Onboard tech news

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

Vueling debuts high speed wifi

October 30, 2019

Vueling has become the first European low-cost carrier to debut fast inflight broadband through The European Aviation Network (EAN).

The airline has commenced a soft launch of the service on five initial short-haul aircraft. The rollout will continue over the coming months with installations expected to be completed on its fleet of more than 110 Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft by early next year.

Passengers purchasing wifi on Vueling flights will have access to a full range of packages, including ‘Fly and Chat’ for messaging, ‘Fly and Surf’ for browsing and ‘Fly and More’ for streaming.

EAN’s integrated system delivers consistent wifi that enables passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media, enjoy real-time interactive applications such as gaming, and more.
Vueling is the third airline to make the connectivity solution available to passengers. In total, EAN can now be accessed on more than 250 routes covering key destinations across Europe.

Developed by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom (DT) in partnership with leading European companies such as Thales, Nokia, Airbus, Cobham and EAD Aerospace, EAN marks a paradigm shift in the airline passenger experience.


Film Festival takes flight

October 30, 2019

SWISS is to supplement its regular inflight entertainment programme with the “Flying Film Festival” onboard its long-haul flights.

The Festival, running from the beginning of November to the end of December, will feature 13 varied short documentaries by young filmmakers from all over the world.

The Flying Film Festival is a collaboration between SWISS and the Fribourg-based, Le Système D association, and was first staged in 2015, being repeated every other year since.

The Festival is designed to support and promote innovative young directors of short documentary and docu-animation. This year’s selection includes short documentary films from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia. Details of the programme and the films’ directors can be found at swiss-inflightentertainment.com


Wireless charging from Astronics

October 30, 2019

Astronics Corporation, a provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defence, and other mission critical industries, is now offering new wireless charging module (WCM) to business aircraft and rotorcraft markets.

Astronics’ WCM provides wireless charging capability for passenger smart phones and other devices, and positioned as ideal for both forward fit and aftermarket retrofit.

The new wireless charging module has already been adopted by some seat manufacturers to provide fast, safe charging for passenger electronic devices (PEDs) including smartphones. The WCM integrates into the aircraft cabin with options to fit it in passenger seats, furniture, or galleys, and provides quick charging of Qi-enabled wireless devices.

Astronics’ EmPower in-seat power is already used by 280 airlines and business aircraft OEMs and the new wireless charging module represents a way to provide the convenience of wireless charging easily.

The 15 watt charger is Qi certified and compatible with the most popular mobile devices. Astronics’ WCM is the only Qi-certified wireless charging module available for aircraft, and it is already linefit offerable by both Airbus and Boeing. Qi certification ensures safety through testing as well as device compatibility.


EGYPTAIR partners with AeroMobile

October 30, 2019

EGYPTAIR has launched mobile connectivity onboard its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, in partnership with Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, AeroMobile

The move sees the deployment of mobile and internet connectivity across the carrier’s entire fleet of Dreamliner aircraft. In addition to the onboard wifi and a live TV service, passengers will be able to access the AeroMobile network to connect their roaming-enabled GSM mobile phones to use mobile data services, send and receive SMS messages and emails, and make and receive calls.

The roll-out will be complete by the end of autumn 2019.

Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile, Panasonic Avionics, says: “EGYPTAIR has reached an exciting milestone through developing mobile connectivity to its passengers with seamless connectivity in most of the flight. The airline joins our ever-growing connected fleet enabling inflight mobile connectivity to become more accessible to travelers than ever before. We look forward to continue working with the team to provide a great passenger experience.”


Cathay Pacific increases selection of inflight entertainment

October 21, 2019

The Cathay Pacific Group is quadrupling its amount of inflight entertainment available to passengers.

Travellers can now expect to see more new-release movies, more complete boxsets and more sports coverage, as well as more Asian content. The increased content means customers could fly non-stop around the world 45 times and never have to watch the same thing twice.

