Liverpool boss Klopp’s Christmas Message: Why these players so specialby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to his players in his Christmas Day message.Klopp says a key to their success so far this season is the ability of his team to ignore “the noise” of the media and press.He told Liverpoolfc.com: “This is my fourth Christmas as the manager of this incredible football club and although I am not the kind of guy to allow myself to look backwards, I think it is fair to say we have had an incredible ride in 2018 with some real highs and a couple of disappointments.”That’s what gives me the confidence and belief there is more to come from these boys in 2019, that there is more to come from this journey we are all involved in.”We can – and should – all be proud of what the team have done so far this season, but this is only the beginning and there is still such a long way to go, both this season and in terms of what this group of players can achieve.”The best thing about these boys, and what has helped us have such a good start to the season, is they do not listen to the noise; they are 100 per cent every single day in training and every single matchday. We know when we say ‘one game at a time’ some people might consider it football talk, but that really is the way for us. It is the philosophy that has got us to where we are currently.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
The global travel and tourism industry is one of the most dynamic economic powerhouses on the planet. It not only creates jobs, but connects businesses to markets, drives exports, is a catalyst for prosperity and generally helps people enjoy better lives worldwide. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that the sector accounts for 10.4% of global GDP and 313 million jobs, making it one of the largest contributors economically in the world. The connectivity provided by international air and rail transport is one of the key factors in facilitating its growth.It is estimated that over half of international tourists travel by air, meaning aviation plays a crucial role in supporting one of the globe’s most important economic sectors. And according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), it contributes an enormous €2.3 trillion with more than 120,000 flights taking off daily – transporting more than 10 million passengers worldwide.It’s clear that the aviation sector is thriving, and the global rail market is also in a period of growth according to the 2018 Worldwide Market for Railway Industries Study. Since 2016, its value has grown from €169 billion to €183 billion, with the rate outstripping forecasted growth of 2.3% two years ago, to 2.8%.This strong growth has resulted in changes across the air and rail sectors with a greater focus on improving customer satisfaction levels through innovations in onboard service and environments. For example, a new raft of commercial aircraft models from leading manufacturers Airbus and Boeing has forced airlines to refine the offering they provide to passengers, while developments in onboard catering and cutting-edge technology are attracting passengers to travel operators that have a modern and unique approach to travel. The key to sustaining this success lies in being aware of – and acting on – key trends without being outmaneuvered by competitors.The spotlight is on passenger experienceThis year’s Passenger Experience Week, taking place in Hamburg from 1-4 April 2019, brings together four leading events that aim to provide ideas, inspiration and solutions for air, rail and cruise buyers looking to improve the experience they offer to their passengers. Comprising Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE); Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS); and the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC), the series of events will showcase the latest cabin interiors, in-flight entertainment and connectivity, passenger comfort, catering, retail offerings and technology software that will ultimately transform the experience passengers receive on a plane, train, coach or cruise ship.Over 950 exhibitors will be on hand throughout the week to showcase their innovations to 18,000 attending industry professionals. Of these, more than 2,000 will be VIP guests – leading decision makers representing the world’s major air and rail operators – looking to find those unique, new-to-market products that will set their business apart from the rest. Face-to-face buying, selling and networking will dominate proceedings across the Hamburg Messe throughout the week.Learning from industry visionariesMarking the start of Passenger Experience Week 2019, the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) will bring together thought leaders from across the global aviation, rail and cruise sectors, who will share new ideas and discuss the next steps in the evolution of the passenger experience from onboard environments to services.Delegates joining this year’s conference on 1 April will be able to hear speakers from Airbus; Seymourpowell; Diehl Aviation; Panasonic Avionics Corporation; Collins Aerospace; and Passenger Experience Week supporting organisation, International Air Transport Association (IATA).Opening the conference, Joe Leader, Chief Executive Officer of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and International Flight Services Association (IFSA), will provide the inside track on the strategies that will deliver more competitive cabins. He will offer insight on how to deliver greater value for passengers and improve revenue for airlines; the transformative approaches to making the journey better; and how to integrate new technologies and tools every step of the way.Following the day’s keynote sessions, three breakout streams will focus the discussion on key trends shaping the future of the industry – The Competitive Cabin, Digital: The New Reality, and Revitalising the Journey.The Competitive Cabin stream will help delegates understand how suppliers are innovating products and services to deliver a better passenger experience and increase revenue. The session will explain the importance of technology collaborations in creating innovative interiors solutions that enhance the journey of all travellers – including those with mobility, visual or hearing impairments.With a digital revolution underway in the travel sectors, Digital: The New Reality will explore the importance of integrating technology across the entire journey to create a seamless and connected environment. Speakers will explore the role of automated and digital/mobile self-service; how biometric technologies are opening up opportunities through airports and on aircraft; and how the food and retail experience onboard can be digitalised to improve engagement and passenger enjoyment.In the final stream, Revitalising the Journey, speakers will address how new sensory technologies can help passengers navigate their journeys. From sensory touchpoints – sonic branding, voice technologies, haptic feedback – to augmented and virtual reality, delegates will learn more about the opportunities to improve experiences, while tackling new challenges in cabin design. Sessions will encourage delegates to rethink both the physical and onboard experience, from understanding how biometric technologies, such as facial recognition, are transforming passenger experiences in a world of self-service; to the opportunities to deliver outstanding personalisation, helping passengers to arrive at their destinations feeling relaxed and refreshed.20 years of cabin innovationWith the global aviation industry going from strength to strength, it’s no surprise that the airline interiors industry is also booming. The market for aircraft interiors is predicted to hit €13.9 billion by 2020 according to market research by Industry Arc, thanks to a dramatic surge in air travel and the accompanying upturn in passenger expectations as a result.For two decades, AIX has played a pivotal role in helping the world’s premier airlines source the latest cabin innovations, technologies, inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions that have transformed their offerings and helped turn them into the leading global players they are today. The 2019 instalment sees the exhibition reach its 20th anniversary with a celebration of the cutting-edge innovation that is continually propelling the industry forward.More than 500 businesses – including industry players both, large and small – will showcase their latest products and services aimed at enhancing the cabin, in-flight entertainment and connectivity onboard. These include materials suppliers such as Zotefoams, a world leader in cellular materials technology, which is confirmed to showcase its ZOTEK F foam. The material is manufactured from specialist PVDF engineering polymers to meet the exacting standards of aviation manufacturers. Helping to improve inflight hygiene, Mankiewicz will present its second-generation interior paint featuring antimicrobial effective additives. Its ALEXIT PureGuard paint contains special chemicals that hinder the spread of mould and unpleasant odours, helping to reduce the microbes and bacteria which accumulate over the course of a flight.And, with the industry’s leading seat manufacturers present, attendees will be able to discover the latest seat configurations from Safran SA; Recaro Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG; STELIA Aerospace; and Adient Aerospace, which will showcase its Ascent Business Class at the show. Molon Labe Seating will also join the line-up, revealing the launch customer for its S1 staggered short-range economy class seat.Visitors can also explore mock-ups of the new Boeing 777X – the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world. The cabin interior, which will be on display at AIX 2019, is inspired by the comforts and conveniences of the 787 Dreamliner, with larger windows, a wider cabin, new lighting and enhanced architecture – all of which will be custom-tailored for a unique in-flight passenger experience. The 777X is one of many topics explored by Boeing’s Blake Emery and PJ Wilcynski on the newly launched PAX Week Views podcast. The podcast brings together a host of leading industry experts from across the aviation, rail and cruise sectors to share their thoughts on the future of the passenger experience industry. It is now available to download or stream via iTunes or Spotify here: http://bit.ly/2BopFfhAirline buyers looking for suppliers to support Maintenance, Retail and Overhaul (MRO) operations, will find a host of businesses that will be demonstrating the importance of cabin refurbishment services. Exhibitors, including Delta TechOps, Etihad Airways Engineering and Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance, will explain how they deliver the highest quality interior maintenance and refurbishment of seating, monuments – comprising galley, lavatory, closets, overhead bins and sidewall panels – IFEC solutions and unit load devices (ULDs).What’s on at AIXIn addition to the smorgasbord of innovations on display on the show floor, there will be a whole area dedicated to the very latest developments in inflight entertainment technology. According to IATA’s 2018 Global Passenger Survey, people now prefer to watch digital content on a seatback device (54%) rather than a personal device (36%).This technology and more will be presented in The IFEC Zone, which aims to keep visitors abreast of the latest developments in inflight technology solutions. It will feature everything from servers and OTT systems to 5G and VR, with more than 100 leading providers of state-of-the-art entertainment and communications solutions on display, including AirFi BV, Astronics, Panasonic, SITA OnAir, Thales and Kontron.Demonstrating how cinematic Virtual Reality (VR) can transport premium passengers to their own private movie theatres, SkyLights will reveal how operators can set themselves apart from the competition and enable passengers to enjoy the latest releases in 3D, 2D and 180° VR with its AlloSky VR Headset. Bluebox Aviation Systems will highlight the latest innovations in tablet-based and wireless IFE solutions including its Bluebox aIFE – an accessible IFE solution for passengers with sight loss that Virgin Atlantic launched in December 2017; while Gogo, the in-flight internet company, will demonstrate its next-generation satellite technology for global in-flight connectivity: Gogo 2Ku.Meanwhile IFEC technology will, for the second year, be recognised in the Crystal Cabin Awards, enabling visitors to quickly identify the most innovative new launches. Eight categories in total will be awarded, all of which celebrate innovation in the aircraft cabin. Innovations across the eight categories will be on display, with winners announced in the CabinSpace LIVE Seminar Theatre.Held within the theatre, the CabinSpace LIVE Seminar programme, offers a place for attendees to listen and learn from industry leaders, and discover the latest challenges and trends impacting the industry. Curated to help airlines grasp the opportunities and navigate the challenges posed by the ever-evolving air travel industry, this year will feature free-to-attend forecast sessions exploring a wide range of hot topics. The rapid evolution of connectivity, IFEC and tools for engagement; the outlook for the aircraft interiors industry; and IFC trends in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will all be covered.Airbus BizLab, a global aerospace accelerator, will also lead a panel discussion on the future of flight, questioning how factors such as demographic and economic growth, tourism trends, oil prices and the development of new and existing routes help shape air transport mobility. With a particular focus on innovation in aircraft interiors, a panel will discuss how global macro trends can change the future of aircraft-based mobility, moderated by Reymound Buckman, Airbus BizLab Campus Leader in Hamburg.As ever, there will be plentiful networking opportunities at AIX, focused particularly on helping to develop strong working business relationships between airlines and suppliers. The Airline Club Lounge, exclusively reserved for members of airlines, bizjets and lessors, is designed to provide a space to escape, relax, work or network away from the show floor.Serving up innovation at WTCEFor the past two decades, AIX has become the global meeting place for airlines to source innovative technologies and solutions to improve the passenger experience. In more recent years, it has been joined by sister exhibition, the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE), which has also grown significantly in its own right to become the leading global event for travel catering, onboard retail and passenger comfort.This year’s instalment, which sits alongside AIX at the Hamburg Messe in halls A1-A3, is set to be one of the biggest to date, thanks to continued demand for the very best onboard experience the world’s leading airlines, rail companies and cruise liners can provide.Indeed, according to Global Industry Analysts Inc., the worldwide market for in-flight catering services is projected to reach €15.5 billion by 2020, driven by ever increasing – and demanding – passenger traffic and an abundance of service innovations by airline operators. And with more than five million meals served onboard flights each day, it’s no surprise that businesses are looking for new and innovative ways to improve their onboard offerings and attract new customers.Many airlines are already switching things up when it comes to their catering. Take Emirates for example, which has announced it is building a vertical farm to grow food for its meals with less impact on the environment. Meanwhile, Delta Airlines is trialling a new three-course meal plan served with sparkling wine; Air France has added a new ‘healthy’ meal option to it’s a la carte menu, while conversely, Swiss Air has added new hot cheese fondue to its menu. Whatever the innovation, its clear there is a place in the market for new ideas when it comes to onboard catering, and this year’s WTCE is the place to find them.What’s on at WTCEThe free-to-attend exhibition houses over 350 suppliers of onboard products and services, including more than 180 dedicated to food and drink. These include The Barilla Group, which will showcase its dedicated line of Italian food solutions for foodservice professionals under its most famous and well-loved brands, Barilla and Mulino Bianco. Cuisine Solutions, an industry leader in the expert development and manufacturing of premium, fully cooked foods