AirFi nears rollout completion on Eastern Airlines’ 767 fleet
May 5, 2021
Eastern Airlines is now offering a broad selection of inflight entertainment through AirFi and boutique CSP partner, West Entertainment.
The airline is just one tail away from having outfitted all ten of its B767 aircraft with AirFi’s FASE (Fully Autonomous Semi-Embedded) wireless IFE solution.
The airline sees this deployment as an important key to unlocking improved passenger experience, operational efficiency and revenue generation potential.
This successful installation effort, completed in Miami by AirFi America (MEKCO Group), marks the second North American deployment for AirFi.
“Eastern was looking for an onboard solution to both improve passenger experience and generate new cross-platform opportunities,” said Steve Harfst, CEO Eastern Airlines. “AirFi allows us the achieve both while also giving our customers a touch-less entertainment experience onboard. We strive to do everything possible to make traveling a safe and enjoyable experience.”
On their own personal devices, passengers can watch the latest Hollywood releases, award-winning classics and must-watch TV programs (comedy, drama, kids, documentaries, lifestyle). 90% of the content is also available in Spanish.
Eastern plans to install the AirFi solution its first two B777 aircraft and will soon use it to launch a new buy-on-board catalogue that passengers can use to browse, order and pay for food, beverage and comfort items right from their seats.
“Ancillary revenue is an important part of our strategy and allowing our team members to collect these fees and charges more effectively using AirFi will continue to be vital to our growth. Digitizing online sales significantly streamlines ancillary revenue,” commented Harfst.
To ensure that passengers can enjoy all the features of the AirFi system and still have full a full battery charge when they arrive at their destination, Eastern is also working with MEKCO Group to retrofit its aircraft with in-seat USB power solutions for charging electronic devices.
China Airlines appoint Stellar as new csp
April 28, 2021
China Airlines has chosen Stellar Entertainment as its new content service partner.
Since January 2021, Stellar Entertainment has been supplying Taiwan’s national carrier with a range of inflight entertainment services, including account management, curation and licensing of all film, television and audio content, production services and content delivery to the 62-aircraft fleet.
China Airlines will be managed by Stellar Entertainment’s teams in Malaysia and Singapore. Stellar’s director of commerce Stanley Ng said: “During these challenging times,
airlines look for stable partners with suitable expertise, and Stellar Entertainment can fill that role well, backed by almost five decades in the industry. We are honoured by the trust that China Airlines has placed in us and proud to service such a reputable airline. With this latest client, Stellar continues to strengthen its position as a leading CSP in Asia.”
In addition to managing the airline’s entire IFE requirements, Stellar will assist China Airlines in implementing the launch of their upcoming new IFE systems, by providing technical consultancy, establishing new timelines and processes,
aligning different content strategies to each system, and generally, ensuring a smooth integration with the rest of the fleet.
Wizz Air launches new chatbot
April 28, 2021
Wizz Air has announced the introduction of its new virtual assistant chatbot, Amelia, which will enable customers to easily acquire information related to their flights as well as providing useful, general information to the travelling public.
Inspired by Amelia Earhart, the American aviation pioneer who was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Wizz Air’s new chatbot aims to enable customers to find information quickly and easily, without having to interact with an agent via e-mail or over the phone.
Amelia will answer general questions related to COVID-19, special assistance, baggage, payment methods, check-in, voluntary cancellation, travelling with infants and WIZZ services. This new virtual assistant is free for all, and for any questions which exceed Amelia’s knowledge, a live chat with agents is also available and free.
The chatbot function is currently available in English language, and will be gradually rolled out to cover a continuously growing number of topics to more and more customers visiting wizzair.com.
Zsuzsa Poos, chief customer and marketing officer at Wizz Air, said: “I am delighted to introduce Amelia, our virtual assistant chatbot, who will really transform Wizz Air’s customer experience. We continue to invest in the technology to automate and digitalise our processes, in order to deliver high customer satisfaction. Wizz Air is dedicated to broadening Amelia’s expertise and to supporting our passengers with an expanding array of self-service options to answer travel questions and manage their flight details. Join me in welcoming Amelia onboard!”
Air Astana selects Media Carrier
April 21, 2021
Media Carrier has been selected to provide its digital media library, the Media Box, to Kazakhstan’s national airline Air Astana.
During a three-month test run, Air Astana was convinced of the functionality and the extensive digital content of the Media Box and confirmed the positive feedback by awarding the contract to Media Carrier.
“We are very pleased that Air Astana, another first-class airline, has placed its trust in us and has included our Media Box in their service offering,” said Philipp J. Jacke, managing director of Media Carrier GmbH.
“With digital tools like our media box, airlines can offer their passengers first-class service and added value, which is of great importance especially now during the Corona Pandemic,” Jacke continued.
Media Carrier is providing Air Astana extensive digital content – including a portfolio of international publications with renowned newspapers and magazines. The Media Box can be used with any Internet-capable device, no external apps need to be installed or additional registration is required.
Air Astana passengers will be able to access the digital content of the Media Box with various “touch points”, such as the website, a pre-flight e-mail, at mobile/web check-in and in the Air Astana App. Passengers can start reading their preferred media before their departure.
Around 1,000 newspapers and magazines are available for passengers to download free of charge, and other titles can also be downloaded for a fee.
“The use of digital media has taken on a new significance with Corona,” says Aigerim Zhambyl, project manager of Air Astana. “In particular, the hygiene aspect of each passenger using only their own mobile phone or tablet without contact has been a decisive argument for us to expand our range of digital services. Media Carrier’s Media Box convinced us with its functionality, digital content and user-friendliness”.
airBaltic issues first NFTs on OpenSea
April 21, 2021
airBaltic has become the world’s first airline to issue non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The airline has issued limited collector NFTs, showcasing an individual Airbus A220-300 with its registration as well as a piece of art of the Latvian city Kuldīga.
In honour of Latvia’s centenary, in 2018, airBaltic invited everyone to vote on their favourite towns and cities in Latvia, after which the company’s Airbus A220-300 fleet was named. Starting with Kuldīga, these cities will now one by one be represented on the digital art pieces issued by airBaltic.
airBaltic claims it is well known as the airline for innovation among global carriers. In 2014, airBaltic became the world’s first airline to accept Bitcoin payments for its flight tickets. Now, in cooperation with service provider BitPay, airBaltic accepts also other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash, Ether and Dogecoin among others for bookings made on its website.