The airline has partnered with channel Sport 24 to offer customers flying on Airbus A350 aircrafts live coverage sporting events from around the world. Passengers can catch the Rugby World Cup Finals live this month, and next year live coverage of the Tokyo Olympics and the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens will be shown.

The move also makes Cathay Pacific one of the first airlines to offer multi-season boxsets, meaning passengers can binge-watch series, starting with the pilot episode all the way to the finale. Its large library of Asian content includes HD movies, TV collections and worldwide exclusive titles.

Passengers can also explore specially curated collections compiled by renowned celebrities and entertainment experts.


AeroMobile partners with TrueMove Thailand

October 21, 2019

Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, AeroMobile, and telecommunications operator TrueMove Thailand, have partnered to launch an inflight data roaming bundle.

Customers who subscribe to the inflight service will be able to use their mobile phones to browse the internet, send and receive emails, texts and calls and stay in touch with friends on social networks, whilst travelling on AeroMobile-equipped aircraft.

Parinthon Tansuthepverawong, general manager of True Corporation, says: “Our customers expect a high-quality user experience, and through our partnership with AeroMobile we are now able to offer valued inflight roaming service at an attractive price.”

Kevin Rogers, ceo AeroMobile, adds: “With the new inflight roaming bundle, TrueMove’s customers no longer need to worry about continuing to communicate whilst travelling. This new market-leading package shows a continued commitment to providing the very best service to customers.”

The service is currently available to post-paid customers that purchase the inflight bundle and will enable TrueMove Thailand’s customers to enjoy more value and convenience when travelling.


Vision-Box to present Seamless Flow at FTE-APEX Asia 2019

October 21, 2019

At FTE-APEX Asia 2019, Vision-Box will present a multi-stakeholder One-ID ready platform enabler of the digitalisation of passenger experience and of frictionless journeys.

Seamless Flow orchestrates a trusted digital identity ecosystem that allows for a seamless, contactless and on-the-move passenger walkthrough. It proposes an identity management model, where passenger identity is vetted and enrolled at an initial stage, i.e. at home or at check-in, and no further lengthy verifications are required. The passenger moves to the boarding gate without the need to show passport or boarding pass or stop for identity checks.

A glance at a camera is enough to gain access to airside, clear the border, access the lounge, make purchases at airport boutiques, and finally board on time. Any process, whether crossing security, border control or boarding, is contactless, on-the-move and can deliver a personalised experience. Passengers take full control of their journey, using their biometrics features to clear checkpoints, book services, shop and receive personalised information.

Vision-Box’s line of seamless interaction points is ready: self-service, on-the-go, with minimum environmental footprint, One-ID ready, IoT-enabled, using biometrics and mobileID for speedy on-the-move transactions. Orchestra, the passenger-centric 4.0 Common-Use-compliant Services Platform, interconnects all IoT-enabled devices and integrates multiple data sources, including bookings, API/PNR, passenger profiles, check-in, baggage, etc. into a fully-connected multi-stakeholder collaborative ecosystem. It delivers value in real-time operations control, business intelligence, sustained by Privacy-by-Design.

Vision-Box will present Seamless Flow at FTE-APEX Asia 2019 at booth A19.


Vietnam Airlines launches inflight wifi

October 15, 2019

Vietnam Airlines passengers flying the airline’s Airbus A350 are now being offered wifi internet inflight.

Available on routes between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai, Osaka as well as between Ho Chi Minh City and Osaka, Singapore. The airline will continue its research to develop this service on Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 with better speed and accessibility.

“With the goal of becoming a digital airline, Vietnam Airlines continues to take the lead in adopting information technology to bring customers added service,” says Le Hong Ha, executive vice president of Vietnam Airlines. “By providing the first inflight wifi service in Vietnam, we hope to bring passengers a brand-new experience and convenience by allowing internet usage during the flight.”

With prices ranging from $2.95-$29.95 USD, Vietnam Airlines passengers can choose their package based on their desired usage length and data capacity (up to 80MB). Passengers make their selection and pay online via Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, or Diners Club credit cards once the aircraft completes its ascent. The registered package is valid until the end of the journey and can be used on a variety of device platforms but cannot be used on multiple devices at the same.

