are looking for the brightest and most radical ideas that can help us solve our moonshots. The topics chosen for this cycle are reflective of the aviation industry’s focus today, and where opportunity lies for tomorrow.

What would be your advice to startups and individuals that are thinking of applying to the Aviation X Lab?

“We are looking for thinkers, change makers, creators and innovators. We are looking for the brightest minds, the most innovative startups that are thinking about the next wave of innovations and if you believe you are that person with that idea we encourage you to apply.”

This article was originally published by Future Travel Experience


SWISS brings classic Swiss films onboard

February 11, 2020

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is now showing selected classic Swiss movies as part of its regular inflight entertainment.

SWISS further expanded its inflight film programme at the beginning of this month. In collaboration with the filmo online Swiss film catalogue, the airline now also offers six selected works that are of particular significance in the history of Swiss film. SWISS aims to promote awareness of and familiarity with Switzerland’s film heritage through the partnership, while also increasing its existing range of Swiss-themed inflight entertainment under the “Made in Switzerland” banner.

To kick off its new filmo partnership, SWISS is offering the following six films: San Gottardo (1977); Les petits fugues (1979); Reise der Hoffnung (1990); War Photographer (2001); Das Fräulein (2006), and Home (2008). The films will be available for a six-month period after which they will be succeeded by a new partnership selection.

swiss-inflightentertainment.com; filmo.ch

Panasonic Avionics to provide IFE on Kuwait Airways

February 11, 2020

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) will be providing inflight entertainment (IFE) for Kuwait Airways’ new fleet of eight Airbus A330-800neo aircraft.

Kuwait Airways will become the first airline in the world to operate the A330-800neo aircraft, starting in the second quarter of 2020 when it joins the airline’s existing fleet of Airbus A320 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft which are already equipped with Panasonic’s X series IFE experience.

The fleet will feature Panasonic’s full HD touch screens, touch video handsets, electronic device charging facilities, both universal and USB charging and more, together with comfortable seats and space.

Ken Sain, chief executive officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “As Kuwait Airways develops its long-haul network with the introduction of its new A330-800neo fleet, Panasonic Avionics is honoured to be their partner of choice in enhancing their inflight passenger experience.

“Our X Series inflight entertainment systems are the most-awarded in the industry and we are confident that the memorable inflight experiences they create will help Kuwait Airways further increase passenger engagement and loyalty.”


SkyLights’ Cinematic VR introduced onboard KiwiRail ferries

February 4, 2020

Passengers on KiwiRails’ Interislander ferry service in New Zealand can now access Cinematic VR entertainment onboard.

Furnished by immersive entertainment specialist SkyLights’, the VR cinema glasses provide customers with their own private movie theatre where they can enjoy the latest 2D and 3D blockbuster films as well as travel and relaxation content.

The service is available to passengers travelling on KiwiRails’ three Interislander ferries. It is available for free in the onboard Plus lounges and to rent elsewhere onboard for NZ$20 per adult and $15 per child.

Passengers will be able to choose from a catalogue featuring recent films as well as documentaries. There are also separate headsets with programming for children.

The decision to deploy this new type of entertainment follows the success of a two-month pilot program, in which 92% of passengers were either very satisfied or satisfied with the service and is a major milestone in Skylights strategy to expand beyond its origins in the airline industry.

“Waiting times, whether inflight or on a ship, offer an ideal opportunity to discover the unique and memorable entertainment experiences that VR has to offer. This industry-first is an exciting step forward in establishing premium immersive entertainment as a part of people’s daily lives,” said David Dicko, SkyLights’ CEO.


GX Aviation hits milestone with Air New Zealand

February 4, 2020

Inmarsat’s GX Aviation solution has now powered more than one million free inflight broadband sessions for Air New Zealand passengers.

The milestone was achieved approximately one year after Air New Zealand switched to a free-of-charge model for its inflight broadband service. GX Aviation is currently available on almost 25 aircraft within the Air New Zealand fleet, operating on Trans-Tasman, Pacific Island, US and London routes. This includes a combination of Boeing 777-200, 777-300 and 787-9 aircraft, in addition to Airbus A320 and A321 neos.