The first airBaltic NFTs have been issued on OpenSea marketplace for a fixed price of 0.05 Ether. A total of 100 unique collectibles of the Edition 1 can now be purchased.
Japan Airlines trials CommonPass, VeriFLY and IATA Travel Pass
April 7, 2021
Japan Airlines (JAL) has announced that it will begin trials with three digital health credential apps – CommonPass, VeriFLY, and IATA Travel Pass – as it moves toward plans for adoption on international flights.
It aims to introduce and expand worldwide the health credential platforms, achieve a contactless and seamless check-in process, and expand applicable situations, including clearing health quarantine processes.
The JAL Group will continue to adopt and implement key safety measures, and the airline fully recognises the need to restore public confidence in air travel.
CommonPass will be trialled on two services, JL074 Haneda-Honolulu and JL711 Narita-Singapore. The trial will confirm the function of sending COVID-19 test results from Toho University Haneda Airport Terminal 3 Clinic (an approved COVID-19 testing facility by the State of Hawaii) to the CommonPass app.
VeriFLY is already in practical use for select U.S. routes. Customers can view/register/manage their own COVID-19 test results and other necessary documents required by the country of destination, prior to their journey. By reviewing the registered information, VeriFLY will display a ready to travel status, which enables the check-in process to become seamless.
JAL plans to implement VeriFLY for JAL-operated flights on Japan-North America routes in April 2021.
The IATA Travel Pass will be trialed on select international flights in May 2021.
By collaborating with various health credential platforms, JAL aims to provide a safe and secure travel experience for those with essential travel needs today.
JetBlue selects Panasonic Avionics for its inflight live sports offering
April 7, 2021
JetBlue announced today that it has selected Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) for its live sports inflight offering on the airline’s Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft.
This offering will expand JetBlue’s transatlantic inflight entertainment options to include a channel of live sports, Sport 24, with satellite-based streaming facilitated by the airline’s connectivity provider. JetBlue’s new fleet of Airbus A321LR aircraft due to be delivered from 2021 onwards, will be outfitted with the service.
Panasonic is the exclusive provider of Sport 24, the world’s first and only live inflight sports platform. It broadcasts 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, connecting airline passengers to over 16 hours of premium live content from over 30 different global sports leagues each day.
From 2021, JetBlue’s customers will be able to enjoy all the live action from the world’s top sporting events, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, all four Tennis Grand Slams, all four Golf Majors, the NRL, the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Bundesliga, and more.
Ken Sain, chief executive officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “We’re thrilled to be working with JetBlue to bring the world’s best sporting action to their passengers, live in-flight. This reinforces Panasonic’s ability to offer its services to any airline, on any infight connectivity provider. Together with JetBlue, we are making flying something that passengers can look forward to, again.”
Mariya Stoyanova, director of product development, JetBlue, said, “JetBlue’s commitment to our customers’ onboard experience is one we take extremely seriously. Installing this award-winning live sports platform on our new international fleet of A321LRs will ensure they remain entertained and connected at 30,000ft.”
Almost 1,000 aircraft across the globe are installed with Panasonic’s Live Television service, of which Sport 24 are an integral part.
Qatar Airways partners with PressReader
March 31, 2021
Qatar Airways has partnered with PressReader to offer passengers unlimited access to more than 6,000 global digital magazine and newspaper titles through its Oryx One inflight entertainment app.
Passengers can access titles by downloading the Oryx One app to their personal electronic devices (PEDs), inserting their Booking Reference Number (PNR) into the app’s ‘Newsstand’ and selecting the exclusively curated titles they wish to save. The service will be available up to three days before, and seven days after scheduled flights and the downloaded content will stay in a user’s digital library for as long as they have the app installed, helping to reduce newspaper and magazine waste, both on the ground and inflight, by over 1,000 tonnes each year.
In addition to this, passengers will not need to leave Oryx One or download any additional apps to access the content at any point.
Qatar Airways senior vice president, marketing & corporate communications, Ms. Salam Al Shawa, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer Qatar Airways passengers the convenience of accessing thousands of top name global magazine and newspaper titles in one safe, contactless and seamless digital experience without ever leaving the Oryx One app.
“In addition to this, by working together with PressReader, we have found the perfect digital solution to eliminate newspaper and magazine waste on the ground and inflight by more than 1,000 tonnes each year.”
PressReader group of companies chief executive officer, Mr. Alex Kroogman, said: “We are honoured to be chosen by Qatar Airways to bring quality journalism and a superior reading experience to its customers in a 100 per cent contactless way – pre, during and post-flight.”
FlightPath3D optimistic about market recovery
March 31, 2021
FlightPath3D has announced that during Q1/2021 its install base has surpassed 3,000 aircraft.
Duncan Jackson, FlightPath3D president, says: “We’re seeing absolute signs of recovery in flights and see good growth going forward through 2021. We’re optimistic about the market and expect to surpass 4,000 aircraft within a year.”
There is a sustained increase in air travel and aircraft returning to service. Geographic markets, domestic and international services, commercial and business sectors are all recovering, albeit at a different pace.
Jackson adds: “We’re seeing some of our customers in Asia and Oceania flying close to their 2019 passenger numbers for domestic flights. In addition, our North American airline customers seem to be on the verge of a rapid increase in travel demand.”
Boris Veksler, FlightPath3D CEO says: “We’re pleased to see 737 MAX deployments once again as they make their way back into revenue service. Our optimism is further amplified by the news around forward bookings from our airline customers and the growth we’re experiencing in the business aviation sector.”
In light of the pending rebound in travel demand, with people beginning to plan trips in numbers not seen for more than a year, FlightPath3D has been busy creating new applications that help passengers find flights, routes, and destinations based on personal profiles and experience desires.
Veksler says, “We’re excited to help airlines with their recovery with new apps to facilitate passenger interests to be matched to destinations, and flights or activities matched with traveler motivations. Our engineers are levering data science and large data sets to solve this.”