using the sous-vide method, will also be present, demonstrating its slow-cooking technique that was pioneered and perfected by its Chief Scientist Dr. Bruno Goussault.WTCE will once again present visitors with a host of new products for complimentary in-flight and buy onboard menus from cheeses to chocolates. Companies such as Brazzale Spa, the oldest Italian family business in the dairy and cheese-making industry; Butlers Chocolates, Ireland’s premier family-owned firm dedicated to the craft of exceptional chocolate-making; and Dr. Schär Group, the European leader in gluten-free products, will all present the latest food and beverages suitable for onboard consumption.Visitors can also see products from a broader range of categories including hygiene, transport and logistics, packaging, travel retail, passenger comfort and toys and games, with many launching products that have never been seen before. This year, visitors will have the opportunity to view products from the full spectrum of airline and rail suppliers – large and small – including LSG Group, Matrix, Bayart Innovations, dnata and gategroup, as well as those from more than 100 new exhibitors that have not previously launched into the industry.The New Exhibitor Village gives companies that are new to the industry the opportunity to reveal their services or products to more than 200 international airlines and rail operators. With a dedicated, stand-out area on the show floor, participants will benefit from a unique platform to market their innovations.Companies already signed up to showcase their products in the Village include Belberry Preserves, Belgian-based purveyors of fruit preserves; Chum Fruit Snacks, 100% healthy fruit snacks featuring the simplest purest ingredients; Farmhouse Biscuits, biscuits baked from traditional, old-family recipes; Nature Frais, an agri-food company which specialises in the cutting of fresh vegetables and fruits; and frozen bread producers Novepan.Elsewhere, there will be a selection of designated areas to enable visitors to easily identify products and services that are of interest to them. Giving airtime to brand new products will be the What’s New Onboard showcase that will feature products and innovations launched to the market in the past 12 months or less.The growing Focus on World Travel Retail will return to Hall A4 to showcase products that can help drive revenue opportunities onboard. In the cut-throat travel retail industry, operators need that all-important competitive edge to set their business apart from the rest and win customers. Exhibitors taking part this year include Schäfer Travel Retail GmbH, a supplier with more than 10 years’ experience supplying a wide selection of brands and products to over 60 airlines and 40 airports worldwide; Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel, a leading producer of a renowned range of Côtes de Provence rosés; Lemonaid Beverages, fairtrade lemonade made from fresh, organically grown ingredients; MeMento, a blend of distilled aromatic waters filled with the scents of the Mediterranean; and Gebr. Heinemann, one of the top players on the international travel retail market. Visitors will also have an opportunity to sample new products and engage with other attendees at the Gebr. Heinemann networking bar.The Spotlight on Travel Apparel feature, sponsored by Egret Aviation and MODUS, will return to the exhibition’s central entrance to showcase the latest onboard clothing. Operators looking to update their brand or source new uniforms will find plenty of inspiration and ideas in this area. Further examples of the latest uniforms, crew luggage and travel accessories can be found on the show floor, with new companies CREATION & IMAGE Paris, GATE8 Luggage, OX’BRIDGE and Sky Soles joining the exhibition.Also providing visitors with unrivalled inspiration for their air, rail and cruise operations will be this year’s Taste of Travel Theatre. Run in association with Onboard Hospitality magazine, presentations and live demonstrations – delivered by leading consultants, industry experts and award-winning chefs will aim to educate the audience about the future of the sector, encourage them to think about current and upcoming trends and urge them to understand how they can best enhance the passenger experience. Taking place across all three days of the show, the sessions will focus on a diverse range of trends including sustainability, packaging, food waste, pre-ordering and wellbeing.Sustainability in the air is one of the current industry hot topics and will feature prominently in this year’s Taste of Travel programme. Matt Rance of MNH Sustainable Cabin Services will lead this important debate in a session entitled Sustainable Thinking as he examines how suppliers and airlines can work together to provide cradle-to-grave thinking for onboard products.Phil Chadwick, editor of Packaging News magazine, will also chair a debate around the challenges of plastic and sustainability onboard, in a session entitled Less Plastic in the Air. Taking a look at current hot packaging innovations, a further session entitled Best Sustainable Packaging will invite five exhibitors to give a quick-fire pitch to three expert judges on how their solutions are the most environmentally friendly.Wellbeing is another hot topic that is sure to provoke lots of lively debate in the Taste of Travel Theatre. Tied to this is the theme of gut health, which will be addressed by Marc Warde, culinary consultant to the airline rail and cruise industries, as he explores the new generation of meat-free, gluten-free and allergy-friendly meals suitable for health-conscious passengers. Ariane Van Mancius of Now/New/Next will also examine the habits and hang ups of passenger eating habits in her session entitled ‘How Generations Y and Z eat’. She will look at the influences of these ‘new kids on the block’, and in particular how the rules are being re-written through social media and Instagram.Other themes that will be covered include ‘Dine on Demand’ by Werner Kimmeringer and Craig Devoy of Yates+Partners; how consumers are using technology to personalise their food, health, travel and lifestyle by Mariette Abrahams of Mariette Abrahams Consulting; ‘Pre-ordering’ by Delta Airlines Executive Chef Christian Hallowell; and a session on ‘Best Rail Dining in Europe’ by two members of the Junior National Team of AKC (Czech Chefs Culinary Association) who will also demonstrate the latest dining concepts on Czech Railways. In celebration of its centenary year, representatives from British Airways will also present some of the airline’s new menus along with samples.Returning to facilitate meetings on site, WTCE’s Business Meeting Hub provides the perfect place to do business at the show. Private meeting rooms will be available, enabling VIP airline and rail attendees to arrange meetings with existing or new suppliers. Also aiding relationship building is the improved My Event tool that allows visitors and exhibitors to pre-arrange meetings, so they can maximise time spent at the show.Embracing the digital revolutionLaunched last year to great acclaim, the Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS) event will provide a new way for the aviation and rail sectors to improve passenger experience by bringing together some of the world’s most exciting and technologically advanced solutions. This year, the show is back, bigger and better, and ready to provide the perfect platform to showcase game-changing technologies to the world’s leading airlines, airports and rail operators.What’s on at PTS?Trends in technology impact all industries and travel is no exception. To stay competitive, the industry is turning towards the latest solutions to offer customers a better travel experience.Artificial Intelligence (AI), biometrics, blockchain, machine learning and Virtual Reality (VR) are all transforming the way people travel and developments in these areas are showing no sign of slowing down. And with airlines preparing to increase investment in IT by 3.6% as a percentage of their revenue, now couldn’t be a better time for the second edition of PTS, where it will move from the A Halls to Hall B4 Upper of the Hamburg Messe.The move positions the show closer to the popular In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) Zone in the co-located Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) and demonstrates the growing importance of big data analytics, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) solutions in personalising the passenger experience and delivering innovative in-flight entertainment services.Exhibitors at this year’s event will be showcasing a whole range of products, from ancillary revenue optimisation systems, CRM and Ecommerce Systems to IT solutions and mobile apps. These include Aviget Ltd, a technology start-up developing multi-platform chatbots, that helps airlines improve customer engagement. It enables passengers to get an instant answer to any question, book a flight, check-in online, get flight status alerts and even rebook cancelled flights without the need for human interaction. Also exhibiting at PTS, ECR Retail Systems, one of the oldest mobile EPoS providers in the UK, will demonstrate its in-flight mobile point of sale (MPoS) systems; TouchStar OnBoard Retail will introduce attendees to NovoStar, a software solution that facilitates the sale of in-flight duty free, catering and ancillary products; while Black Swan, will return to highlight the importance of data-driven passenger experience software solutions.In addition to the revolutionary technology on show at this year’s PTS, there will be a new feature taking centre stage with the aim of generating further cutting-edge innovation at the event. The Pax Tech Hack – Passenger Experience Week’s first ever Hackathon – will see teams of international developers, designers and marketers battle it out to create revolutionary new solutions that will improve the end-to-end passenger journey.With backing from the official supporting organisation, International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Pax Tech Hack will kick off with a selection of challenges that are currently facing the travel industry. Participating teams will be given just 48 hours to develop a functional concept, with a strong practical application, that will utilise new technologies to tackle issues and help shape the future of the global passenger experience industry.With the first two days of the hackathon devoted to non-stop development, the teams will then be given an opportunity to present their working concepts to judges on the show floor on the final day of PTS. With an audience of passenger experience professionals from airline and rail operators watching on, the winning team in each challenge will receive €5,000.This year’s event will include an exciting free-to-attend educational programme – the PTS Seminar Theatre. A host of industry experts will introduce and explore the latest smart solutions and innovative technologies, data tools and digital solutions that will transform the travel experience. The focus will be on how to enable more seamless and connected experiences, create new business models and increase engagements.Luke Miles, Co-founder and Creative Director of New Territory, will run a workshop on ‘Using emerging technologies to provide truly bespoke passenger experiences.’ The session will explore how airlines can offer more bespoke onboard services at both ends of the plane and achieve continuity between classes. He will present a suite of emerging technologies and examples that are shaping the future of the passenger experience and encourage discussion on the next steps for integration by operators across the air, rail and cruise industries.Speaking about the session, Luke commented: “I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part in this year’s PTS Seminar Theatre. The industry is fast approaching a turning point, which will see the passenger experience undergo a technologically-driven period of advancement. The topics covered in the programme – biometrics, bespoke onboard services and blockchain technology amongst others – will be central to this shift and I’m looking forward to hearing the ground-breaking ideas presented.”A further session titled ‘Flying in 2025 – a holistic approach to passenger engagement’ will be led by Dr. Stathis Kefallonitis, Founder and President of Branding.aero and Noesis Analysis labs. This interactive panel discussion will highlight the perspectives of aircraft manufacturers, technology providers, catering and culinary experts, behavioural scientists and passengers, providing a unique viewpoint on future passenger trends.It will also explore the deployment of the latest technological capabilities, focusing on the role of new aircraft and cabin designs; data analytics, augmented reality, co-branding, collaborations and new product development; passenger-journey customisation and passenger engagement via behavioural and biometric analyses.In another session, Anne De Hauw and Anne-Celine Donkersloot, from IN Air Travel Experience, will take part in a discussion on ‘Transforming the travel ecosystem: Why today’s digital travelers need you to be there’ beyond the flight’, while a session on blockchain technology will evaluate the potential opportunities and challenges that the burgeoning technology can offer the travel sector.Also under the spotlight, sessions will explore the power of biometrics and how it can remove stress and bottlenecks from the travel journey, for passengers and operators alike. Here, Pierre Charbonneau, Director, Passenger Experience & Facilitation from International Air Transport Association (IATA) – Passenger Experience Week’s supporting organisation – will join a panel to discuss One ID, IATA’s visionary concept that introduces a collaborative identity management solution, meaning passengers need to confirm their identity just once, eliminating repetitive ID checks at security, border control and the gate. And finally, during ‘Digital Visionaries’, industry-leading chief digital and passenger experience officers will present exclusive insights on how they are transforming passenger/traveller engagement within their organisations.Katie Murphy, Portfolio Director at Reed Exhibitions, said: “We’re delighted to return to Hamburg this April to mark the 20th anniversary of AIX and the continued growth of co-located events, World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo, Passenger Technology Solutions and the Passenger Experience Conference.“More than ever, we’re seeing a clear need for collaboration and cross industry pollination as operators look to transform the passenger experience and learn from best practice across the industry. And, with digital technologies connecting services on the ground and in the air, our four events will help the aviation, rail and cruise sectors transform the passenger experience by sourcing the most innovative products and services and learn from the brightest minds from across the travel industry.”Passenger Experience Week 2019 returns to Hamburg from 1-4 April comprising Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE), Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS) and the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC). The four leading events in one location – the Hamburg Messe – share one goal: to shine a light on the latest innovations and services available to enhance the travel experience and improve the onboard comfort and wellbeing of passengers.About Passenger Experience WeekFour leading events – the Passenger Experience Conference, Aircraft Interiors Expo, World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo and Passenger Technology Solutions – one week, one destination. Delivering content, driving innovation and developing connections to transform your business. Showcasing the latest in cabin interiors, in-flight entertainment and connectivity, onboard technology, passenger comfort, catering and travel retail to create the ultimate passenger experience. Taking place 1-4 April 2019 in Hamburg, the events attract more than 18,000 visitors including 2,000 buyers and decision makers from major full service, regional and charter airlines and rail operators and offers the opportunity to meet face to face with suppliers and manufacturers covering the full spectrum of the industry.About Reed ExhibitionsReed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in over 30 countries. In 2016 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 38 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customer across industries.