Chris Rogerson, Inmarsat Aviation’s regional vice president for Asia Pacific, said: “Air New Zealand is one of the airline industry’s biggest advocates of free inflight broadband. Whenever and wherever passengers fly with them, they will be offered unrestricted internet access at zero cost. It is a prime example of how this leading airline always seeks to delight and surprise their passengers.

“The fact that over one million sessions have been enjoyed by passengers since the free-of-charge model was introduced in December 2018 is testament to incredibly strong demand for high-speed, reliable and easy to access inflight broadband. It also underpins Inmarsat’s leadership in providing ‘gold standard’ aviation connectivity that empowers our airline customers to offer a world-class experience that meets the demands of today’s passengers.”

In addition to reaching the one million milestone, last December was Air New Zealand’s biggest month ever for free inflight wifi sessions, with more than 122,000 customers connecting.


Immfly investment from Boeing

February 4, 2020

Immfly has revealed that it received a strategic investment from Boeing Horizon X in late 2019.

“This investment will help further establish Immfly as the industry’s leading partner for pioneering cabin digitalisation and reinforce our ability to provide global services,” said Immfly executive chairman Jimmy Martinez von Korff.

“Boeing and Immfly share a common vision to continue growing the digital capabilities provided to airlines to enhance their onboard experience and develop new revenue streams.” 

“Boeing’s strategic investment in Immfly drives innovation across the entire passenger journey.” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director for Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Immfly’s digital cabin solution is fundamentally changing how airlines around the world are engaging with their passengers during flight.”

Boeing HorizonX, an innovation and venture organisation within Boeing, aims to discover, shape and accelerate the next generation of ‘game-changing’ ideas, products and markets through ventures investments in companies developing transformative technologies and business models, partnerships and trend discovery.

Immfly is one of just four companies outside the United States to join the Boeing HorizonX portfolio. The company will showcase its digital services in the Boeing HorizonX “What’s Next” booth at the Singapore Airshow this month.


SWISS unveils upgraded A340 fleet

January 29, 2020

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS ) has concluded the cabin refurbishment programme for its Airbus A340 aircraft fleet in mid-January. All five fleet members have now been provided with a totally new cabin and a new inflight entertainment system. As a result, SWISS now offers its passengers internet connectivity onboard throughout its long-haul fleet.

SWISS has newly equipped the cabins of its five Airbus A340 aircraft with the First, Business and Economy seats, which already feature on its Boeing 777s, together with a new inflight entertainment system that includes internet connectivity. Passengers also enjoy a new cabin lighting concept on the refurbished A340 fleet.

“With the completion of our Airbus A340 cabin refurbishment programme we are further underlining our quality commitment, and now offer all our customers the same premium air travel experience, including inflight internet connectivity, on all our long-haul flights,” says SWISS chief commercial officer Tamur Goudarzi Pour.


Amipak invests £1.5m in new technology

January 29, 2020

Amipak has recently invested £200,000 in a new Brausse folding and gluing machine from UK and Ireland agent ipack solutions for its growing range of carton packaging products for the food-to-go and out-of-home sectors.

The new Brausse Forza 1100 C6 machine is now fully operational at Amipak’s Croydon site, and is the latest investment in technology and modernisation of its production facilities totalling over £1.5m.

“Investment is critical to meet increasingly growing demand for more sustainable packaging solutions, with the flexibility to match fast moving food-to-go trends,” explains Amipak director of communications and sustainability, Daniel Schwitzer. “The carton packs we produce on this new improved line are often made from easily recyclable material and are pulpable or compostable in an industrial facility, which fits well with current consumer expectations.”

The new folder gluer machine brings the latest technology for faster running speeds, quick make-readies including memory positioning system for quick re-call and setting of repeat jobs.