QuiverTree Media brings an art galley to the sky
March 23, 2021
QuiverTree Media has teamed up with ikonoTV, the world’s first art streaming platform, providing access to content from worldwide collections, archives, galleries and museums inflight.
The collaboration provides new access to the art world. Passengers are given the opportunity to quietly contemplate great works in a silent streaming format onboard from personal devices and also seat-back screens. The variety of works includes masterpieces such as The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, the Naked Maja from the Prado’s Goya Collection through to ancient gems such as the Nefertiti Bust dating back to c. 1345 B.C.
The concept of streaming Art in Silence enables passengers to immerse themselves in the works without the distraction of sound, commentary or any element which could interfere with the visual experience.
“Continuing to inspire guests onboard with fresh, remarkable experiences made possible with digital expertise is part of QuiverTree Media’s DNA. We are privileged to lead the transformation of the inflight content offering as a disruptive CSP and unlock exceptional new opportunities for airlines with technical innovation” says Guillem Gassó, VP commercial at QuiverTree Media.
QuiverTree Media and ikonoTV recently commenced the roll out of its content onboard several launch airlines including Iberia Express, Volotea, Air Nostrum, Pegasus and Sun Express. The offering coincides with the current closure of many museums and other cultural venues as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
Founded in 2011 by Elizabeth Markevitch, a curator with over 20 years of experience, ikonoTV showcases a collection of more than 500.000 works. “People can often be intimidated by art, concerned they may not understand it, when in fact, one only needs the opportunity to relax and feel in order to experience it and feel fulfilled.” notes Elizabeth Markevitch.
“Providing the world with opportunities to access artistic experiences daily, contributes to greater openness in an environment that can increasingly appear to be full of barriers.”
Panasonic Avionics to delivers retro games
March 23, 2021
Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) has selected BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, a leading Japanese multinational videogame publisher and developer, to strengthen its inflight entertainment gaming portfolio.
Panasonic Avionics has incorporated BANDAI NAMCO’s ever-popular, flagship games and will begin rolling them out to airlines and their passengers across the globe on its IFE solution.
Retro games are seeing a resurgence and BANDAI NAMCO has developed some of the most recognised games in pop culture history such as DIG DUG, PAC-MAN, and GALAGA. PAC-MAN is to date, one of the most iconic brands in gaming, and passengers will soon be able to enjoy it and other globally-recognised games on aircraft equipped with Panasonic’s IFE.
Ken Sain, chief executive officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “The gaming industry is one of the few that have seen significant growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This demonstrates the value global consumers place on games and their unique ability to take players on digital adventures and provide connections to different communities.”
Naoki Katashima, managing director of BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic that struck the world has greatly affected and changed our way of life. As the world comes together in overcoming the pandemic, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment has partnered with Panasonic Avionics to provide our universally acclaimed game content to be enjoyed inflight, with hope of the day to come when travellers are free to enjoy the skies again.”
Cathay Pacific pursues the adoption of digital travel passes
March 23, 2021
Cathay Pacific has completed its latest trial of CommonPass, designed to validate and refine the departure processes on its flight CX880 from Hong Kong to Los Angeles on 15 March 2021.
Cathay Pacific pilots and cabin crew volunteered for the trial, using the
CommonPass app and pre-departure rapid PCR test records to create a digital
pass that included their name, travel document number, and confirmation that their negative COVID-19 PCR test result was within the prescribed timeframe and conducted at accredited labs, as required by authorities.
Adoption of digital travel passes will make the pre-departure journey more seamless and stress-free for passengers in the post-COVID world, while also delivering a sustainable solution that will allow airport operations to scale up as travel resumes. In future, this verification process can also be used to support border control processes to help enable the safe reopening of borders.
Cathay Pacific has collaborated with the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), The Commons Project and Prenetics on the trial. This followed a previous successful trial conducted in October last year between Hong Kong and Singapore with the same partners. Cathay Pacific is also a member of the IATA
Travel Pass Advisory Group.
Singapore Airlines pilots IATA’s Travel Pass
March 17, 2021
Singapore Airlines (SIA) will be the world’s first airline to pilot the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass mobile application for digital health verification, starting with passengers travelling from Singapore to London from 15 to 28 March 2021.
This marks the second phase of SIA’s digital health verification process trials, which is based on the IATA Travel Pass framework.
Passengers with mobile phones running on Apple’s iOS operating system will be invited to download the IATA Travel Pass app, and create a digital ID comprising their profile photo and passport information. They can also insert their flight information into the app.
Subsequently, they can book their pre-departure Covid-19 test at one of seven participating clinics in Singapore via a dedicated online portal. They can then register at the clinic using the digital ID and flight information in the app. They will be able to view their test results, as well as confirmation status to fly, directly on the app. IATA’s Timatic registry will provide the back-end information on the Covid-19 testing and entry requirements.
Participants will need to show their confirmed status in the app to the check-in staff in Changi Airport before flight departure. In line with current regulatory requirements, they will also need to bring a physical copy of their health certificate that is issued by the clinic where they took their Covid-19 test.
By consolidating the verification of health credentials into a single app, participants can expect a faster and more seamless check-in process. Participants will have full control over how their personal information is shared, as the data is stored locally in the mobile phone and not in any central database. This is critical given the highly sensitive nature of health data.
If successful, the pilot will pave the way for the integration of the entire digital health verification process into the SingaporeAir mobile app from around mid-2021, again using IATA’s Travel Pass framework.
SIA will continue to work closely with its partners in Singapore and around the world in the facilitation of these trials, and towards the eventual restoration of a seamless travel experience for its customers.
JoAnn Tan, acting senior vice president marketing planning, Singapore Airlines, said: “The first phase of the trials helped to support SIA’s drive towards a secure and convenient industry standard for the verification of Covid-19 test results, and the health status of passengers including their vaccination status, in the future.
“That gives us the confidence that in the second phase, we can further streamline the verification process for eventual integration into SIA’s mobile application. This will help to provide a hassle-free digital solution for our customers in the new normal, and help to bring about a more seamless travel experience.”
Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president airport, passenger, cargo, and security said: “Our partnership with Singapore Airlines for the first full deployment of the IATA Travel Pass will help get the world flying again. In the immediate term, it is the solution for travellers to safely and securely manage their travel health credentials. In the longer term, the digital identity elements of the IATA Travel Pass will place Singapore Airlines passengers at the front of the queue for an even more convenient contactless travel experience.”
Corsair joins trial project for ICC AOKpass
March 10, 2021
Corsair International will pilot the ICC AOKpass application on its links between Paris and overseas.
The ICC AOKpass is the secure digital health certificate based on blockchain technology, launched by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International SOS/MedAire and SGS. With the app, passengers travelling from Paris to Pointe-à-Pitre (PTP), Fort de France (FDF), Reunion Island (RUN) and Mayotte (DZA) will now be able to securely authenticate the results of their Covid-19 test with their airline, while maintaining the confidentiality of their personal health data. The pilot will start the third week of March 2021.
Current regulations require travellers leaving for overseas destinations to carry out a Covid-19 PCR test, within 72 hours before their departure. With this pilot, passengers will be able to store and certify the results of their PCR tests on the mobile application, for verification at the airport. The verification of the authenticity of the tests is made possible by the blockchain technology on which the ICC AOKpass application is based, a decentralised and incorruptible storage technology. This technology is used to certify the validity of tests and their compliance with government regulations.
Julien Houdebine, sales and marketing director of Corsair, said: “It is essential for us to protect the health of our passengers, to guarantee the security of their information and to offer them a pleasant travel experience. ICC AOKpass addresses these three key challenges, and this pilot will benefit from the support of our trusted medical partner, MedAire. We are convinced that the deployment of these tests will be of great benefit to our customers by making the journey to the airport easier and faster.”
Bill Dolny, chairman and CEO of MedAire, a subsidiary of International SOS specialising in support for the aviation and maritime sectors, adds: “We are very pleased to be supporting Corsair with the pilot of ICC AOKpass and helping passengers to resume travel. The app, and the extensive network of laboratories that supports it, has already been used to process hundreds of health passes wih partner airlines and airports since September 2020. We look forward to working with Corsair to make this another successful implementation and step towards our collective industry goal to open the skies with safe travel once again.”
Etihad Airways and HUB71 sign MOU
March 10, 2021
Etihad Airways has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, to support the expansion of entrepreneurs innovating in Abu Dhabi.
Following the MOU signing, Etihad will become the official airline partner of Hub71 which will offer more than 100 global startups within its tech community special rates and access to a dedicated booking platform to simplify their travel needs.
Mohammad Al Bulooki chief operating officer of Etihad Aviation Group said: “Etihad is looking forward to collaborating with Hub71, a flagship initiative of Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme. Together, both entities will play a vital role in supporting the Emirate’s development by investing in business, innovation and people. The MOU will support the government’s efforts in diversifying the economy by rewarding businesses who choose to develop innovative technologies in Abu Dhabi.”
Through the partnership, Etihad will tap into Hub71’s community and global network of partners to engage with its startup founders and entrepreneurs to launch innovation-driven activities. The airline will also explore mentorship opportunities, workshops, and community events.
“Technology and innovation play a key role in supporting the restart of the aviation industry during the Covid pandemic. Etihad looks forward to working with Hub71’s global pool of innovators to actively source, support and enable the rapid trial and production of promising solutions for the aviation industry,” added Al Bulooki.
Hanan Al Yafei, chief executive officer of Hub71, said: “As the world prepares to open up, global connectivity will be vital for our growing community of startup founders to be in a position to export their innovative products and services to new markets. Our strategic partnership with Etihad Airways reflects the value we place in unlocking global opportunities from Abu Dhabi, and together we will help grow technology-driven businesses that can sustain the aviation industry with bold new ideas and innovations.”
Panasonic Avionics’ first XTS satellite goes live
February 17, 2021
Panasonic Avionics has announced a major evolution in its inflight connectivity offering as its first extreme high throughput satellite (XTS) enters service over the Asia-Pacific region.
The APSTAR-6D satellite is Panasonic Avionics’ latest investment in inflight connectivity for passengers on commercial aircraft. It is an integral part of its third-generation communications (Gen-3) network of high speed, high bandwidth Ku-band satellites, placing capacity where it is most needed to meet the growing needs of airlines and their passengers.
Panasonic Avionics is set to complete the upgrade of the 2,544 aircraft installed with its connectivity service to its Gen-3 network within the next month. Over 1,000 commercial aircraft are committed to being installed with its connectivity services and linked to the Gen-3 network from the outset.
Connectivity is integral to the success of Panasonic Avionics and enables a wide range of services to airlines and their passengers. In addition to inflight wifi, these include Live Television with the world’s only global live sports channels delivered in partnership with IMG, an integrated solution with OneMedia to deliver real-time ads, real-time transactions that open up a huge range of in-flight retail possibilities, and the ability to personalise the passenger experience through solutions such as Panasonic Avionics’ Companion App and much more.
Ken Sain, chief executive officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “Today is a milestone moment for Panasonic Avionics as we go live with the newest generation of in- flight connectivity. Our third-generation communications network delivers the targeted, flexible use of extreme high throughput capacity, ensuring we can meet the needs of our airline customers with cost-effective and reliable high bandwidth services well into the future.”
IdeaNova Technologies introduces Inplay Video Chat
February 10, 2021
IdeaNova Technologies has introduced Inplay Video Chat function to its IFE portal, allowing passengers to communicate with crew and watch inflight entertainment with friends and family – all whilst respecting safety guidelines that limit passenger movement around the cabin.
Inplay Video Chat is an extension of the text chat. With a click of a button, passengers can initiate video communication with their friends or crew, creating a friendly atmosphere interacting safely and digitally onboard – ensuring passengers can fly with confidence.
Inplay Video Party brings new functionality for the next generation of flying affecting how passengers not only interact with their entertainment options, but also each other. Together passengers can enjoy their favourite movies and TV shows, allowing for better engagement between friends and family while taking advantage of all IFE content onboard.
IdeaNova DRM infrastructure has gone through many changes driven by self-driven need for new features and better performance as well as by external changes imposed by vendors such as Google, Microsoft and Apple. Inplay Portal has recently been enhanced with Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) compliant advertising features giving airlines another revenue stream option.