To help passengers to identify flights equipped with wifi service, Vietnam Airlines will notify passengers at the check-in counters, through signage at the aircraft gate, and also through inflight announcements.


First ever inflight internet for China

October 15, 2019

Lufthansa Technik has increased its market presence for connectivity modifications in Asia by signing an agreement with Chinese service provider Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd.

This will help in providing aircraft with the first ever inflight connectivity solution for the Chinese market. Further contract partners include Honeywell (antenna hardware provider) and China Satcom (satellite provider).

According to a new five-year agreement, Lufthansa Technik will design and certify Ka-band-based connectivity retrofit packages for both the Airbus A320ceo and A320neo aircraft families as well as the Boeing 737NG and 737MAX. The company will also work with Air Esurfing Information Technology Co., Ltd. to provide the respective CAAC validated EASA Supplemental Type Certificate (VSTC) to support Chinese airlines. Moreover, Lufthansa Technik will take care of material supply and material handling services for the installation of the packages, which can be tailored to each of Air Esurfing’s airline customers and their specific requirements.

“As an inflight solution provider on connectivity, the company’s strategic cooperation with Lufthansa Technik signals a new chapter in our history, as we take a big step forward empowering Chinese airlines with high-speed inflight internet services,” said Herman Guo, chief executive officer of AirNet, Air Esurfing’s parent company.

“The partnership with Air Esurfing is a significant step in Lufthansa Technik’s global focus to meet a promising market demand in China,” said Gerald Steinhoff, vice president corporate sales Asia Pacific of Lufthansa Technik. “As a joint force, we shall exploit the full potentials of the Chinese market


TV first for Singapore Airlines inflight

October 07, 2019

Singapore Airlines has partnered with Sky Sports for the world’s first live broadcast from a commercial Airbus A380 flight.

The first-of-its-kind event saw Sky Sports presenter Craig Slater interview Ruth Buscombe, senior strategy engineer for the Alfa Romeo Racing Formula One team, on their flight to Singapore for this year’s Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix. The live broadcast took place one one of Singapore Airlines’ new Airbus A380 aircraft.

This world first was made possible thanks to inflight wifi connectivity powered by SITAONAIR’s high-speed Internet ONAIR over GX Aviation.The portal enabled Sky Sports to stay connected and bring the live broadcast to television.

Subhas Menon, regional vice president Europe from Singapore Airlines, said: “This was a great way to celebrate the excitement ahead of the Singapore Night Race. It is testament to the sophistication of our aircraft and our commitment to innovation that this technological feat could take place.”


Iberia adds whatsapp ibot

October 07, 2019

Iberia customers can now use the airline’s new WhatsApp channel for general information about their trip, or to check the status of their flights and check-in.

The launch of the new virtual assistance service through WhatsApp is part of Iberia’s ongoing digital transformation programme.

The move is designed to bring the airline closer to its customers and provide a service suited to their needs. The new Spanish-language virtual assistance channel is available through the airline WhatsApp number +34 676 67 60 04.

Iberia has worked with Mindsay to develop this new customer assistance channel, following a successful chat collaboration for iberia.com. Guillaume Laporte, Mindsay’s co-founder and ceo, comments: “From automated check-in to live flight information and FAQs, Mindsay technology allows Iberia to provide its customers with a personalised service.”

Iberia is currently engaged in a digital transformation process towards a new culture and a 100% digital experience with connected operations for both customers and employees.


Inmarsat progresses to Iris phase two

October 07, 2019

Inmarsat has signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for phase two of the Iris air traffic modernisation programme, which will include important flight trials across Europe to assess the service in a real operational environment.

Iris is being developed to deliver powerful benefits to European aviation by enabling high bandwidth, cost-effective satellite-based datalink communications over Europe.

John Broughton, senior vice president of aircraft operations and safety services at Inmarsat, said: “We are very excited to embark on the next phase of Iris with all of our partners. Important progress has already been made on various critical elements and as a result of strong industry-wide interest, several important agreements have been signed with major European ANSPs, aircraft manufacturers and airlines. Today’s agreement brings us another step closer to delivering the Iris programme.”