“Fully operational from mid-January 2020, the new machine enables us to deliver the shorter lead times, with increased capacity, reliability and flexibility required to meet the fast-changing demands of this sector,” explains Daniel Schwitzer. “It is used to fold and glue trays and food packaging such as cake or food boxes, and in addition to reducing waste, creates the opportunity for Amipak to convert more glued products.”


AK-Service brings augmented reality onboard

January 21, 2020

AK-Service has gathered a team of professional mobile developers, Augmented Reality (AR) enthusiasts and artists to deliver next-generation amenity kits featuring modern mobile technologies and interactive media.

The team is currently developing a new augmented reality application for an undisclosed airline. Tech will be used to support gifting opportunities, for example AK-Service has constructed a collection of porcelain aircraft models to be given to Business passengers at the end of their journey. By using mobile apps can then learn more about the distinguishing features of the aircraft through AR, create an interactive collection and play an AR game with the model.

The team is also working on games and other entertainment for children using AR technology. Starting from simple 3D characters animations to the challenging and interesting logic games and educational content, the team has already developed and launched a few mobile apps with AR games for its amenity kits.


Gogo and Hispasat sign capacity deal

January 21, 2020

Gogo, a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, and Spanish satellite operator, Hispasat, have announced a capacity agreement on Amazonas Nexus satellite to meet the growing global demand for high-speed inflight connectivity services.

Gogo has leased multi-gigahertz of Ku-band capacity onboard Hispasat’s new satellite, set to launch in the second half of 2022, to provide service to its customers in the Americas and the Atlantic region. Hispasat and Gogo worked closely to optimise the satellite design to provide superior performance and capacity for inflight connectivity.

Amazonas Nexus is a High Throughput Satellite (HTS) that will replace the Amazonas 2 in the 61º West position. The new satellite will have a payload specifically dedicated to aero connectivity and will offer additional capacities oriented to vertical segments like mobile connectivity, corporate communications and cellular network deployment. It will feature an advanced Digital Transparent Processor (DTP) that will substantially increase satellite flexibility when dealing with changes in demand.

“Amazonas Nexus will significantly enhance our Ku network over the Americas and the Atlantic region, providing Gogo with scaled capacity at the right economics,” said Oakleigh Thorne, president and ceo of Gogo. “Through our partnership with Hispasat, Gogo 2Ku will continue to meet the growing demand for high-speed inflight connectivity.”


Air Canada continues to modernise fleet

January 21, 2020

Air Canada has unveiled the newest member of its fleet, the Airbus A220-300 complete with Panasonic inflight entertainment.

Every seat on the A220 features the Panasonic system with content available in 15 languages and featuring more than 1,000 hours of entertainment, including content from Bell Media’s entertainment service, Crave, and Montreal-based multi-platform audio service, Stingray. The system also offers dynamic closed captioning for the deaf and is accessible to the visually impaired. The A220 will also have satellite-based, high speed wifi access.

The two-class Airbus A220-300 cabin has 137 seats: 12 in a 2×2 configuration in Business and 125 in a 3×2 layout for Economy. Economy seats are the widest in the fleet at 19 inches, and also feature the largest overhead stowage bins for an aircraft this size.

Additional features include larger windows and full-colour LED ambient and customisable mood lighting that contribute to reducing fatigue while travelling.

The A220 will also help Air Canada reduce its carbon footprint through a 20% reduction in fuel consumption per seat.


Delta unveils consumer innovation

January 14, 2020

Delta CEO Ed Bastian announced several technology innovations rolling out this year and beyond at CES 2020. These innovations include transformation of the Fly Delta app, PARALLEL REALITY display screens, captivating entertainment options, full-body wearable exoskeletons and an AI machine learning operations platform.

In partnership with Misapplied Sciences, Delta will pilot the first-ever PARALLEL REALITY display experience, allowing many customers traversing the airport to see personalised content on a single screen simultaneously – and in their preferred language.

Delta is also partnering with Sarcos Robotics to test the world’s first full-body, self-powered and untethered wearable exoskeleton, Guardian XO, which is designed to enhance strength and endurance while reducing the risk of injury.