“Our mission has always been to create beautiful products that enrich the passenger journey and that is no exception with Inplay Video Chat. This time, we are making it both enjoyable and safe” says Juraj Siska, IdeaNova CEO.
“Introducing this new functionality is exactly within airlines highest priorities – moving us forward towards safe travel again. The continued innovation in our airline industry will help us to exceed previous passenger experience and bring new innovation to the cabin. Together with the newly released ad serving functionality we provide a combination of safe and income generation features.”
Qatar Airways upgrades IFEC experience with Thales
February 10, 2021
Qatar Airways has announced that it is upgrading its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner fleet with the latest Thales AVANT IFE system, aiming to provide “the best inflight experience” to its passengers.
The upgrade includes the latest High Definition (HD), capacitive touch screen technology enabling passengers to seamlessly navigate the graphical user interface (GUI) using familiar gestures from their smartphone or tablet. The lightweight screens are two to three times brighter than the former technology, featuring more than 16 million colours for an enhanced viewing experience.
The AVANT system offers a large selection of features and applications with high capacity servers to store over a terabyte of media content including the latest HD movies, TV show episodes and music collections. Business class passengers will enjoy 17-inch Full HD touch screens, while the main cabin will feature the same high-quality experience with 12-inch smart displays.
Qatar Airways Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Salam Al Shawa, said: “As a leader of innovation within the global aviation industry, we are always looking for ways to further enrich our already exceptional 5-Star on board experience for passengers. With the latest in-flight technology, including lightweight screens, greater content storage and full HD touch screens, we are delighted to work with Thales in bringing the most advanced AVANT IFE system on board our Boeing 787-8 fleet.”
Thales has developed an upgrade programme to adapt the existing legacy system to incorporate new AVANT screens and servers into the existing seats and aircraft infrastructure. This turnkey approach includes delivery of full seat modification, hardware and all required certifications, as well as the ability to leverage media integration commonality across the Qatar Airways’ fleet equipped with AVANT.
Philippe Carette, Chief Executive Officer, Thales Inflyt Experience, commented: “Qatar Airways continues to be a leader in the recovery of the aviation industry, maintaining a paramount commitment to service and to the enrichment of the passenger journey. Together we have developed a turnkey upgrade program with a seamless customer experience and continued installation despite the crisis. With the AVANT IFE system, passengers on Qatar Airways Boeing B787-8 aircraft will enjoy a 5-star experience.”
This article was originally published by Future Travel Experience
British Airways trials VeriFLY
February 3, 2021
British Airways will begin trialling a new travel health app, VeriFLY, with customers who are eligible to travel between London and the US from February 4.
The new digital health travel passport, which can be downloaded to a mobile device, is designed to offer peace of mind before travel by checking customers meet the entry requirements of their destination by providing digital health document verification and confirming eligibility. Use of the VeriFLY app will be optional and customers will also continue to be able to evidence they meet the US entry requirements at check-in.
The trial follows the recent announcement that American Airlines now allows all customers to use VeriFLY when they are travelling to the US from all international destinations. Since American became the first airline to use VeriFLY in November for selected routes, thousands of customers have travelled using the app, with many providing positive feedback to the airline on its ease of use.
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ CEO said: “Although flying is currently restricted, it is essential we do as much as we can now to help those who are eligible to fly and prepare to help our customers navigate the complexities around changing global entry requirements when the world re-opens.
“We remain focused and committed to finding user-friendly, evidence-based solutions to make journeys as seamless they can be. Through these trials, we hope to provide travellers and governments on both sides of the Atlantic with the tools and the reassurance they need to make safe travel possible.”
VeriFLY will allow people to combine travel verification documents and Covid-19 test results in one place, ensuring travellers are fully compliant with the entry requirements for their destination before leaving home. Certified customers will be fast-tracked through the airport where specially designated desks will be available for check in.
VeriFLY can be downloaded to a customer’s mobile device. After creating a secure profile, the platform prompts customers to confirm their flight information, upload details of a negative Covid-19 test result and any other essential documentation. The software confirms the test matches the country’s regulations with a simple ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’ message.
FTS to provide inflight connectivity for MSFL
February 3, 2021
FTS, a provider of wireless Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions announced that it has signed a cooperation agreement with Minsheng Financial Leasing (“MSFL”) to provide an inflight highspeed connectivity solution for MSFL’s fleet of more than 300 aircraft.
The agreement was sealed in a signing ceremony held on December 11 2020 at the FTS headquarter in Beijing. By the end of 2019, China had a total fleet of 464 operational business jets, making the country the largest operator of business jets in Asia-Pacific. While the pandemic was wreaking havoc to the commercial aviation industry, the business jet charter market was thriving and carried on key functions such as medical, logistics and appeal especially to the VIP and corporate travel market.
MSFL claims to be the largest overall financial service provider of corporate jets in Asia, with more than 90% of China’s cooperate aircraft market share. It has partnerships with all major aircraft manufacturers like Gulfstream, Dassault, Bombardier, Embraer, Airbus, Boeing and its fleet of around 300 aircraft are serving in China, Asia Pacific region and other European countries.
FTS’s XStreamSAT Kaband satellite connectivity system has received CAAC, EASA and FAA STC certifications and was successfully launched on Qingdao Airlines A320 aircraft. Under this cooperation agreement, FTS and MSFL will collaborate to develop full-scale connected aircraft and digitalisation solutions for MSFL’s current and future corporate jet fleet. This project shall include (but not limited to): aircraft satellite broadband connectivity systems, inflight entertainment systems, smart cabin management, inflight IOT and ground operations platform.
IMG and Panasonic extend inflight partnership
January 27, 2021
IMG and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) have extended their agreement in a deal that will see the technology partner make Sport 24 – the world’s only live 24/7 sports channel for the inflight industry – available to all airlines worldwide.
Panasonic will exclusively market both Sport 24 and its sister channel Sport 24 Extra to airlines using other connectivity networks for the first time, enabling the service to be shown on any carrier featuring inflight entertainment.