Following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 after takeoff from Addis Ababa this weekend, as an aviation journalist who writes regularly about safety, the answer one is always supposed to be able to give when asked if I trust the regulatory experts and would board a Boeing 737 MAX is an unqualified “yes”.But I could not give that unqualified “yes” if asked whether I would happily fly on a 737 MAX yesterday, and even less so today with a growing number of jurisdictions expressing concerns by grounding the aircraft while ET302 is investigated.Civil aviation authorities in Europe, the UK, Australia and Singapore have issued bans on the 737 MAX, and the numbers of airlines and jurisdictions refusing to allow the aircraft to be flown continue to grow. It remains unclear precisely what the regulators and airlines are looking to assess. Reading between some lines, it’s possible to speculate that, with the ET302 black boxes now found, they are looking for either similarities or differences to the JT610 crash five months ago. Boeing’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software, the way it works, and how (or even whether) pilots have been trained to use it, will be under particular scrutiny.“The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation,” said a spokesperson. “As we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace.”EASA has suspended all 737 MAX operations, saying in a statement: “As a precautionary measure, EASA has published today an Airworthiness Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all flight operations of all Boeing Model 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX aeroplanes in Europe. In addition EASA has published a Safety Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all commercial flights performed by third-country operators into, within or out of the EU of the above mentioned models.”In suspending MAX operations, Australia’s CASA said: “This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from Australia,” CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody, explained. “CASA regrets any inconvenience to passengers but believes it is important to always put safety first.”In the United States, airlines continued to fly the aircraft – and have expressed confidence in the type – but the Association of Professional Flight Attendants representing American Airlines cabin crew confirmed to its members that they are not required to fly on the aircraft if they have safety concerns: “I contacted management again this morning with safety concerns of our Union and members flying this aircraft. Their current response is they will follow the normal fear of flying procedures. It is important for you to know that if you feel it is unsafe to work the 737 MAX, you will not be forced to fly it,” said APFA National President Lori Bassani in a statement. “You must contact crew schedule and your flight service manager who will remove you with a Personal Off (PO). While I have requested that the PO be non-chargeable, details must still be worked out. You may make up the flying via the regular methods available.”Any matter of aviation safety is a dread risk, the ultra-low probability, ultra-high impact events for which airline crashes are often used as the perfect example. Humans are notoriously poor at assessing dread risks, because the impact outweighs the likelihood in our minds, especially when we are not able to control the likelihood.That’s part of why fear of flying is common, yet fear of driving is much less so, despite the hugely greater likelihood and equally lethal impact potential of road traffic accidents. Even this journalist who could not give an unqualified “yes” to the 737 MAX would have few qualms about driving to the airport, objectively a more dangerous activity. But the fact is that travelers are worried about flying on the MAX, and to dismiss those worries as irrational misses the point.Having flown on the MAX, would I knowingly do so again right now? Image: John WaltonThe shrinking number of airlines who are still flying the MAX refuse to allow passengers to opt out without paying significant change fee penalties. The aircraft is perfectly safe, argue those airlines, and they are awaiting regulators’ directions. But it cannot be both acceptable for flight attendants not to be penalized for avoiding the MAX and for passengers to be penalized for doing so.It is easy for those within the industry to issue the standard line — with or without a tinge of derision about the great unwashed panicking over nothing — about waiting for the experts before jumping to conclusions. It is especially easy to do so from behind a keyboard rather than staring at the door of an aircraft that multiple regulators have grounded.Regulators are experts, and while there are of course geopolitical questions at play in certain regulator geographies, with the motives of China and Indonesia in grounding fleets possible to ascribe at least partly to wider contexts, it is hard to suggest that multiple uncoordinated regulators in the UK, Australia, Singapore and elsewhere have much to gain from grounding the MAX, let alone the growing numbers of airlines who have done so.From my perspective as a journalist who deals regularly with certification and regulators on safety issues, I have professional concerns about the level of regulation in a number of areas: from seat testing and passenger safety to emergency egress certification, the levels of real-world vs computer testing required, the amount of read-across that is permitted when certifying derivative models of airframes, the amount of self-certification that is allowed, and so on. Many of these concerns have been raised here by Runway Girl Network journalists, myself included.It would seem illogical and inconsistent if, having concerns about some aspects of the job safety regulators are doing, I did not apply that to other areas. Yet it’s equally illogical and inconsistent that I was driving and being driven in the Lazio region around Rome at speed last weekend, let alone crossing the road in that city, both activities that are much more likely to result in fatal injuries than getting on a 737 MAX.That combination of illogical and inconsistent approach is precisely why we need to wait for the experts to collect, analyze and report on the data: because we humans are bad at doing so.But the crux of the matter is this: are the concerns about the airworthiness of the 737 MAX sufficient to ground the aircraft while we await answers or not?The FAA, and most North American operators say no. A substantial part of the rest of the world says yes. That leaves travelers making an incredibly hard decision on whether or not to fly it, and in the age of passengers being increasingly mobile, social and vocal, it seems short-sighted for the diminishing numbers of airlines still operating the 737 MAX to put them there.Related Articles:North American carriers express confidence in MAX; union wants probeNTSB calls on FAA to fill the safety gap on Part 135 operationsExit row seating raises safety questionsNo room for error: How the design of cabin safety equipment worksAircraft seat size in the spotlight as FAA passes FAA reauthorizationFlyers Rights questions FAA evidence for not setting seat standardsPassenger rights gets a boost as EU interprets guidanceLion Air crash should remind us not to rush to judgmentAir accident cluster makes travelers fearful; should they worry?
Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering or the Group) today announced that its subsidiary Singapore Technologies Engineering (Europe) Ltd, has entered into a conditional share purchase agreement to acquire a 100% ownership in Newtec Group NV (Newtec) (the “Proposed Acquisition”), an established Belgium-based company in the satellite communications (satcom) industry.The consideration of €250m (approximately S$383m) (the “Consideration”) on a cash-free and debt-free basis for the Proposed Acquisition, subject to closing adjustments, is payable in cash.Satcom is a growth industrySatcom is a fast-growing industry with an expected CAGR of 8%1 over the next 10 years. The surge of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations will increase bandwidth capacity and reduce operating cost, thereby creating new demand. New use cases, especially to support Smart City applications such as IoT and connected cars, will drive demand for satcom services.Acquisition complementary and synergistic ST Engineering has been growing its satcom business through its U.S.-based iDirect and Singapore-based satcom product and solution business. The Group’s satcom business is an industry leader in the Aeronautical and Maritime segments and has led the industry’s transition to high-throughput satellite (HTS) managed services. It is also the technology provider for leading global satellite operators such as Inmarsat, Intelsat and SES. In 2018, ST Engineering formed a JV company named Jet-Talk Limited, with SatixFy UK Limited to develop cost-effective, high-performance flat panel antenna to address the growing demand for in-flight connectivity. The Group offers a suite of satcom solutions to provide seamless global network Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd ST Engineering Hub, 1 Ang Mo Kio Electronics Park Road #07-01, Singapore 567710 T: (65) 6722 1818 F: (65) 6720 2293 (Regn. No.: 199706274H) and bandwidth management with end-to-end integration that addresses the growing needs of enterprise, government, mobility and defence market globally.On the other hand, Newtec is a key technology provider in the satellite broadcast segment with unique ultra-high throughput capabilities and a strong presence in the European satcom market. It has a proven range of cost-effective consumer satellite terminals, and industry-leading bandwidth efficiency technology. Recently, Newtec was among the first companies to successfully test over-the-air communication via LEO satellites. LEO satellites are expected to take off with the launch of more than 5,000 satellites in the coming years. The company is also well placed to leverage the advent of IP-based satellite broadcast which is critical for real-time content distribution.The proposed acquisition of Newtec will add intellectual property, products and market access. ST Engineering will continue to invest in Newtec in Belgium to position it to be the Group’s European centre for the satcom business. The complementary and synergistic effect of this proposed acquisition will enable ST Engineering to meet demand across the full spectrum of the satcom market.Positioning for future growth With enhanced satcom capabilities, ST Engineering can better participate and lead the advancement of the satcom industry to enable Smart Cities globally. Capitalising on an enlarged IP and product portfolio, the Group will be able to:Accelerate the deployment of satcom-enabled 5G telco network, bringing high bandwidth connectivity to remote regions. This will help bridge the digital divide and enable the development of new applications such as tele-medicine and tele-education.Address the growing needs for IoT and M2M connectivity, where millions of devices and telematic sensor points are expected to be connected for surveillance, data gathering and big data analytics.Provide end-to-end solutions for the mobility segment, enabling seamless internet connectivity and remote monitoring for the aeronautical, maritime and connected car segments.“This proposed acquisition expands our satcom business in a meaningful way in an attractive industry that is high-tech and high-growth, driving connectivity advances in a world where 5G and satcom converge,” said Vincent Chong, President & CEO, ST Engineering. “It aligns with our strategy to invest in businesses that help accelerate our growth trajectory, especially in Smart City, to deliver long-term shareholder value.”“We are pleased to be able to acquire Newtec, an established satcom player with strong technology foundations. The differentiated yet complementary technologies, combined with our track record and established satcom experience, will enable us to innovate and deliver more value-added, advanced satellite products and capabilities to our customers, at a more rapid pace,” said Ravinder Singh, President, Electronics sector, ST Engineering.“This coming together of two companies will enable us to move forward together, using our deep-rooted passion for innovation to address our rapidly changing world of connectivity,” said Roald Borré, Chairman of Newtec Board of Directors. “This is an exciting and hugely significant step that simply makes sense for our customers and our staff.”Details of the Proposed AcquisitionThe Consideration was arrived at after negotiations between the parties taking into account, among other factors, Newtec’s current financial performance and future growth prospects. The Consideration translates into a multiple of 14.6 times Newtec’s EBITDA and 2.7 times revenue for the financial year ended 30 September 2018. The businesses when combined, is expected to produce about S$200m in value creation arising from revenue and cost synergies.The proposed acquisition is not expected to have any material impact on the earnings per share of ST Engineering for the current financial year but is expected to be earnings accretive from the second year post acquisition. The proposed acquisition is expected to reduce ST Engineering’s audited consolidated net tangible assets by approximately S$0.112 per share from S$0.41 per share to S$0.30 per share, assuming the Proposed Transaction has been effected at the end of FY2018. Newtec has consolidated net tangible assets (NTA) of €5.1m (approximately S$8m) and consolidated net assets of €28.4m (approximately S$44m) as at 30 September 2018.Subject to regulatory approvals and conditions that include receipt of clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, Foreign Investment Review in France, and anti-trust approvals in Austria, the Proposed Acquisition is expected to complete in 2H2019.Numbers are based on in-house analysis of the third edition of Northern Sky Research (NSR) Commercial Satellite Ground Segment report (2018).Calculated based on Newtec’s consolidated net tangible assets as at 30 September 2018.ST Engineering is a global technology, defence and engineering group specialising in the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine sectors. The Group employs about 22,000 people across offices in Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, serving customers in the defence, government and commercial segments in more than 100 countries. Its employees bring innovation and technology together to create smart engineering solutions for customers in the defence, government and commercial segments. With more than 500 smart city projects across 70 cities in its track record, the Group continues to help transform cities through its suite of Smart Mobility, Smart Security and Smart Environment solutions. Headquartered in Singapore, ST Engineering reported revenue of S$6.7b in FY2018 and it ranks among the largest companies listed on the Singapore Exchange. It is a component stock of the FTSE Straits Times Index, MSCI Singapore, SGX ESG Transparency Index and SGX ESG Leaders Index.
While the global passenger seat market will grow with an average five percent per year, Recaro Aircraft Seating expects a spike in demand for business class seats in particular. A trend further fueled by passengers’ expectations for airliners to deliver ‘individualized living spaces’ onboard. To be fully ready to answer market needs, Recaro has invested heavily in its R&D for business class seats.For most airliners, business class seating has become the signature product for their passengers as it offers most possibilities to reflect the airline brand. Integrating innovative features in business class, also helps them differentiate from the competition. At the same time passengers expect carriers to deliver individualized comfort in the sky, especially when it comes to business class. This has led to an increase in appreciation for business class seats.As a global supplier of premium aircraft seats for airlines and OEMs, Recaro has identified the evolutions in business class and in the aircraft seating market in general for the years to come.Business class to become the new first classThere will be a – further – decline in the number of first class seats in the foreseeable future: few airliners still offer first class and when they do they tend to go for a superior first class-product with limited availability. Recaro also sees a rise in demand for a wider range of business class seats. Similar to economy+ and premium economy being available next to regular economy, business class will have different category seats offering more or less features.Further development of a highly individualized business class productThe evolution towards more business class will have an effect on the business class seats themselves: since airlines have started to eliminate first class from their long-range fleet, business class has become an even bigger differentiator than it already was. Carriers expect a highly individualized product with a premium look & feel. Privacy, connectivity and interactivity, comfort and wellbeing as well as an individually adjustable seating environment equipped with personal air-conditioning and a mini-bar will become the new normal in business class. Passengers expect their own “individual living space” in the sky and that is what they will get.Bespoke and platform (business class) seatsFive-star carriers strive to be ahead of their competition by bringing innovations to the aircraft cabin. As such, these airliners expect tailor-made “bespoke” products for all their seats. Carriers with smaller fleets, on the other hand, often do not have the means to bear the costs nor the resources to go through an entire product development process. They prefer to go with a mature and/or off-the-shelf platform product, that has proven to be successful with one of the 5-star carriers, enhanced with customized features.Increase in demand for premium economyBusiness class moving up to replace first class seats, widens the gap with the economy class seats and increases the need for an‘intermediate’ economy segment. Over recent years Recaro has seen a higher demand for premium economy seats. They foresee this trend to continue in the years to come.“Recaro has a reputation of delivering high quality seats on time, be it in business, premium economy or economy class,” says Dr. Mark Hiller, CEO and Shareholder of Recaro Aircraft Seating. “In order to uphold that reputation and meet increasing demand in the business class seating, we invested heavily in research & development for that specific class. This means we are now more than ready to answer to our customers’ every need.”Recaro Aircraft seating will announce a number of innovations for the business class category at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg from April 2nd to April 4th.About RECARO Aircraft SeatingRECARO Aircraft Seating sees itself as a solution provider for its customers. As a global supplier of premium aircraft seats for airlines and OEMs, the company reported a growth averaging 10% over the past 15 years. RECARO employs 2300 people worldwide and exceeded half a billion euros in sales in 2018. It is the global market leader in the economy class seating. To secure its strategic expansion, RECARO is investing hundreds of millions in product innovation in business class seating. Over the next 5 years, it will also invest in significantly expanding its headquarters in Schwäbisch Hall as well as its sites in China, Poland and the USA. With this, RECARO consistently underpins its corporate vision of “Driving comfort in the sky”. The aim: become market leader in economy and business class seating while maintaining a permanent customer focus.About Recaro GroupThe Recaro Group comprises the independently operating divisions Recaro Aircraft Seating in Schwäbisch Hall and Recaro eGaming in Stuttgart as well as the Recaro Holding located in Stuttgart. The Group’s consolidated sales amounted to 540 million euros in 2017. Currently the Group employs more than 2,400 employees at its locations around the world. The automotive seating business as well as the child seat and stroller business are operated by licensees.
Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has today unveiled Insights – a cloud-based data analytics platform, and the latest solution set of its NEXT platform.Insights harvests onboard and third-party data from a wide range of touchpoints including inflight entertainment, connectivity, social media, location and weather monitors. It analyses this data in real-time to provide airlines with actionable insights, enabling them to create a two-way loop between them and their passengers.Insights empowers airlines to make smarter business decisions, improve the onboard passenger experience, make operational savings, pre-empt maintenance needs and ultimately drive additional revenue. Airlines will also have access to seasonal and temporal trends data with the ability to benchmark their performance against industry averages and KPIs.Insights will be accessible for airline personnel via a secure dashboard available on mobile devices including mobile phones, laptops and tablets. It has two main components, a Software as a Service (SaaS) application and Consulting.The SaaS application offers descriptive, predictive and prescriptive insights. These enable airlines to understand what has happened by looking at usage and media trends, what could happen through using sophisticated modelling techniques and targeted advertising, and what the possible outcomes could be of business decisions based on predictive analytics, price and content optimization and product recommendations.Consulting has been developed to offer airlines bespoke solutions that both help them achieve their specific objectives, and solve their unique business challenges. Consulting will also release monthly trends reports based on analysis of Panasonic’s global data which will be available on a subscription basis.David Bartlett, Chief Technology Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “Airlines today have access to more data points than ever before, and Panasonic’s Insights solution takes all the leg-work out of analysing and leveraging that data.“By fully integrating Insights across every aspect of their passenger experience, airlines will be able to use the information it delivers to optimise their passenger experience and business performance.”“It is solutions like this that will enable airlines to remain competitive in the saturated market place and continue to grow their market share.”Insights will be available in the second half of 2019.About Panasonic Avionics Corporation Panasonic Avionics Corporation is the world’s leading supplier of inflight entertainment and communication systems. The company’s best-in-class solutions, supported by professional maintenance services, fully integrate with the cabin enabling its customers to deliver the ultimate travel experiences with a rich variety of entertainment choices, resulting in improved quality communication systems and solutions, reduced time-to-market and lower overall costs.Established in 1979, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, a U.S. corporation, is a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation. Headquartered in Lake Forest, California with over 5,000 employees and operations in 80 global locations, it has delivered over 14,300 IFE systems and over 2,200 inflight connectivity solutions to the world’s leading airlines.
Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) and IMG have today announced esports as the latest addition to Sport 24 Extra’s live inflight entertainment programming.This marks the first time that live, organised, competitive gaming has been introduced to aviation. It will be accessible to passengers via the IMG-owned and produced Sport 24 Extra channel, which is available exclusively inflight on Panasonic-equipped aircraft.Introducing esports to the aircraft cabin will enable airlines to enhance the passenger experience by providing more engaging inflight gaming viewing options. It will also improve operational efficiency by providing long lasting value on investment, and drive new business opportunities through advertising and attracting a new audience.The offering marks an extension of the longstanding, successful partnership between Panasonic and IMG, that sees millions of passengers enjoy live sporting action in the skies every year.IMG’s Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra channels are available exclusively from Panasonic, with live coverage of some of the world’s most popular sporting events including the English Premier League, Bundesliga, Rugby World Cup, Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, the Masters, The Open Championship, Ryder Cup, Roland Garros, the Australian Open and Wimbledon.David Bartlett, Chief Technology Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “As passengers get younger and airlines become more digital, the need for new and engaging content is increasingly essential to compete. Esports brings significant value to an airline by enhancing the passenger experience with engaging content that has garnered one of the fastest growing audiences in entertainment. Similar to traditional sports, esports is most valuable when broadcasted live. Past live esports tournaments and matches have seen viewership surpass traditional sports.“For airlines, these innovative solutions provide a game-changing way to differentiate themselves in the market, and a unique way to drive ancillary revenue generation.”Richard Wise, SVP, Content and Channels, IMG Media, said: “Esports is fast becoming some of the most popular and engaging sporting content around the globe, and we are delighted that passengers travelling with Sport 24’s partner airlines will be able to enjoy tournaments live on-board.”Details of Sport 24 Extra’s esports programming will be announced in due course.About Panasonic Avionics Corporation Panasonic Avionics Corporation is the world’s leading supplier of inflight entertainment and communication systems. The company’s best-in-class solutions, supported by professional maintenance services, fully integrate with the cabin enabling its customers to deliver the ultimate travel experiences with a rich variety of entertainment choices, resulting in improved quality communication systems and solutions, reduced time-to-market and lower overall costs.Established in 1979, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, a U.S. corporation, is a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation. Headquartered in Lake Forest, California with over 5,000 employees and operations in 80 global locations, it has delivered over 14,300 IFE systems and 2,200 inflight connectivity solutions to the world’s leading airlines.About IMGIMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in sports training and league development, as well as marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. IMG is part of the Endeavor network.
This week’s big reveal of the stunning Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 interior represents the culmination of nearly four years of product evolution for the carrier.Virgin Atlantic VP of customer experience Daniel Kerzner, speaking to RGN on the sidelines of the A350 event in London, said the airline focused on customer research, product selection and customizing the CMF (colors, materials, and finishes) to create a distinctive sensory experience that also delivers pleasure with a warmer palette. London-based Factory Design aided in the development.“I think the product speaks for itself … the attention to detail, the design and the trim and finish, the social space that is unique to us,” Kerzner said. “I think our customers are going to love it and it’s certainly something that we’re proud of.”A Loft-y lifestyleThe new Loft, which replaces the Virgin Atlantic onboard bar concept, is a welcoming and restful spot. A lobby-style social space at the entrance to the aircraft, it can also serve as a collaborative work space and is more inclusive than a bar. It’s expertly accented with Boltaron translucent thermoplastic.Kerzner described the Loft as a natural evolution of the airline’s lifestyle brand. “Virgin Atlantic was created by Richard Branson to give people a better way to travel,” explained Kerzner. “That expectation changes over time. Trends change over time. We don’t look at other airlines, as an example, as a baseline. We look at how our customers are living their lives outside of flying. We look to residential, automotive, retail, hospitality. We look at what are the trends for our customers, how are they living their lives today, what inspires them, and what is that going to be 5-10 years from now so that we stay relevant.”Virgin Atlantic, the loft. Image: Virgin AtlanticTo gather more information on the lifestyle trends of its customers, the airline carried out several “innovation safaris” in the UK, New York and Dubai.“It’s really about bringing the external thinking in. We look at who are the best hotels in the world and what are they offering customers. Who are the best restaurants in the world? Who are the best retailers? How do we then bring that into our world in a unique and different way,” said Kerzner. “We make sure that we’re giving our customers an experience that is different from what they get on any other airline.”Product targetingThe core Virgin Atlantic customer is a leisure traveler, Kerzner said, and the Virgin Atlantic brand is associated with key milestones and celebrations in passengers’ lives. But Virgin also serves its share of business customers, including the demographic of “hidden productivity travelers” – from entrepreneurs to freelancers – who may not fit the pattern of traditional business passengers.“It’s people looking to have something different than what the norm is in the industry,” noted Kerzner. “We have a lot of people who travel with us in economy who are on business. We have a lot of startup business and people who have more flexibility in terms of the cabin they travel in. For us, it’s about how we surprise and delight, and exceed expectations, regardless of what cabin you’re in.“The airline’s tiered economy offering – economy light, classic economy and economy delight – has proven popular with customers, Kerzner said, and put the airline in a position to compete with rivals, from low-cost carriers to flagship airlines.Saying “no” to doorsVirgin Atlantic’s decision to buck the trend on doors in business class suites has more to do with the airline’s lifestyle positioning than anything else, Kerzner told RGN. The brand quality of warm sociability between passengers and crew drove the decision, but Kerzner also believes that this Upper Class product is more honest than it would be with a ‘make-shift’ door.“Unless we’re looking at [airlines like] Singapore and Emirates, which have a fully enclosed suite on board, the partial doors do not stop someone from walking by and looking into your suite,” he said. “The door creates a sociability barrier between yourself and the crew members on board, and it doesn’t give you any more privacy than the privacy dividers we’ve introduced … Unless it is a full door, it’s not a full door. It’s a marketing trick. I think that customers are going to out-smart airlines on that.”Whatever side of the door argument you’re on, Virgin Atlantic’s suite also offers passengers plenty of light, with finishes that will play off the natural light coming from the A350’s large windows, cabin mood lighting and the personal mood lighting on the customized seat.Building love by being different The Virgin Atlantic product – ground to air – reflects a desire to keep customers’ established “brand love” going.“That people want to fly Virgin certainly comes through in terms of load factors and it comes through in the momentum that we have within our business, but most importantly it comes through in the love that people have for the brand,” Kerzner said.Kerzner told RGN that the airline ran anonymous contests, offering free tickets to New York on their preferred airline, with consumers revealing a strong preference for Virgin Atlantic.“You pick the airline, and if you win you have to fly that airline,” he explained. “Virgin had 56% [of consumer requests] and the next closest had 25% … We do the research regularly to understand that, if you stripped away points, if you stripped away price, and if you stripped away benefits, what airline would you want to fly? Every time we’ve done this research – twice in London and one time in New York – every time, Virgin has been two times higher than the next highest airline.”“It’s a different experience when you walk onto a Virgin Atlantic plane and that’s what people love us for. People know when they get on a Virgin Aircraft that ‘this experience is going to be different than it is if I’m flying someone else.’,” Kerzner added. “They expect us to give them a better way to travel and we owe it to our customers to give that to them.”“It’s really difficult to be a most loved brand in any category, and that’s what gets us out to work every morning. We know that we have to be better than others, but the bigger question is how we can be different.”Related Articles:Closing doors in business while opening windows in other cabinsVirgin Atlantic eschews doors in new Cirrus NG business classDesigning cabins for the nomadic businesswoman travelerRanking 2019’s best business class seatsEvolving business class suite privacy beyond just adding a doorIf you liked it, then you (should) have put a door on itThe premium cabin trend du jour: privacy doorsBetter flight in amber: is it time to bring warmth back to cabin colors?Design for passenger pleasure: six senses of appeal
Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, today announced that its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution will be available to passengers onboard Virgin Atlantic’s brand new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.Virgin Atlantic is scheduled to receive 12 Airbus A350-1000s over the next three years, with GX Aviation pre-installed upon delivery. The service will be available once the first of these aircraft takes to the skies from late summer 2019, allowing passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, check social media, instant message and more, with speeds on par with mobile broadband on the ground.GX Aviation is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight connectivity service delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of high-throughput satellites. It was revealed as part of Virgin Atlantic’s new onboard offering on the A350-1000 earlier this week, with other key features of the aircraft including an entirely new Upper Class cabin with brand new suite and social space.Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Virgin Atlantic is firmly established as one of the aviation industry’s greatest innovators and was the first airline in Europe to offer wi-fi on all flights. Its brand new Airbus A350s will enhance the passenger experience even further and we are delighted that GX Aviation has been selected as the inflight broadband solution for the aircraft. This is another great win for our next-generation solutions.”Gail Yates, Head of Inflight Services, Virgin Atlantic, said: “We are excited to unveil details of the unparalleled onboard experience that awaits customers on our new Airbus A350-1000s. Offering modern, world-class inflight connectivity is a fundamental part of this experience. We are confident that Inmarsat’s GX Aviation will truly raise the bar and offer second-to-none broadband for our customers.”More than 1,600 aircraft are currently expected under signed contracts for Inmarsat’s next-generation inflight broadband solutions for airlines, with a new business pipeline of approximately 3,000 aircraft worldwide. To meet growing demand, Inmarsat has a fully-funded development roadmap, including three further Ka-band payloads. A fifth GX satellite will be launched later this year and two sixth-generation satellites are scheduled to launch in 2020 and 2021. In addition, planning is underway for the next generation of GX satellites.PHOTO CAPTION: Virgin Atlantic’s fleet of Airbus A350-1000 aircraft will feature Inmarsat’s award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband for passengers.About InmarsatInmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s best global portfolio of satellite networks, specifically designed for customer mobility, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance. The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners. Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government and Aviation satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high quality partner to its customers across the globe.
Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, has certified Smart4Aviation’s Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) application, Smart MOBILE, for use on its award-winning SB-S digital aircraft operations platform.Smart MOBILE is a unique solution that allows pilots, cabin crew and other airline employees to access, complete and submit documentation quickly and efficiently on their mobile devices via a single portal, helping to increase productivity, operational awareness and efficiency. It also enables peer-to-peer communication, ACARS messaging and provides instant access to briefing packages and important flight-related information, such as up-to-date weather reports and potential load, fuel and hazard alerts.The application can be tailored to match each airline customer’s exact requirements to deliver tangible cost savings. Benefits include a reduction in the frequency and duration of flight delays, together with improvements to on-time performance. In addition, increased automation and real-time information translates to a reduction in workload, resulting in less bottlenecks for both flight and cabin crew.Smart MOBILE is the latest in a range of value-added operational and safety applications to be certified via Inmarsat’s Aviation Certified Application Provider (CAP) programme for SB-S. Other available applications include flight profile optimisation, weather information, digital navigation charts, and aircraft diagnostics and performance monitoring.Mike Lewis, CEO of Smart4Aviation, said: “We are excited about this partnership, as it allows us to take another major step forward and enhance our products within a connected aircraft environment. Inmarsat is a leading provider of satellite communications solutions to airlines, operators and passengers worldwide, keeping people and systems connected at thousands of feet in the air. Together, we will be able to provide real time situational awareness to flight crew during all flight phases. These benefits will result in more efficient decision making, leading to less disruption resulting in increased cost savings and enhanced flight safety. Together with our new partner, we are ready for the future.”John Broughton, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Smart4Aviation is a global industry-leader in proving best-in-class EFB technology to airlines. With the launch of Smart MOBILE on Inmarsat’s SB-S, we look forward to bringing Smart4Aviation’s innovative solutions to our commercial airline customers, driving operational efficiency and enhancing safety with a cost-effective, tailored offering.”The SB-S digital aircraft operations platform is powered by Inmarsat’s advanced global L-band satellite constellation, which has underpinned safety services for 40 years. Inmarsat is scheduled to launch two additional L-band payloads in 2020 and 2021, further cementing its long-term commitment to offering highly reliable services over this spectrum.PHOTO CAPTION: Smart MOBILE is now available on Inmarsat’s award-winning SB-S digital aircraft operations platformSmart4Aviation’s Smart MOBILE application includes the following components: BRIEF (Pilot Briefing, Navlog and Fuel Ordering), BRIEF CABIN (Cabin Crew Briefing), CREW INFO (Calendar & Roster), DOC (Operational Manuals), eFORMS (Electronic Forms) and COMM (Communication & Alerting). Learn more about Smart4Aviation and Smart MOBILE here.About InmarsatInmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s best global portfolio of satellite networks, specifically designed for customer mobility, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance. The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners. Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government and Aviation satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high quality partner to its customers across the globe.About Smart4AviationSmart4Aviation is a company founded to provide web based and mobile products and services to optimize, simplify and improve airline operations. The company is committed to the delivery of single, modular solutions which create a unique IT ecosystem, supporting all domains of aviation operations. Web-based applications are accessed through modern, light-weight technologies and endpoints, with the intent of providing the best possible user experience and operational benefit to S4A customers. S4A goal is to provide tools that airlines can use to solve problems, generate productivity and efficiency gains, and increase levels of operational awareness and communication for both operational staff and flight crew. Smart4Aviation is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands with its development offices located in Gdansk and Krakow, Poland. It also conducts business activity in Toronto, Canada and New York City, USA.