In the air, Delta’s in-house startup Delta Flight Products will test new IFE features allowing customers to take more control over their inflight experience, while emphasising gender parity. Furthermore, as part of its efforts to seek diversity and promote inclusion, Delta will partner with the Society of Women Engineers and Girls Who Code to increase gender representation in tech roles at the airline and in the STEM workforce.

In addition, Delta is investing in efforts that reverse the effects of deforestation in countries such as Kenya and Uganda to make all its flights to and from CES 2020 carbon neutral. The airline will also invest in verified projects to offset the carbon footprint of air travel associated with Global Citizen’s Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream campaign.


American Airlines tests Google’s interpreter

January 14, 2020

American Airlines has become the first airline to test Google Assistant’s interpreter mode technology in its airport lounges. The airline is testing the new technology at Admirals Club lounges at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
With the ability to translate in real-time, Google Assistant’s interpreter mode will help premium customer service representatives provide more personalised service to customers. Running on a Google Nest Hub, interpreter mode will be used to assist customers only when a multilingual team member is not available.
The device can translate 29 languages, including Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
“The science fiction universal translator is now science fact,” said Maya Leibman, chief information officer, American Airlines. “Incorporating technology like the Google Assistant’s interpreter mode will help us break down barriers, provide a worry-free travel experience and make travel more accessible to all.”
The Google Assistant is the latest in a raft of new technology enhancements American Airlines has introduced to enhance the passenger experience. Other recent introductions include mobile passport scanning, boarding notifications, online virtual 3D aircraft tours, a redesigned self-service kiosk menu that simplifies the check-in process and an improved family seating approach, which ensures adults and kids under 14 are seated together.


This article was originally published by Future Travel Experience

Surinam Airways installs Moment’s Flymingo Box

January 7, 2020

Moment has been selected by Surinam Airways (SLM) to integrate the Flymingo Box solution aboard the airline’s fleet.

Based in Suriname, in the city of Paramaribo, SLM operates as the country’s national carrier, and has flights to international destinations including the Netherlands, the Caribbean, Netherlands Antilles, United States, Guyana and Brazil. SLM was looking to offer its passengers a unique service in terms of entertainment and to optimise the travelling experience.

The Flymingo Box is a wireless inflight entertainment solution based on a patented portable server with the capacity to broadcast a catalogue of 10,000 hours of content to 100 passengers simultaneously. It enables passengers to access a smooth streaming service from any type of device, without the need to download an application. Passengers will be able to enjoy SLM’s DRM-protected content directly from the browser on their personal device.

Moment will also be responsible for the acquisition of content for Surinam Airways’ wireless IFE and Panasonic seat-back screens. As a result, passengers will access a varied catalogue of content including recent movies and television series, documentaries, cartoons, games and music playlists.

Radjesh Radjkoemar, ceo at SLM, says: “As an international airline, it was essential for us to differentiate our service by offering passengers an enjoyable entertainment solution that responds to their needs. Moment was the right partner since their solution Flymingo Box met all of our criteria in terms of reliability, installation, choice of content and price. ”


Gogo connectivity now available on Air Canada Rouge

January 7, 2020

High-speed satellite-based connectivity provided by Gogo is now available across the entire Air Canada Rouge fleet.

“Customers can access Rouge wifi high-speed internet connectivity on their own devices whenever they are onboard an Air Canada Rouge aircraft anywhere in the world, giving everyone the ability to stay connected to email, surf the web, or stream their favourite movies and TV shows from services like Netflix and YouTube,” says Andrew Yiu, vice president, product at Air Canada. “We are excited to now offer fast, reliable wifi options onboard all Rouge aircraft for the increasing numbers of customers seeking connectivity when flying.”

Customers can choose from a selection of wifi packages to suit their requirements with starting prices of $8.50 CAD simply by connecting to the “Rouge Wifi” network onboard and following the instructions.