Airline Edition push for OM3 retail

October 07, 2019

Michael Raasch, former head of consulting at LSG Group, has joined the OM3 team at AOE to support deployment of the company’s Airline Edition.

Raasch brings more than 20 years of experience to the company and says: “Compared to other approaches, OM3 is, in my opinion, the most innovative solution and far ahead of its time and interesting for airports and airlines alike. I am looking forward to working actively on the further development of the platform and to further positioning the OM3 Airline Edition in the market.”

Raasch spent four years developing inflight concepts for the Lufthansa Group before joining the LSG Group in 2006 as project manager A380. His focus has been on innovative concepts that optimise the airline customer experience, and was responsible for the conceptualisation and development of the LSG Group’s global E-Commerce platform strategy and onboard concepts ofor Lufthansa.

The OM3 Airline Edition was recently launched on Singapore Airlines. Raasch says: “It’s obvious that all airlines are currently reorienting their business models for travel retail. This is why there is so much interest in our solutions and we currently have a number of airports and airlines that are in discussions or planning with us.”


Panasonic Avionics names Vistara as launch customer for Arc and Games

October 01, 2019

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has today announced Indian airline Vistara as the launch customer for its new Arc Inflight Map Platform and Games, part of its Theatre solution.

Arc and Games are newly-launched entertainment solutions developed by Panasonic to create an immersive and engaging travel experience.

The solutions will be installed on Vistara’s fleet of Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A321neo aircraft from 2020.

Arc is a personalised 3D inflight map application and solution for Panasonic’s inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) systems. It brings a wide range of innovations to the traditional inflight map, while expanding that into a fully- integrated experience within its IFEC eco-system, in particular by aligning it with Panasonic’s Theatre (inflight entertainment) and Marketplace (e-commerce) solutions, all backed by its NEXT Cloud infrastructure.

Arc’s innovations include the industry’s first personalised maps capability, and new Map-as-a-Service technology that enables further applications using the map engine. The system features set, premium destination and point-of-interest content, and money generating opportunities through Panasonic’s Marketplace e-commerce platform. It can also be integrated with airline advertising and promotions.

Games was launched by Panasonic in April 2019 to meet the needs of the 2.4 billion gamers worldwide and is part of its Theatre entertainment solution. It will enable Vistara’s passengers to play premium games created by globally recognised brands creating a fun and engaging travel experience inflight.


Ethiopian Airlines rolls out onboard wifi

October 01, 2019

Ethiopian Airlines has launched onboard wifi internet connectivity on its A350 fleet using the latest broadband satellite technology (Ka-band).

Tewolde GebreMariam, group ceo of Ethiopian Airlines, says: “This launch is part of our relentless effort to add to passenger comfort, keeping pace with the technology of the day. As customer-centric airline, we will remain focused on continuous service excellence, taking advantage of emerging technologies and infrastructure.”

Passengers can access the inflight connectivity service by purchasing vouchers at Ethiopian Airlines sales outlets including Addis Ababa International Airport customer service desk, boarding gate and cabin crews onboard the fights. Online sales through credit/debit card and ShebaMiles miles are also available.

The inflight wifi is initially launched on the A350 fleet of Ethiopian with further plans to expand the service on other airplanes deployed on long haul flights.


American’s insight into movie viewing

October 01, 2019

New research commissioned by American Airlines has shown that almost a quarter (23%) of Brits say catching up on the latest film releases is what they look forward to the most about flying, but more than half (53%) find it difficult to choose which films to watch.

The carrier has created a unique movie menu in partnership with the BFI to help make choosing iconic films much easier.

Kicking off in time for the BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express, the menu has been curated by BFI London Film Festival Director Tricia Tuttle and recommends must-see movies to alleviate the dilemma of choosing what to watch.