The following statement was issued by Boeing on 29 April 2019, after news reports suggested the airframer didn’t initially disclose it had deactivated 737 MAX disagree alert.We want to provide a response to several news stories yesterday and today reporting on the disagree alert on the 737 MAX.Boeing included the disagree alert as a standard feature on the MAX, although this alert has not been considered a safety feature on airplanes and is not necessary for the safe operation of the airplane. Boeing did not intentionally or otherwise deactivate the disagree alert on its MAX airplanes.The disagree alert was intended to be a standard, stand-alone feature on MAX airplanes. However, the disagree alert was not operable on all airplanes because the feature was not activated as intended.The disagree alert was tied or linked into the angle of attack indicator, which is an optional feature on the MAX. Unless an airline opted for the angle of attack indicator, the disagree alert was not operable.On every airplane delivered to our customers, including the MAX, all flight data and information needed to safely operate the aircraft is provided in the flight deck and on the flight deck display. This information is readily accessible to pilots, and it always has been.The air speed, attitude, and altitude displays, together with the stick shaker, are the primary flight information indicators in the flight deck. All recommended pilot actions, checklists, and training are based upon these primary indicators, not on the AOA disagree alert or the angle of attack indicator.As the MAX safely returns to the air after the software modifications are approved and certified, all MAX production aircraft will have an activated and operable disagree alert and an optional angle of attack indicator. All customers with previously delivered MAX airplanes will have the ability to activate the disagree alert per a service bulletin to airlines.We are confident that when the MAX returns to the skies, it will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.
Another model is Jamco’s Quest for Elegance staggered seat, which has rather than a full door a sliding half-partition, with the assumption being that nobody really needs privacy for their ankles, and if you can save half the weight and mechanism of a door then that’s all very well and good.Jamco’s latest seat offers a sliding panel — is this the future? Image: John WaltonBy contrast, it seems unlikely to me that the curtain model from Air France’s most recent La Première seats has legs, given the requirements for unimpeded seat-to-ceiling space, at least until the regulators finally come up with chapter and verse on how they actually want to certify this kind of seat.The idea that keeps coming back, though, is something from twenty years ago: the fold-down fan from the original British Airways Club World flatbed, manufactured by one of Safran’s predecessors. Could some semi-rigid folding apparatus descend from beside the seat — perhaps, in a way, like the sun-shade on a baby’s pram? — to provide a lot of the privacy benefits with few of the weight, width or certification drawbacks? Or is the answer something else entirely?Stelia added a larger sliding panel on its Elysium update to its Equinox seat — could that have read-across to suites? Image: John WaltonRelated Articles:Virgin Atlantic eschews doors in new Cirrus NG business classRegulations covering doored business class mini-suites evolveIf you liked it, then you (should) have put a door on itDelta has good reason to be proud of Delta One SuitesWinning the zero-sum game with storage and features, not angles, doorsEvolving business class suite privacy beyond just adding a doorHow many doors do you really need, asks Jamco’s Spread Your WingsThe premium cabin trend du jour: privacy doors$500 for a door? Delta starts charging for better biz PaxEx (The #KoolAidModel reference, for those of you who aren’t familiar…) pic.twitter.com/Bu00CtQDCo— John Walton ✈️ 💺 (@thatjohn) April 3, 2019 Last year I coined the idea of the Beyoncé Model for updated business class seats with doors on the side giving business mini-suites: “if you liked it, then you should have put a door on it”. That model has since been adopted by something of a “beyhive” of airlines, from China Eastern to British Airways and others in between.But doors are complex, they take away width, they are heavy, and they are, at present, in something of a regulatory grey area.If you believe Virgin Atlantic — which decided on a Safran Cirrus NG seat without a door for its next-generation Upper Class product on the A350, citing the fact that Virgin is a “social airline” — they also prevent connections between crew and passengers.Safety regulations around doored suites are complex — and currently ad hoc. Image: John WaltonI’m not sure I buy the Virgin line, since I seek out privacy as a rare commodity when I’m fortunate enough to travel up front, but it’s possible they’re not wrong about doors.During and after the Aircraft Interiors Expo, the overall mood in the industry is that doors are a very easy answer to the question of privacy, something that many passengers want. (Those “social airline” aficionados, or those who prefer a more open cabin, of course, have the option of leaving their door open.) And airlines want to give it to them, particularly the “fast follower” airlines that may not be up for creating a product but are happy to take it once it’s designed, certified and produced.“Fast followers — maybe not the inventors — they are asking for a door, because for sure they want to follow. Other ones with experience are asking for privacy. In the end, there is still a very good solution missing,” Recaro chief executive officer Mark Hiller tells Runway Girl Network.Recaro, of course, offers a Beyoncé door on its CL6710 compact staggered seat, although that has not been publicly chosen by any customers.But Hiller is notably bullish on the idea that there’s a better answer to the privacy question.“I think what is needed is to have a concept that provides privacy on demand,” Hiller says. “That’s the reason why, so far, a door is still a good solution, because you can decide if you want privacy or not. But what needs to be figured out how to do it in a better, maybe less or more maintenance-friendly or lighter weight.”Safran’s Versa offers an integrated door. Image: SafranEnter Safran, which has ported across its flexible, magnetic-lock screen from SKYlounge where we saw it last year to Versa, its next-generation herringbone, which is not only elegant, lightweight and integrated, but also neatly solves regulatory questions in a way I’ve nicknamed the Kool-Aid Model, thanks to the large jug mascot of the eponymous beverage, who is a fan of bursting through walls. Oh yeah indeed.
Imagine a future where managers and executives at airframers and suppliers can move instantly from Toulouse to Tianjin, Seattle to Singapore, Cwmbran to Kadoma at the tap of a key, giving project managers and leadership real-time views of progress on an airframe, a seat, an inflight entertainment system.That’s the future that Altran sees, and the first step to getting there is a project that “recreated a complete aeronautical plant as part of a proof of concept for the smart factory of the future,” Altran spokesperson Karoline Heidtmann tells Runway Girl Network. “The application allows a virtual visit to the factory, including information about the operations of the plant through virtual dashboards in real time, with analytics performed on the IoT platform for predictive maintenance.”Including a training scenario for one of the maintenance processes from the factory and a management capability demonstration (rescheduling a maintenance operation), it’s clear that this is only the beginning for this technology, which is currently based on static imagery rather than live video.At present, it uses three technologies. To build the 3D model, Altran’s supplier used drone-based photogrammetry to take measurements, using GPS, angles and photographs to feed into its computer aided design, in this case CATIA, the software suite from Dassault. Images from the real factory were then placed on top of the CAD models by Altran and outsourced developers, and presented in the application, with from-scratch modeling of non-virtualized elements and object using the photogrammetry images as reference.But it’s not just a demonstrator. Altran is also planning to use some of the techniques for future projects, and has used the VR factory as a proof of concept. To create a live factory, Altran currently expects to require a large amount of data from the factory. That would include a digital twin process, where individual machines’ live performance from the real world part of the twin is fed back into the virtual twin, in a way that enginemakers and airframers are already using to greater and lesser extents on their products. Live streaming would also be required, but none of these needs are either revolutionary or dealbreakers.This is still very much a proof of concept, but it’s by no means an unreasonable dream. Image: John WaltonThere are, however, five key barriers that Altran sees. Firstly, industrial security and data regulations: nobody wants their live factory to be viewable by just anyone online. Secondly, network limitations, where infrastructure underinvestment in some countries may mean that connection improvements, redundancy or supplementation are required to deal with bandwidth, lag or other problems. Third, there may well be a large data acquisition effort: companies and factories may imagine that they are digital organizations when in fact they are not.Barriers four and five come when the live virtual factory wants to be two-way, with interaction between the remote participant and factory-based machinery a challenge, at which point the performance limits of the remote IT setup and the comms robustness between the remote and factory-based ends may also pose issues.Limitations of the remote-end computer system may end up being a temporary blocker. Image: John WaltonThe key technologies, though, are largely in place. Virtual reality, says Heidtmann, “is mature enough and it will be improved in terms of quality of the headset and how easy is the set up”. The IoT is well established on the ground even as it continues to push onto the aircraft, and sensors are increasingly connected and available. Analytics requires more consideration along the ‘solutions looking for problems’ sort of angle, while biometric monitoring (EEG in particular) raises huge ethical questions.But with supply chain problems from engines to cabins, the ability for an airframer’s program management team to hop instantly from the production site of lavatories, seats, galleys, engines, and any other crucial component will be nothing short of revolutionary.Using a virtual glove, Altran was demonstrating the possibilities of manipulating the virtual world. Image: John WaltonRelated Articles:Jamco uses Mixed Reality tech to help on-the-fly seat fixesVR could be a boon to aircraft interiors, if properly appliedOptech4D pitches AR, VR training and testing solutions to aviationRockwell Collins finds virtual reality drives seat designAltran opens up future of crew wearables with usable prototypePodcast 031: Getting real about Virtual Reality in aviation
Global entertainment and media agency Spafax announced today that it has been selected by Japan Airlines (JAL) to license, curate and deliver its short-form content selection onboard all aircraft including TV shows, documentaries and compilations.Ryoichi Ikeda, President at JAL Brand Communications, said: “This is the first time in over a decade we announce a new in-flight entertainment partner. We are impressed with Spafax’s proven track record of content delivery and I’m confident they will help us bring a fresh perspective on entertainment for our passengers.”In the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games the Japanese Transport Ministry is anticipating upwards of 40 million foreign visitors.Niall McBain, Chief Executive at Spafax said: “All eyes will be on Japan with the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and we’re thrilled to help Japan Airlines elevate its onboard experience and deliver a top notch service to their passengers.”About JAL Brand Communications Co., LtdJAL Brand Communications Co., Ltd. is a group company of Japan Airlines, established in 2004 in Tokyo, Japan. It specializes in planning and production for in-flight entertainment (movies, audio programs, games, etc), website, JAL group in-flight magazines, members magazines and advertising in the mentioned publications.About Spafax GroupThe Spafax Group is one of the world’s leading providers of media sales, entertainment curation and content marketing. Originally founded to serve the airline market, Spafax Group companies now support a wide variety of leading brands around the world. Current clients include Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates the Lufthansa Group, Mercedes-Benz, Singapore Airlines and many others. The group is headquartered in London with over a dozen offices around the world. Spafax is a WPP company.