In addition to the full Air Canada Rouge fleet, satellite based wifi is already available on all Air Canada Boeing 777s, and most Boeing 787s and Airbus A330s with the remainder to be completed early 2020. Air Canada wifi connectivity is also available across the carrier’s entire mainline narrow body fleet and the Air Canada Express Embraer 175 and Bombardier CRJ-900 fleets. Air Canada’s new Airbus A220 fleet, which it began taking delivery of at the end of 2019, will come equipped with satellite based wifi.


British Airways trials 3D printing

December 16, 2019

British Airways is exploring the possibility of using 3D printers to create aircraft parts. These printers would be located at airports around the world to reduce delays for customers and emissions caused by transporting items.

The airline’s innovators predict that non-essential cabin parts will be first on the list to be generated, including pieces of tray tables, entertainment systems and toilets. While these components do not impact the safe operation of the flight, they can reduce the number of seats or toilets available for customers and cause delays as engineers wait for the parts to be flown to wherever the aircraft is.

Ricardo Vidal, head of innovation at British Airways, says: “We work with start-ups and innovation partners from around the world to explore and implement the very latest technologies, from artificial intelligence to speed up turnaround times to biometrics, helping us to deliver a seamless airport experience for customers. 3D printing is yet another advancement that will keep us at the forefront of airline innovation.”

Printers can produce parts that are as strong and durable as traditional components but weigh up to 55% less. Every kilogram removed saves up to 25 tons of CO2 emissions during the lifespan of an aircraft.


Panasonic Avionics delivers XTS inflight connectivity

December 16, 2019

Panasonic Avionics Corporation has signed a multi-year agreement for Ku-band capacity on two multi-beam payloads on the EUTELSAT 10B satellite, due to be launched in 2022.

This contract with Eutelsat Communications will enable Panasonic to provide multiple gigahertz of new extreme throughput Ku-band connectivity to airlines and their passengers flying over a wide area across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Panasonic will continue to optimise its worldwide network and add more satellite capacity in high-density regions to ensure it can deliver high performance everywhere its customers fly. This satellite also provides high performance over lower density areas such as Africa.

Ken Sain, chief executive officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “Panasonic Avionics is continuing to invest in its Ku-band connectivity network. This contract with a long-standing partner such as Eutelsat, with whom we already work with globally, illustrates our strategy to constantly expand our worldwide network with additional capacity, to create value for our airline customers and satisfy the needs of their passengers. We have collaborated closely with Eutelsat on this satellite design and we are very excited to see these efforts come to fruition.”

Philippe Oliva, Eutelsat’s chief commercial officer, said: “We are delighted that Panasonic Avionics has selected us once again to further extend its resources. This capacity commitment on our upcoming EUTELSAT 10B satellite reflects the quality of coverage at our 10° East location as well as our focus on developing competitive solutions to meet growing inflight connectivity needs worldwide.”

EUTELSAT 10B will be the second XTS satellite to join Panasonic’s connectivity network. Today, approximately 2,200 aircraft flying routes all around the world use Panasonic’s global high-speed inflight connectivity service.


Moment launches entertainment platform for rail

December 9, 2019

Moment has announced the launch of its multimedia platform for railway companies to help them diversify their onboard offering and provide new services.

Based on wireless technology and operating without connectivity, Moment’s digital platform allows passengers to connect from their electronic devices, via browser or application, to a range of services.

The platform enables railway companies to personalise their offering, allowing travellers to access content (including films, series, music and travel information), in addition to enjoying offers proposed by the company, for example ordering meals onboard or booking a taxi upon arrival.

The platform has been designed as a digital touchpoint enabling railway companies to analyse passengers’ data, providing more personalised services onboard and maintain contact with them after the journey.

“With this new offering developed for the rail sector, we want to help railway companies meet the digital challenge and transform the perception of rail journeys, making them an exclusive and relaxing moment”, says Tanguy Morel, ceo and co-founder of Moment.

With its modular software, the entertainment platform can be easily adapted to the operator’s existing infrastructure.