Over half (51%) of Brits find films more memorable when they watch them on board a plane and almost a third (32%) feel more emotional watching films at altitude. Almost a fifth (17%) of Brits say their favourite thing about flying is watching films.

Jon Bird, Director of International Marketing at American Airlines said: “Our customers love watching movies when they fly, but with over 285 movies and hundreds of box sets to choose from, it can be difficult to make a decision.

To tackle this we’ve launched this new movie menu – just in time for the BFI London Film Festival – so our customers can enjoy a selection of the best films on offer.

For more than 60 years, we have supported filmmakers on both sides of the Atlantic. Our new menu is the perfect way to ensure every film customers watch will stay with them long after they’ve landed.”

Comedy came out on top as the genre of films Brits most like to watch when they fly (32%), followed by action (16%) and horror (8%). Romantic films scored the lowest at just 6%.


GX Aviation now available with AirAsia

September 20, 2019

Inmarsat has announced that its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution has entered commercial service with low-cost airline AirAsia.

AirAsia is currently offering GX Aviation to passengers onboard a number of initial aircraft through its RedBeat Ventures subsidiary, ROKKI, marking a significant upgrade to their inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) experience. To celebrate the occasion, passengers are being offered a free trial on GX Aviation-equipped aircraft until September 30 2019.

The service integrates with the airline’s entertainment and e-commerce platform, allowing passengers to access a variety of free entertainment, music, games, news and shopping using their personal mobile devices. It will be rolled out across AirAsia’s Airbus A320 and A330 fleet over the next year.

Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, says: “AirAsia’s launch of GX Aviation services is a significant milestone, as it brings to life the airline’s bold and innovative new digital offering for passengers. We are confident that its upgrade from basic connectivity to the industry’s gold standard inflight broadband will be warmly embraced by passengers.”

Aireen Omar, AirAsia group president (RedBeat Ventures), says: “As the pioneer of LCC inflight wifi in the region, we are always looking for ways to redefine the inflight digital experience for our guests. Introducing Ka-band, powered by ROKKI, is the next logical step in this process, with the enhanced inflight connectivity allowing our guests to stay connected throughout their journey and perform data-intensive activities such as live-streaming. This also enables better real-time analytics, allowing us to offer more personalised services to AirAsia’s 100 million guests annually.”


Inflight Dublin releases next-generation Everhub Portable Wireless Server

September 20, 2019

Inflight Dublin has announced the launch of its next-generation Everhub Portable Wireless Server. It claims the device is the most powerful and advanced wireless IFE solution available, and its DO-160G certification is stated to makes it one of the safest and most reliable solution on the market.

The new hardware is accompanied by the Everhub software platform, which is fully customisable to suit clients’ requirements.

The server can be powered by batteries or directly from the aircraft. It can also deliver secure, high-definition, browser-based DRM content to 75 passengers per unit. The Everhub portable server minimises logistics costs through its swappable battery configuration and remote loading of content.

The device comes preloaded with Everhub software for inflight entertainment and ancillary services and supports secure Digital Rights Management (DRM) content streamed to browsers. It is available as a standalone portable box using batteries or hybrid (aircraft powered) option.

John White, ceo of Inflight Dublin, says: “The next-generation Everhub server further enhances Inflight Dublin’s position as the only true end-to-end wireless IFE solution provider in the market. With the launch of our own server hardware, we are in complete and direct control of all the elements that airlines need in order to implement a wireless solution, namely hardware, software, content (including Early Window Hollywood movies) and design services”.

David Miller, Inflight Dublin’s cto, adds: “We started looking at an option for our own server based on our experience providing wireless IFE solutions on a number of fixed and portable platforms. We fed this learning into the design of our new server to provide a robust and scalable system which seamlessly integrates both our cloud and aircraft hosted services to deliver the best passenger and airline experience in a single offering.”


IdeaNova Technologies innovates Inplay

September 20, 2019

IdeaNova Technologies has continued to innovate its Inplay IFE Portal, this time offering the ability for passengers to choose their content before entering the aircraft. The Inplay Portal and its secure Inplay Players integrate with an onboard chat function and moving maps for convenient flight tracking while watching the entertainment.