Runway Girl Network has favored the phrase “the gloves are off” to describe the war of words amongst certain inflight connectivity stakeholders over the years. But you’ll surely forgive us for using it in reference to the battle playing out on the nextgen air-to-ground (ATG) IFC front in the United States.SmartSky is committed to rolling out its 4G LTE network with elements of 5G technology this year, a timeline that has moved to the right. Gogo plans to launch a 5G network in 2021, representing fresh messaging after the ZTE debacle early last year caught Gogo mid-stride as it was developing its nextgen ATG system.Each firm believes it has a far better mousetrap than its rival.He said, He saidSuggesting that Gogo knows “a lot more about how to do this than they do”, Gogo president and CEO Oakleigh Thorne tells RGN in reference to SmartSky: “They’ve made a lot of noise for a long time. They’ve failed to deliver. At some point they may; we’re comfortable with them if they do deliver. We have a better product, a redundant network with 4G and back-up if there is interference in unlicensed spectrum. SmartSky won’t have that backup.”SmartSky co-founder and president Ryan Stone admits that the company’s EIS timelime has slipped to the right, saying: “We found that the technologies out there alone are insufficient to make an ATG network perform reliably in the unlicensed band, unless you have our innovation patents.” Specifically, there was one component – a remote radio head – that SmartSky “wanted to make sure met our performance and reliability expectations and now that it does, we’re off to the races and putting that component up on sites”, he reveals to RGN.That’s why SmartSky published a press release on 30 May. “What we’ve announced is our final phase of the plan; that’s what we’re in. When we say we’re going live in a couple months, that is what we mean,” says Stone.Stone contests the notion that SmartSky needs back-up for the 2.4 GHz of unlicensed spectrum it is using, noting that the reason SmartSky’s patent story is so strong – it has been granted 128 patents and another 90 are pending – is to ensure it can make a network function properly in the unlicensed band, including in areas of dense urban population where there is high wifi noise. That is technology “that Gogo doesn’t have”, he suggests.Rather, he says, Gogo is effectively saying ‘we will fall back on our ZTE system’, a network that is “already congested in the areas where they think they have to fall back on. So, their performance is already poor and would remain poor…”“We’re about an exceptional user experience”, says Stone, adding: “You don’t need band redundancy if you can do that in the unlicensed service.”With specific regard to SmartSky’s patent portfolio, Gogo’s Thorne says, “We are very comfortable with our position and the technology we have and do not feel that they have any patents that apply to us and are valid.”Gogo’s winding path to 5GGogo has been technically working on a nextgen ATG solution “since 2010 or 2011”, notes Thorne, though there have of course been different flavors to the solution. The company invested significant time and effort in pushing for access to the 14 GHz spectrum band (used by Ku satellites), which was expected to be licensed by the FCC. However, numerous objections to a 14 GHz secondary license auction, including from the Association of Flight Attendants, ultimately saw the FCC take no action, leaving Gogo without the new spectrum it desired.“Then, we and SmartSky, at about the same time, figured out the government regulations around access to the 2.4 GHz spectrum so we started pursuing a beamforming solution using the unlicensed range and having our [4 MHz slice in the] 850 MHz spectrum to back that up. That was going to be an LTE 4G solution,” recalls Thorne for RGN. He says Gogo “got very close” to implementation, having developed 10 towers which it tested on flights between Michigan and Colorado. Gogo saw peak speeds of 100 Mbps and median speeds of 30 Mbps.PWhen the news dropped last year that the US government had implemented a trade ban on ZTE, Gogo was “literally about to take delivery of 50 towers to install the nextgen ATG system in LTE format”, confides Throne. But internally, some Gogo engineers had been “already egging to get into 5G and were a little upset” when management didn’t pursue it earlier.“So they’ve been working on that [5G] since the government first raised issues with ZTE early last year,” he says.To date, Gogo has done a lot of basic R&D work, and selected vendors for its 5G network. But how much of the former nextgen ATG plan can be retained? Thorne says the firm spent $25 million on the ZTE/2.4 GHz approach “and we had a lot of good learning out of that and can apply some of that for the 5G network. However, in terms of designing the equipment, that sort of thing, we’ll have to spend money in designing equipment. I don’t know how much of the $25 million of learning we can use but we spent it and we’re not giving it back.” But on a go-forward basis, he says, Gogo is deep in design right now, and as it gets through each phase – PDR [preliminary design review], CDR [critical design review], etc, – it will come out with more specifics on timing and speed and what the cost will be.Outside of the obvious business aviation and commercial RJ applications, what are the opportunities for Gogo 5G ATG in the commercial airline space? Thorne says that while US carriers have satellite solutions for a lot of their mainline aircraft, there are still some with smaller mainline aircraft that haven’t installed “so there might be some opportunity there”.What about augmenting satcom with 5G ATG, RGN asked? Gogo’s grounded ground-to-orbit (GTO) solution, which combined satellite and terrestrial services and “was like the Ford Edsel of Gogo history”, quips Thorne, might be something that Gogo would look at exploiting. “It’s a possibility but there is no firm plan for that right now.”Made in AmericaThorne assures that Gogo’s partners for the 5G network “are all United States based on this one”. After all, the Trump Administration is not alone in its concerns about Chinese tech giants, with Thorne noting that Senators Schumer and Rubio are always trying to add legislation.Yet, like other US IFC providers, Gogo is hoping to break into the satellite-supported IFC market in China. Should it be concerned about barriers on the Chinese side? “The environment is so uncertain. I don’t think you can really answer that question,” says Thorne, noting that while Gogo’s relationships are strong in China “things could change at any minute as you know” under the current climate.Strong wordsThough SmartSky’s 4G LTE network has some 5G components and features including software defined radios, network function virtualization, network slicing, beamforming, primary Internet gateway relocation and low latency architecture, Stone is not concerned that customers will make unfavorable comparisons between what SmartSky is doing and Gogo’s announced plan.In a gloves-off moment, he tells RGN that SmartSky’s customers “can see through phantom announcements to see who is actually doing things and who’s ahead, and we’re a few years ahead of our competitor’s announcement.“We’re doing this right now. Instead of hyping 5G, we try to show them [our customers] where we use it and where we’re not. I don’t want to create an expectation – as has been done in the past – [whereby someone says] here’s the speeds you’re going to get and nobody gets it and they’re disappointed. Others have marketed 3G EVDO Rev as 4G, so we don’t like to do that, and instead we are going to help keep people informed, and show them [in terms of] the technologies that come out, we have the capabilities of both leading and continuing to grow.”He adds, “The goal isn’t about what do you call the network, it’s what’s the most compelling user experience.”Nextgen ATG and telco partnershipsBoth SmartSky and Gogo can envisage creative telco partnerships with airlines that would ensure passengers have a far more seamless service.“You’re already seeing that take place in the market itself, the first experiments. If you go around the world, it’s done differently,” says Stone. “You can use your phone as a login device, a sponsorship or integration; that’s been done. I think that’s where we’re headed. Our primary focus this year is getting the network launched, and once we have done that, we can spend a little bit more time on how to make it easier to interact with all the other devices out there relative to logins. I know a lot of the airlines we talk to are in some ways handling that at their level, single sign-in, so we’re already seeing that. I think the Seamless Air Alliance is a great effort. We’re not yet members but we’re well aware of what they’re doing and I think it’s a notable goal.” In terms of selecting value added resellers for its service, SmartSky has made continued progress. Honeywell is the first SmartSky VAR to be announced, and will serve airlines in North America.In reference to seamless roaming, Gogo’s Thorne tells RGN, “We could roll out a very seamless experience right now; it comes down to the commercial relationships between telcos and airlines to really enable that, the technologies around right now to enable that, and we think that would be terrific. We view ourselves as a technology enabler for those relationships and as airlines value IFC more and they want to be more in control of that, our job is to provide them the tools with that, and our job is to provide that seamless technology in order to do that if they want to make those commercial relationships. And I think it would be very good for the industry generally.”He says Gogo had some issues with how the Seamless Air Alliance wanted to handle intellectual property “and they didn’t want to change their agreement for us so we decided not to join”. On top of that, he says, Gogo doesn’t really view the alliance as necessary to facilitate the seamless roaming described. “That technology exists today. Frankly we don’t think there is much to develop.” If Gogo’s partners want the firm to join, says Thorne, “we probably would, but we haven’t had any pressure to do so.”Related Articles:Press Release: SmartSky taps Honeywell as VAR for airlinesSmartSky readies to announce VARs for 4G LTE inflight connectivitySeamless Air Alliance lab work begins with multiple players at SprintHow SITAONAIR and Panasonic are preparing for 5G inflight cellularGore seals its position as supplier on two big nextgen IFC programsGogo assessing impact of ZTE troubles; addressing 2Ku reliabilityOne-on-one with SmartSky Networks president Ryan StoneSmartSky eyes commercial go-live date for LTE network in near-termGogo pushes forward on next-gen ATG; 100Mbit aheadFlight attendants oppose it but IFC spectrum auction now likelyWhat if Gogo GTO never flies?SmartSky eyes spectrum options for 4G LTE networkPress Release: Gogo to launch 5G network in 2021Press Release: SmartSky sees competitive edge for network with 5G tech
Liberty Hall Capital Partners (“Liberty Hall“), a private equity firm focused exclusively on investments in businesses serving the global aerospace and defense industry, announced today that it has executed a definitive agreement to sell AIM Aerospace, a leading designer and producer of advanced composite structures, systems, engine components and thermoplastic technology for the global aerospace industry, to Sekisui Chemical Group (“Sekisui”) for US$510 million in cash, subject to customary adjustments.“AIM Aerospace is an integrated and diversified composite supplier with an innovative approach and proven track record on delivering a range of full-service solutions for the commercial and military aircraft and engine markets,” said Rowan Taylor, Liberty Hall’s founding and Managing Partner.“Over the past three years through our partnership with AIM Aerospace, the company has expanded its capabilities, diversified its customer base and extended its geographic reach. AIM Aerospace is now leading the way in the implementation of advanced thermoplastics and intelligent automation for aerospace in North America. As demand for composite components continues to increase, we are pleased that AIM Aerospace is well-positioned to deliver a new generation of complex products to the industry. We are very proud to transfer leadership to Sekisui to oversee the next chapter in AIM Aerospace’s expansion.”Founded in 1988 as part of the UK-based AIM Group PLC, Renton, WA-based AIM Aerospace has more than 1,000 employees operating from its manufacturing centers of excellence and research and technology center located in the United States. The company’s key customers include The Boeing Company, GE, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Spirit AeroSystems. AIM Aerospace was acquired by Liberty Hall in 2016 to serve as the foundational asset of the firm’s strategy to build a fully-integrated, diversified composites supplier. In 2017, Liberty Hall acquired Quatro Composites, a leading supplier of highly engineered advanced composite structures, components and assemblies for the aerospace industry, and integrated the company into AIM Aerospace.