Inflight VR brings award-winning content onboard

December 9, 2019

Inflight VR has teamed up with EMMY award-winning Immersive Entertainment company Felix & Paul Studios to bring four of their productions to airline passengers.

“We’ve taken audiences around the world in extraordinary settings; from the White House, to Eminem’s Detroit, to the plains of the Serengeti and the International Space Station,” says Félix Lajeunesse, Emmy-winning founder and creative director of Felix & Paul Studios.

“We’re excited to team up with Inflight VR to take airline passengers on a journey to some of the most immersive experiences available.”

The content collaboration between the two companies will start with Space Explorers 1: A New Dawn and Space Explorers 2: Taking Flight; Strangers, and The People’s House. 

“Seeing passengers onboard leaning back relaxed into their seats forgetting where they are, shouting out “Wow!” or even shedding tears of amazement after experiencing our product is the most rewarding part of our work,” says Nikolas Jaeger, co-founder and head of content at Inflight VR. “The collaboration with Felix & Paul Studios will take the immersiveness of the passenger experience we provide to our airline customers to another level and positively impact their net promoter score.”

Inflight VR’s engineering team has completed the adaptation of Felix & Paul Studios’ content to make it immediately available for all airline customers.

inflight-vr.com; felixandpaul.com

Successful launch of GX5 satellite for Inmarsat

December 4, 2019

Inmarsat has confirmed the successful launch of GX5, the fifth satellite in its Global Xpress (GX) network delivering GX Aviation and Jet ConneX (JX) inflight broadband services.

The satellite was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. It will bring additional, focused capacity over Europe and the Middle East to meet growing demand for high-speed passenger wifi in the airline and business aviation markets.

GX Aviation customers include Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, AirAsia and Singapore Airlines, while JX has been activated on more than 600 business jets.

Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “The successful launch of GX5 represents a pivotal moment in the development of GX Aviation and Jet ConneX. This next generation satellite will deliver more capacity to Europe and the Middle East than the combined entire existing GX fleet (GX1-GX4) does worldwide, ensuring that Inmarsat’s aviation customers remain at the cutting-edge of passenger connectivity technologies as their needs evolve.

“The launch of GX5 also marks the start of our ambitious development roadmap for the GX network, with seven additional satellites being launched in the coming four years. This will cement our ability to provide gold standard connectivity to the airline and business aviation markets, meeting fast-growing demand throughout the world for decades to come.”

The launch teams from Inmarsat and Thales Alenia Space will now deploy the satellite’s solar panels and antenna reflectors while raising its orbit to geostationary altitude (approximately 36,000km above the Earth). They will then carry out testing and calibration before the spacecraft enters commercial service.


Astronics collaborates in China

December 4, 2019

Astronics Corporation has announced a new cooperation with China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC).

The collaboration will create a channel for Astronics to provide Chinese airlines, OEMs and service providers with its inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) hardware and certification services, for compliance in China and the United States.

Michael Kuehn, president of Astronics connectivity systems and certification and Ruan Guang, chairman of CMC, signed the cooperation agreement at the Second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China.

“This agreement enables Astronics to serve Chinese aircraft enterprises with the world’s most advanced IFEC hardware technology and certification services, and strongly positions us in the fastest growing aerospace market in the world,” says Michael Kuehn.


GX Aviation now on Air France

November 26, 2019

Inmarsat has announced that its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution can now be accessed by passengers travelling on Air France’s new Airbus A350 aircraft.

Air France’s first Airbus A350, named ‘Toulouse’, was delivered with GX Aviation installed. The aircraft entered commercial service in October with an inaugural flight to Toronto, which it will serve daily throughout the winter season. The aircraft will eventually operate to six destinations on four continents from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Air France is one of the world’s most established and respected airlines and we are delighted to be playing a key role in enhancing their passenger experience with high-speed inflight broadband. This contract is testament to how well the ongoing successful development of GX has been received and strengthens our leading role in the European airline connectivity market.”