Richard Wise, SVP, content and channels, IMG Media, said: “This latest agreement with Panasonic will bring Sport 24 to millions more passengers across more global airlines in the years ahead. This new deal also conveys the confidence both parties have in the recovery of the airline industry after the pandemic, especially now that vaccines are being rolled out around the world.”
Ken Sain, chief executive officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “Our long-standing relationship with IMG enables us to broadcast live sports coverage to passengers all over the world. Watching sport live in-flight creates unforgettable moments for passengers and we’re delighted to be able to exclusively provide this service to airlines, no matter which connectivity network they are using.”
Sport 24 is available on Panasonic’s market-leading live television service, which is broadcast via satellite. In 2021, Sport 24 will show live coverage of the world’s major sporting events, including the rescheduled UEFA Euro 2020, Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Ryder Cup, in addition to UEFA Champions League, Premier League, NBA, NFL, NHL, Tennis Grand Slams and Golf’s Majors.
IMG, which owns and operates Sport 24, launched the service in February 2012. Both Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra are produced from IMG’s production HQ at Stockley Park, near London’s Heathrow Airport.
New AI functionality by the WE by West platform
January 27, 2021
West Entertainment (West), a specialist inflight entertainment content service provider, has announced the new AI functionality of its platform WE by West, following its partnership with Qloo.
WE by West, West’s workflow engine, is a central platform offered to airline clients and key partners, where stakeholders can inform and manage all tasks due and accomplished, increasing efficiency while providing visibility and transparency on all steps of the process. Users can search content availabilities, watch trailers, read reviews and select the content from their phone, laptop or tablet, as well as track orders and access financials and reports for each programming cycle.
Following the partnership with Qloo and based on its 750 billion plus cultural correlations already mapped by its AI engine, WE by West will now also predict consumer tastes. For each title selected on the platform, WE by West will provide West’s airline clients with a number of recommendations for movies, TV shows and music, all based on the title initially selected. This, along with West’s Data and Analytics solution, will enable West to help its clients strengthen their customer satisfaction.
Malaysia Airlines launches new online shopping platform
January 20, 2021
As part of its Enrich frequent flyer programme, Malaysia Airlines has introduced a new online shopping platform called Enrich Shoppe.
Powered by RebateMango, Enrich Shoppe provides an easy and quick way for Enrich members in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines to earn Enrich Miles for purchases from over 500 famous e-commerce brands such as Tumi, Sephora, Michael Kors, Watsons, JD Sports, Uniqlo, Cotton On, and many more.
The airline says that the initiative adds significant value and provides convenience for Enrich members to instantly earn up to 10X Enrich Miles earned for every US$1 spent on the new shopping platform.
The acquired Enrich Miles can then be utilised to redeem flights, hotel stays via Enrich Hotels and Temptations’ inflight duty-free products, as well as a variety of lifestyle vouchers, exclusive dining vouchers or seat upgrades and Golden Lounge Access.
Malaysia Airlines’ Group Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer Lau Yin May said: “Online shopping has become the better alternative these days, especially now in light of the current restrictions and the second phase of the movement control order in Malaysia, hence we embarked on this collaboration with RebateMango to meet customers’ preferences. This partnership is a great opportunity for customers to enjoy a safe and seamless shopping experience with their favourite brands from the comfort of home and to be rewarded with Enrich Miles for the four million Enrich members when they shop with Enrich Shoppe. As we continue to provide more options and flexibility to earn Enrich Miles, we believe this latest addition will be rewarding for our members. If you are not a member yet, sign up as Enrich member now which is absolutely free of charge to start enjoying many exclusive benefits by Enrich!”
Paul Koh, co-founder of RebateMango, added: “Once again, we are able to integrate a valuable partner in the rewards space and enhance their offering to members in a cost-effective and non-tech-heavy way. We are delighted to launch with Malaysia Airlines and look forward to their members being able to earn more Enrich Miles whenever they shop online!”
RebateMango has already seen success in its standalone B2C platform, which is currently live in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines, with plans to expand further. Members of the RebateMango platform can choose from a choice of rewards such as cashback, air miles and points from some of the most popular brands.
This article was originally published by Future Travel Experience
Ricochet Digital Media partners with West Entertainment
January 20, 2021
West Entertainment has been chosen by Ricochet Digital Media (Ricochet) to supply technical services for airline and maritime markets.
Ricochet is an independent film distribution company for both airlines and cruise ships, formed by industry experts Delisa Hudson and Jason Szymanski.
Ricochet’s first new release title is Chick Fight, available for April bookings. The company also has a vast library of great Classic titles that have been acquired from Jaguar Distribution.
West will provide technical services including digital asset management, mastering, audio and video editing, language localization and origination services, encoding and transcoding for all IFE and maritime deliverables.
Delisa Hudson, partner at Ricochet states: “Ricochet Digital Media is looking forward to bringing quality content to the travel industry, in the form of new release titles or the Jaguar film library. I’ve known the team at West for a long time. They are highly qualified industry experts and have a state-of-the-art lab which combined with their exceptional service and on time delivery meets our needs perfectly.”
Shafin Virji, VP labs at West says: “We are excited to service Ricochet’s non-theatrical post-production lab requirements. West is the lab of choice for independent distributors, based on our understanding of their sales strategy and their needs for technical proficiency, flexibility and on-time delivery.”
European Aviation Network reaches 250 aircraft
January 20, 2021
The European Aviation Network can now be accessed by passengers on more than 250 aircraft, highlighting its accelerated rollout since entering commercial service.
The connectivity solution has been available to over 20 million passengers to date, travelling on more than 200,000 flights throughout Europe, covering key destinations such as London, Madrid, Barcelona, Geneva and Rome. It is currently available with British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, which are all part of International Airlines Group (IAG).
EAN has been developed by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom, in partnership with leading European companies such as Thales, Nokia, Airbus, Cobham and Eclipse Technics.
Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “EAN has transformed the inflight broadband market in Europe, offering unprecedented performance that has been truly embraced by airlines and their passengers. Usage has consistently increased since it entered commercial service and EAN experienced record data traffic in the summer and autumn months last year, reflecting an even stronger desire to stay connected amongst passengers flying during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“An important factor in crossing more than 250 aircraft activations, including British Airways’ entire short-haul fleet, has been the record-breaking installation time we have achieved with EAN – less than nine hours per aircraft. This will ensure a smooth rollout on remaining IAG aircraft and we’re excited that even more passengers will soon have access to the industry’s best-in-class inflight connectivity, providing the same quality of broadband that people expect on the ground, from the comfort of their cabin.”
Airbus signs multi-satellite contract with Intelsat
January 13, 2021
Airbus has signed a contract with Intelsat to build two OneSat satellites operating in multiple frequency bands for Intelsat’s next-generation software-defined network. The contract was signed on December 31 2020.
The satellites will be based on Airbus’ OneSat product line, the latest generation of fully flexible, in orbit reconfigurable, Software Defined Satellites (SDS).
Airbus will deliver an end-to-end fully integrated solution, including design and manufacture of the satellites. The ground segment software components, when fully integrated into Intelsat’s next-generation software defined network ecosystem and advanced digital suite will allow dynamic operation of end-to-end satellite resources. The two next generation SD satellites will be delivered in 2023.
Jean-Marc Nasr, head of Airbus Space Systems, said: “This important contract with our long-standing and valued partner Intelsat, has a special significance for Airbus. With six satellites now in production – plus options – for three major operators, OneSat has proven that when it comes to fully reconfigurable satellites, Airbus is the winning choice. Our new industrial capabilities put in place at our sites across Europe, together with our solid experience in Eurostar geostationary satellites and mega-constellation manufacturing, will enable production of our truly disruptive OneSats at an unrivalled pace.”
The Airbus Software Defined satellites will deliver powerful performance for Intelsat customers across multiple geographic regions. This agreement also marks the beginning of a radical evolution of Intelsat’s network; Intelsat is pursuing an aggressive, multi-year network transformation plan with investments in new assets that are designed for extremely high speeds, enhanced capacity flexibility, redundancy and backwards compatibility.
Intelsat chief executive officer Stephen Spengler said: “Intelsat’s investment in Airbus software defined satellites marks an important first step in evolving the world’s largest, most resilient, integrated space and ground network. Intelsat’s next-generation software-defined network will be the catalyst for our growth, enabling future Gogo Commercial Aviation inflight broadband services, as well as other managed services across Intelsat’s customer segments.”
ThinKom completes successful over-the-air tests
January 13, 2021
ThinKom Solutions recently completed successful over-the-air tests of a pair of 17-inch active diameter K/Q-band phased-array antennas communicating through an Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite.
The tests verified that the antenna, based on ThinKom’s patented Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub (VICTS) architecture, meets or exceeds all performance metrics for operating effectively with the frequency-hopping waveform of the AEHF protected communications satellite network.
A broad range of uplink and downlink communication plans and modes were tested on an operational K/Q-band satellite, exercising full 1 GHz and 2GHz “hopped” bandwidths. The VICTS antennas successfully acquired, tracked, logged on and joined downlink and uplink services in all cases at elevation angles from 24 to 73 degrees.
“The stabilized beam of the VICTS antenna eliminates the need for ‘de-hopping,’ requiring substantially less processing power than electronically steered antennas and given that VICTS is the only phased-array technology that can work with very widespread waveforms, it uniquely enables use on new communication waveforms such as the Protected Tactical Waveform,” said Bill Milroy, chairman and CTO of ThinKom Solutions.
The conformal flat-panel VICTS phased-array antennas can be cavity mounted on a variety of aero, naval and land-mobile platforms, according to Milroy.
The constellation of six AEHF satellites provides secure, survivable, jam-resistant and near-worldwide satellite communications for U.S. sea, ground and air assets.
Smartvel adds Covid entry restrictions to its content solution
January 6, 2021
Smartvel, a B2B SaaS tech company specialised in destination content solutions for the travel industry, has retrained its AI technology to gather Entry Restrictions to travel due to the pandemic.
This can help companies give their travellers peace of mind about regulations, something crucial to restore confidence to travel.
Smartvel’s AI gathers the latest information from reliable sources, official websites and institutions such as IATA Timatic, and enhances the content by adding more information from Government sites and other official bodies.
It checks and validates all the sources of information within the system every hour in order to ensure everything is updated, resulting in more than 5000 checks daily.
It also offers a Covid-19 Safety Index, allowing passengers to check how affected a certain country or region is in a heat map. It provides a comprehensive ratio with total new daily cases in the last 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants, and a projection using R0 ratio and different levels of confidence for the next 5, 10 and 20 days with a SEIRS model.
Customers are able to decide which regions or destinations to include.
Etihad Airways partners with PressReader
December 16, 2020
Etihad Airways has partnered with PressReader, an all-you-can-consume digital newspaper and magazine platform.
The new partnership brings global content to Etihad’s international passengers wherever they fly worldwide. Access will open to guests 30 hours before flight time, unlocking more than 7,000 newspapers and magazines from 120 countries in over 60 languages.
Through PressReader’s digital platform, passengers also access features such as offline reading, audio listening, and translation of publications into 21 languages for those travellers who wish to read in their dialect of choice (including Arabic).
“As part of our commitment to reducing the spread of COVID-19, we removed high-touch surfaces including printed newspapers and magazines from the customer journey and enhanced the experience by partnering with PressReader,” notes Terry Daly, executive director guest experience, brand & marketing, Etihad Aviation Group.
“To encourage a contactless experience, this new partnership gives our guests choice and convenience to download as many digital publications as they would like, before their flight, to read at home, across our lounges, at the airport, or during their flight.”
A strong commitment to the customer experience and sustainability brought Etihad to PressReader from a previous digital platform. The switch was motivated by Etihad’s wish to offer the widest selection of choice and best reading experience to their passengers while moving to 100% digital.
“We’re thrilled to bring quality publications to Etihad travellers wherever their journey takes them,” notes Alex Kroogman, CEO, PressReader Group of Companies. “With the largest selection of publications globally to choose from, we’re personalising the guest experience with relevant content. With our solution, that’s possible not just inflight, but also before and after, in the safest possible way.”