The player offers multi-language audio, subtitles and accessibility features all suited for either in browser or application-based playback.

“The new Inplay IFE Portal is a result of the collaboration of various technologies with one single goal: to improve passenger experience on and off the aircraft,” says Juraj Siska, ceo of IdeaNova Technologies. “The entertainment playback now allows passengers to interact with chat and moving maps without leaving the portal or the player. Customers can also build a watch list for binge watching their favorite shows on or off the aircraft.”


GX Aviation takes flight on Virgin Atlantic

September 17, 2019

Inmarsat’s GX Aviation inflight broadband solution is now available on Virgin Atlantic’s new Airbus A350-1000 flight from London to New York.

The high-speed coverage will enable Virgin Atlantic’s customers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights – with speeds comparable to mobile broadband on the ground.

Between now and 2021, the carrier will take receipt of 12 Airbus A350-1000s with GX Aviation pre-installed on delivery. Virgin Atlantic has selected Deutsche Telekom as the internet service provider for the aircraft, having already worked together on the airline’s 787 and A330 fleets since 2014.

Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, said the partnership between Inmarsat and Virgin Atlantic will transform passenger experience as the airline’s customers begin to benefit from the high standard of inflight broadband.
“As one of the aviation industry’s greatest innovators, Virgin Atlantic is focused on providing a world-class experience onboard its aircraft,” he said.

“And that’s exactly what customers can expect when flying on the airline’s brand new Airbus A350s. In addition to exciting new suites and social spaces, they will have access to a broadband service with fast, reliable and consistent coverage powered by GX Aviation.”

Virgin Atlantic’s head of inflight services, Gail Yates, also applauded the airline’s maiden A350.

“Today we celebrated an exciting milestone for Virgin Atlantic as the first aircraft in our new Airbus A350-1000 fleet took to the skies,” she said.

“We are always looking to raise the bar and provide our passengers with a world-class experience. We are delighted to have Inmarsat’s GX Aviation onboard to offer high-speed inflight broadband to our customers.”


Airbus trials connected cabin technologies

September 17, 2019

Airbus has commenced in-flight trials of IoT connected cabin technologies onboard an A350-900 Flight Lab aircraft, revealed to customers at APEX EXPO 2019. In doing so, Airbus has become the first aircraft manufacturer to undertake such flight-testing of actual connected cabin innovations.

The platform, known as the Airspace Connected Experience, was unveiled at the APEX EXPO last year. It will usher in a new personalised experience for passengers and provide opportunities for improving airlines’ ancillary revenues and operational efficiencies.

The Flight Lab aircraft is one of the original A350-900 certification flight-test aircraft – MSN002 – and is fitted with an Airspace cabin which now serves as a platform to evaluate the new connected cabin technologies inflight.

An initial set of working elements have been installed, including prototypes of the Connected iSeat (Recaro), the Connected Galley (gategroup), a remote wireless cabin management control system, a large OLED display and, the first step of Airbus’ new “IoT backbone” which includes an open software platform.

The tests allow the various elements to be operated and monitored during a normal flight cycle. The next steps will continue testing of the current setup, then close the feedback loop with airlines using Airbus’ Customer Experience Teams (CET) forum, by around year-end.


Global Eagle powers next generation IFE/C experience

September 17, 2019

Global Eagle has announced its cloud-based content delivery platform Open and data software Pulse.

Open enables airlines to deliver passengers connectivity and entertainment at 40,000 feet, with aim to both match and exceed their expectations. The cloud-based platform gives airlines the agility to curate their content to challenge traditional IFE monthly cycles, so passengers can enjoy fresher entertainment, maximising its release window value.

Pulse harnesses user behavior data to curate personalised entertainment experiences that increase satisfaction. By tracking what passengers are watching and when, airlines can more precisely and predictively curate their content and market it directly to passengers to suit their individual personas.