Catherine Villar, Air France senior vice president of customer experience, said: “Wifi is a service that is in high demand by our customers to stay in touch with their loved ones or work during their flight. Our Air France Connect pass offer, which includes a free messaging service, will be available throughout our fleet by 2020, perfectly meets their expectations by delivering much-anticipated seamless, reliable and high-speed broadband in the sky.”

GX Aviation is a key part of Air France’s Airbus A350 onboard experience in all three cabins – economy, premium economy and business. The airline offers three different wifi packages: a free ‘Message’ pass to send and receive messages throughout the flight; a ‘Surf’ pass costing to surf the internet, read and send emails; and a ‘Stream’ pass to enjoy high-speed internet, streaming and downloads, with the ‘Message’ and ‘Surf’ passes included.


Iberia launches facial recognition app

November 26, 2019

Iberia has unveiled a facial recognition pilot project at Iberia’s hub in Terminal 4 at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport.

Along with the Spanish airports and air traffic control authority Aena, IECISA, Gunnebo, and Thales companies, the project aims to improve customer experience at the airport by enabling customers to identify themselves at both general and fast-track security control and at the boarding gates with their biometric profile, eliminating the need to show travel documents.

The new system will be tested during a period lasting between six and twelve months with Iberia passengers bound for Asturias or Brussels, both destinations served with up to five daily Iberia flights. Travellers will be able to register via an app on their mobile devices, and also available on the kiosks placed at check-in counter 848 and in front of the security control area of T4. The facial recognition system is also installed at T4 boarding gates J40 and J58.

The app will ask each user to take a photograph of his or her photo ID, and then to take a brief “video selfie”, which allows system software to verify there is a good match between them. The biometric profile is then transmitted to the Aena database. Before the flight, customers will have to associate their boarding pass to Asturias or Brussels with its biometric profile, so that when they check-in online, the system will offer them the possibility of using facial recognition to go through security control and boarding gate.

Gabriel Perdiguero, Iberia’s chairman and ceo, commented: “Facial recognition and the recording of biometric profiles via our application are a part of our project of connected operations and will enable our customers to have a better experience in T4, which is the main reason behind Iberia’s commitment to innovation.”


Air Canada reveals new app

November 19, 2019

Air Canada has launched a next generation mobile app designed to deliver faster, more reliable performance and customer service.

New features include interactive airport maps with turn-by-turn directions for travellers, and the foundations of Air Canada’s new loyalty loyalty programme launching next year.

The interactive airport maps cover Toronto Pearson International Airport, Montreal Trudeau International Airport and Vancouver International Airport and can guide customers through flight connections, help them find gates, restaurants, facilities, and the closest Air Canada lounge, along with estimated walking times.

Other features include real-time upgrade/standby lists, inbound flight tracking, downloadable boarding passes and automatic flight notifications. Updates will rollout regularly.


SunExpress launches LEGO VR collaboration

November 19, 2019

SunExpress has unveiled a new virtual reality (VR) experience in collaboration with Inflight VR as part of a LEGO branding initiative.

The onboard experience consists of a branded cabin environment inside the VR experience, several LEGO City VR movies, and a magazine in each seat that folds out into a poster. The carrier has also unveiled LEGO-branded liveries.

Moritz Engler, founder and ceo of Inflight VR, says: “This collaboration will immerse passengers into some jaw-dropping or incredibly relaxing experiences and deepen their relationship with the brands of LEGO and SunExpress who truly care about them.”

Peter Glade, chief commercial officer at SunExpress, adds: “For SunExpress everything is about the flight and giving more choices to our passengers. Innovation is about pushing the envelope of the passenger experience and letting them explore technology and places they’ve never been exposed to. We love to partner with creative companies like LEGO and Inflight VR who help us make that happen.”

Inflight VR is also working with other airlines on similar projects, and is in dialogue with other major brands to utilise virtual reality technology and the airlines’ onboard products to create cross-marketing initiatives.


This article was originally published by Future Travel Experience