West Entertainment collaborates with Qloo on Jetset AI
December 16, 2020
West Entertainment has formed a partnership with Qloo, a leading cultural AI company to provide the airline industry with Jetset AI, bringing intelligence around content and passenger preferences.
This will enable West to empower airline clients with a variety of new revenue generating initiatives while strengthening customer satisfaction scores.
Qloo’s AI has mapped over 750 billion cultural correlations across a catalogue of more than 150 million cultural entities and over 4 billion individual opinions.
The AI partnership and machine learning solution will predict consumer tastes across over a dozen major categories, including music, film, television, podcasts, dining, nightlife, fashion, consumer products, books and travel. Jetset AI will offer completely anonymised insights and recommendations adhering to the strictest regulatory standards in data processing.
The solution will enable airlines to build a 360-degree view of its passengers, opening up new brand partnerships, and through deeper engagement, offer personalisation such as trip planning and destination recommendations.
AERQ and JOLED collaborate
December 16, 2020
JOLED Inc, an OLED expert and manufacturer of 4K OLED by printing technology, and AERQ, a promoter of digital transformation for aircraft cabins, have announced a collaboration aiming to integrate medium-sized OLED displays in aircraft cabins.
AERQ is a joint venture between LG Electronics and Lufthansa Technik, founded in 2019 with the aim to make airlines the playmaker of their digitalised cabin experience by introducing innovative technologies to the aviation industry. It provides a digital ecosystem for aircraft cabins that consists of an open IT platform, in seat system, and Cabin Digital Signage. By leveraging LG Electronics’ knowledge in display technologies, AERQ is aiming to utilise OLED displays in aircraft cabins.
AERQ has demonstrated its Welcome Board, is working on ceiling panels using large OLED displays, and has also revealed a concept for a class-divider using transparent displays – all part of AERQ’s Cabin Digital Signage.
JOLED specialises in R&D and production of medium-sized OLED displays. With a view to start shipping soon from a new mass production plant, JOLED is working to expand its display applications and exploit the aircraft cabin displays as one of the most interesting applications.
In the collaboration, JOLED and AERQ will work together to deliver the benefits of OLED displays and integrate them as a new standard to the aircraft industry through presenting a variety of touch points utilising medium-sized OLED displays such as Cabin Digital Signage and an inseat system.
Sang Soo Lee, managing director at AERQ says: “OLED displays have the potential to change the conventional concept of cabin displays, and we have been working to bring this innovative display technology on board to the aircraft in a variety of ways. By the collaboration with JOLED, we are completing our OLED line up by adding mid-sized displays from JOLED on top of our existing portfolios that are 55″ and 65” from LG Electronics.”
ACE Flight 2780 Auxiliary Modem Unit from Kontron
December 16, 2020
Kontron has announced the addition of the ACE Flight 2780 Auxiliary Modem Unit to its ACE Flight product line.
The Auxiliary Modem Unit (AMU) is based on a new evolution of the ARINC 791 and 792 Ku/Ka Band Satellite Communication System standard, which is planned for approval in early 2021. The AMU provides commercial and business aviation customers with the ability to experience global connectivity coverage and cost optimised network service in a very small 2MCU form factor. The AMU standard allows scaling from a single modem connectivity solution up to a multi-modem system, which enables roaming between multiple global networks.
The ACE Flight 2780 AMU extends the portfolio of inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions and is available now with an integrated SATCOM modem card which supports high throughput aircraft connectivity to many networks around the world. Additional modem card types are planned in upcoming variants of the Kontron AMU product. The ACE Flight 2780 AMU initial release supports AC aircraft input power and FAA PMA approval for this version is expected in February 2021. Other configurations are planned, including a 28V DC aircraft input power version to support business and regional jet requirements.
“We are excited to be first-to-market with our 2MCU ACE Flight 2780 AMU which provides the aviation industry with the smallest form factor auxiliary modem solution.”, says RJ McLaren, avionics system product manager for Kontron. “We have extensive experience in packaging SATCOM modems from different suppliers into compact ruggedized systems for all types of mobile airborne platforms – from commercial airliners to business jets to helicopters to UAVs.”
Kontron has been closely involved with the ARINC subcommittee working group in the development of the AMU standard. Using an open architecture, standards-based approach means that AMU system configurations will have a long lifetime and can be adapted as new modem technologies become available.
Etihad joins UK digital aviation research project
December 9, 2020
Etihad Airways has joined the £65 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) consortium, due to open next year at Cranfield University in the UK.
As the first airline to join the DARTeC consortium, Etihad states its expertise across the fundamental fields of sustainability, operational efficiency, safety and improved passenger experience will lend valuable insight and real-world operational capability to the DARTeC initiative.
Specific topics Etihad and DARTeC will collaborate on include: reducing aircraft emissions both in the air and on the ground; creating safe, secure and efficient airspace; better understanding of whole-life sustainability impacts of aircraft; enhancing the passenger experience, and increasing the reliability and availability of aircraft.
Professor Graham Braithwaite, project lead and director of transport systems at Cranfield, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Etihad to the DARTeC project, with construction of our building now nearing completion at Cranfield’s global research airport. As an innovative airline focused on the future challenges of safety, efficiency and sustainability, there is much overlap between Etihad’s aims and the research themes of DARTeC. We look forward to working together to deliver the innovation required to enable the industry to ‘build back better’ from COVID-19.”
Mohammad Al Bulooki, chief operating officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad has long been known as a leader for innovation in aviation and our role in the consortium reinforces our commitment to driving the industry forward through technology, and corporation.
“As an innovative, future-focused carrier, membership of DARTeC is a natural fit for Etihad, providing a unique opportunity to expand exploration of key topics across sustainability, safety and passenger experience with industry leading partners.”
Researchers attached to DARTeC are already working with industry on projects to reimagine what airports and airlines look like post-COVID-19, and driving forward innovations in digital airspace and airport infrastructure that will help the UK reach its target of net zero carbon emissions.
Etihad Airways joins Aveillant, Blue Bear Systems Research, Boeing, BOXARR, the Connected Places Catapult, Cranfield University, Inmarsat, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the IVHM Centre, Saab, the Satellite Applications Catapult and Thales in the consortium which has also received co-investment support from Research England.