Chris Esposito, chief technology officer, Global Eagle, says: “Airlines want to take advantage of new technologies to meet passengers’ demand for a high quality, personalized IFE experience. Cloud-based solutions are the only option for airlines to scale, and Open and Pulse are the next generation platforms to power future experiences.”


Burrana introduces 4K overhead inflight entertainment

September 17, 2019

Burrana has announced the development of its next generation ultra-high definition 4K overhead solution.

Burrana claims that its 13” displays are now the largest and highest resolution overhead screens in the industry. Each display will feature the latest in high brightness and high dynamic range LCD technology, which should enable passengers to enjoy wide viewing angles and a crisp picture, regardless of where they’re sitting in the cabin. Additionally, the displays will feature an anti-glare coating, which will help minimise reflections and the impact of sunlight.

An all-new server has also been developed, which will support 4K entertainment streams for the new overhead displays as well as wireless streaming entertainment to passenger devices. The server will offer 4TB of solid-state storage. This enhancement in storage capacity, combined with high compression video streams will efficiently support larger 4K media files. The system will also utilize USB 3.0 technology, enabling airlines to load content at up to 4.8Gbps – 10x faster than previous generations.

“With over 8.2 million pixels each with over 16 million life-like colours, the latest generation overhead displays from Burrana will deliver an immersive and unforgettable passenger experience”, says David Withers, Burrana ceo.

Burrana’s 4K overhead solution is intended to be made available for single aisle Airbus platforms in Q2 2020, with Boeing availability to follow shortly thereafter.


Interactive Mobility rebrands as Moment

September 2, 2019

Interactive Mobility has announced its new identity as Moment. This new name aims to support the development of the brand internationally and place the passenger at the core of its digital solutions.

In recent years, the French company has developed partnerships with airlines, airports and shipping companies, and wanted to adopt a new name to support its ambition and enhance its knowledge as an agile and innovative company. Moment focuses its expertise on onboard services and aspires to deliver entertainment experiences similar to those of mainstream streaming platforms like Netflix or Spotify.

The choice of this new brand was inspired directly from the strategy of the company. The main observation pointed that up to now the digital routes of travellers lacked coherence, simplicity and did not offer enough diversity to satisfy more and more demanding customers. The new name is intended to describe a positive and unprecedented experience that allows travellers to enjoy personalised content and services before, during and after their trip.

“We are proud of this change and this new identity that perfectly characterises our business and that will henceforth accompany the development of our business, as well as the new challenges that we want to take up,” says Tanguy Morel, ceo and co-founder of Moment.

“Through this brand name, we are committed to creating a strong, unique and attractive identity. Finally, we want to emphasise the importance of mobile technologies and the user experience that are two essential pillars in the valuation of travel”.


Luftahansa Systems enhances inflight gaming

September 2, 2019

Lufthansa Systems has announced that it will be showcasing the new inflight gaming component on its BoardConnect open IT platform at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX EXPO).

The company has digitally adapted the fantasy card game Galaxy Duel and integrated it into the platform in partnership with gaming provider Gladi8tor. Galaxy Duel offers features such as an eSports league, leader boards and live streaming.

The BoardConnect technology enables airlines to use the onboard IT platform for their specific applications, with possibilities extending far beyond mere entertainment. By integrating onboard gaming into BoardConnect, airline IT specialist provider Lufthansa Systems is responding to the ever-expanding gaming market, where it sees an opportunity for airlines to adapt their inflight entertainment to their passengers’ different needs and stand out from their competitors by offering an enhanced passenger experience.

“With 17 airlines having already opted for BoardConnect, our platform is being used on almost 900 aircraft,” said Jan-Peter Gänse, head of passenger experience solutions at Lufthansa Systems.

“By developing the open BoardConnect Dock platform, we have enabled our customers to expand the inflight entertainment solution to include a wide range of applications and thus offer their passengers a personalized service. The possibilities are endless. Inflight gaming is just one of many conceivable enhancements.”

APEX EXPO is being held from September 9-12, 2019 at the Los Angeles Convention Centre, USA. Visit Lufthansa Systems at stand 1901.