“With the support of Liberty Hall, AIM Aerospace has grown stronger in the past three years by extending its leadership position in manufacturing of complex thermoplastic aerospace components, growing its customer base, and entering the engine composites segment of the market,” said Taylor Catarozoli, Partner, Liberty Hall. “AIM Aerospace has demonstrated an ability to deliver innovative solutions to complex problems as one integrated platform, and we applaud the company’s leadership, led by Daniele Cagnatel, for their work in transforming the company and creating new opportunities.”“Through our partnership with Liberty Hall and the relentless efforts of our skilled employees, AIM Aerospace has built on its strengths in composite thermoplastics manufacturing, and successfully positioned itself on key growth programs in structures and engine components on both Boeing and Airbus platforms.” said Daniele Cagnatel, Chief Executive Officer, AIM Aerospace. “We appreciate the support of Liberty Hall in preparing us to reach the next stage of growth. We are excited to join the Sekisui Group, and plan to leverage their strong industrial, material and manufacturing expertise to further enhance our capabilities, as well as utilize their global presence to better serve our current and emerging customer needs.”Completion of the transaction is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions and applicable regulatory reviews.Lincoln International served as sell-side financial advisor to Liberty Hall. Legal advice to Liberty Hall was provided by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.About Liberty Hall Capital PartnersLiberty Hall Capital Partners is a private equity firm focused exclusively on investments in businesses serving the global aerospace and defense industry. Liberty Hall’s principals have a 25-plus year history of working together and have led the investment of over $2.5 billion in equity capital in over 25 businesses serving multiple segments of the aerospace and defense industry and complementary industrial end markets. Liberty Hall develops actionable investment strategies for attractive segments of the aerospace and defense industry and then partners with entrepreneurs and management teams to acquire leading businesses serving these segments and, together with them, develops sound, long-term strategic plans to build these businesses through a combination of strategic investments and strategic acquisitions.About AIM AerospaceAIM Aerospace is a leading designer and producer of advanced composite structures, systems, engine components and thermoplastic technology for the global aerospace industry. AIM’s multiple and highly complementary capabilities allow the delivery of products to its customers with optimal cost, quality and delivery. AIM Aerospace has been manufacturing and engineering products for the aerospace and defense markets for over 30 years. Based in Renton, Washington, AIM Aerospace is currently executing a strategic plan to build its business through strategic investments in further capabilities, customers and platforms.About SEKISUI CHEMICAL GroupThe SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group consists of SEKISUI CHEMICAL CO., LTD (TSE: 4204), whose headquarters is in Japan, and its subsidiaries. Twenty-six thousand employees work in over 200 companies in 21 countries, aiming to improve the lives of the people of the world and the earth’s environment. The group conducts business in the fields of residential and social infrastructure creation and chemical solutions. Since its founding in 1947, the SEKISUI CHEMICAL group has dedicated itself to contributing to social development and environmental improvement and it has recently been selected as one of the Global 100 most sustainable companies. SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group will continue to show its strong presence for 100 years or longer.
On my way to the 2019 IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul, I had a choice to make. Flying Korean Air, I could opt to take the once cutting-edge Airbus A380 out of New York JFK, or I could go slightly out of my way to Boston to fly on the airline’s newest type, the Boeing 787-9. The Boston route was not even a month into its launch, but it was the obvious choice for this #PaxEx nerd.After a quick hop up to Boston on the American “shuttle” and a terminal change, I checked in and headed to the Air France lounge. The lounge is located near the boarding gate Korean used, but is mostly a windowless space that I wouldn’t want to spend a ton of time in. There are some decent food and beverage options, but I wanted to save my appetite for dining on board.On board the big blue 787-9, I turned left into the Prestige cabin, featuring just three rows of the airline’s newest Prestige Suite product. Row one contained Korean’s now discontinued First Class cabin, which was the same Prestige Suite with some extremely minor modifications. The intimate cabin sports an interesting take on the recent premium cabin suite craze, with seats in each row being slightly offset, providing a small passageway for passengers in window seats to access the aisle without stepping over anyone. The passageway also provided a shelf for storage of the random assortment of items people fly with these days. Each seat felt like it provided a great amount of privacy without having to add a “door” to get it done.After a quick pre-flight beverage, the 787 departed a wonderful uncongested Boston Logan for the 14-hour flight to Incheon. Just after takeoff it was time for lunch. First up was a roasted bell pepper roll with cream cheese, a seared prawn and scallop salad as an appetizer, and my choice of the Korean Bibimbap for the main course.Service of the courses was efficient but somewhat rushed, an odd feeling for such a long flight. Menus were collected after ordering, so I had to rely on a photo I took of the menu for the rest of the flight if I wanted to see the drink selection.While the Bibimap was tasty enough with enough of the hot pepper sauce sprinkled on it, I found the minced beef portion to be insufficient for a main course. This simply wasn’t going to cut it until dinner, even after the delicious and huge bread pudding dessert.At some point between the two meals I asked for a ramen noodle snack, which was prepared wonderfully and hit the spot. The shrimp dumpling noodle soup dinner was good, but with just two dumplings was once again on the small side.Without Wi-Fi installed on any of the operating Korean Air fleet (the enabled 737 MAX is grounded), all waking eyes would be glued to the Thales entertainment screens. While the system was responsive enough when controlled through the tethered handset (I only made it reboot once), the content selection was woefully insufficient.I’ve seen tons more content loaded on Delta regional jets, and this 787 operates routes that span the globe. Once again I had to bust out the trusty iPad, which I loaded with offline content in anticipation of this issue. The USB port at my seat was inoperative, so I had to rely on the AC power outlet to keep things charged up.I managed to get a few hours of sleep, aided in part by just how utterly private the seat feels. I had plenty of room to stretch out and the footwell wasn’t too compact like on some other similar seat configurations. The biggest annoyance on board was simply how warm it was. Korean did not configure its 787s with personal air vents, so passengers are at the mercy of whatever temperature the crew sets. Naturally, that was much higher than I preferred for sleeping. Being on the sunny side of the aircraft certainly didn’t help, as much as the electrochromic window shades tried to keep out the heat it just wasn’t enough. All the enhanced pressure and humidity of the 787 means nothing to me if I’m roasting in my seat.The highlight of this flight was most certainly the Prestige Suite hard product. Nothing about the catering, entertainment, or service really stood out as particularly memorable. If you can put up with the heat, though, you’re bound to get a good night’s sleep, and that’s what matters most to me on a longhaul flight.Note: This flight was provided by IATA and Korean Airlines, but all opinions and statements are that of the author. All images are credited to the author, Jason RabinowitzRelated Articles:Considering whether American Airlines Shuttle is special…or notIcelandair over the Atlantic: perfectly fine but left wanting moreAlaska versus JetBlue: A study in transcon PaxEx outside the Big ThreeFormer CBB customer Korean Air re-embraces IFC with MAX deliveriesFour strange choices make for an odd Korean Air regional first flightKorean Air picks same B/E Apex seat for 787-9 business and first
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Five decades after the launch of the Airbus A300, its direct descendent the A330neo continues to show how the design of Airbus’ first aircraft influences the passenger experience of today, and nowhere was this shown so clearly as at this year’s Paris Air Show, the same event at which the A300 was unveiled all those years ago.From the new 460-passenger maximum capacity for the A300-900neo, to orders from Cebu Pacific and Virgin Atlantic at two extremes of #PaxEx, from the AirAsia X and Air Mauritius interiors on show at similar extremes, this evolutionary aircraft may well be the final chapter in the story of the A300, Airbus’ first jet, which celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of its programme launch at the 1969 Paris Air Show.The A330 started life as the A300-B9, a stretched version of Airbus’ first aircraft, the development sizing of which was initially planned with the B-codes 1-9, as seen in the A300-B4 and -B6, before Airbus started incrementing aircraft names by tens instead. The A310, or A300-B10, came later, as did the A340, or A300-B11.Design-wise, the A330 — including the re-engined, re-cabined A330neo — shares much with the A300 from a passenger experience viewpoint, notably including its 5.64m (18 feet, six inches) wide fuselage, arranged in its standard economy class 2-4-2 configuration, with a high-density version in a 3-3-3 layout.Both configurations remain offered on the shared fuselage today, despite Airbus’ recent tilt towards suggesting that even full-service premium airlines might like to add the tighter version to their cabin portfolios. And, indeed, both layouts were on show at Le Bourget this year, giving a useful comparison.The A300 created the mold for Airbus’ ultra-narrow leisure “charter” LCC nine-abreast configuration on the fuselage that the aircraft shares with the A330 and A340. Image: John WaltonOn the more comfortable, feature-filled side, it was Air Mauritius’ A330neo with its 2-4-2 configuration containing 260 economy class seats with a generous 32” pitch and an on-demand inflight entertainment system from Thales that would have astounded the designers and passengers of fifty years ago.PaxEx improvements include the redesigned Airspace cabin on the A330neo. Image: John WaltonAirAsia X’s A330neo, meanwhile, isn’t quite a Cebu Pacific max-pax version, but its 377-seater is certainly up there in terms of capacity on account of the nine-abreast seating in economy class, offering over a hundred economy seats more than Air Mauritius on the same aircraft.The only bell or whistle is a power socket, and one can’t help but wonder what the first cabin outfitters would have made of the need for that. BYO record player and pop a stack of 45s in the hat-rack?In fairness to AirAsia X, it offers reasonable legroom. Image: John WaltonBut on the basics, “now everyone can fly longhaul” is the AirAsia X motto, and indeed extending the privilege of being able to afford air travel to more passengers is one of AirAsia’s stated goals.Larger travelers may well not have the greatest time flying longhaul down the back. In fairness to AirAsia X, though, it’s very inexpensive, the seat pitch isn’t bad even in the cheap seats, it provides a very simple way to book an extra seat, and it offers twelve angled lie-flat seats up front.Angled lie-flat seats, as seen on AirAsia X’s A330neo, would arrive some 30 years after the A300 was launched. Image: John WaltonThese seats are, as with the A300’s initial premium cabin — then first class — arranged in a 2-2-2 layout of largely recliner seats. Indeed, Air Transat, the largest western operator of A300-family aircraft in its A310s, still offers this configuration in its Club Class seating.Today, of course, that sort of widebody recliner experience is primarily premium economy, which is universally experienced on the A330 and indeed the A330neo in a 2-3-2 layout.From the age of squashy first class recliners to the age of space-saving staggered business class flatbeds… Image: John WaltonUp front on Air Mauritius, meanwhile, the Stelia Solstys seats are a solid staggered product in a 1-2-1 layout, the technology behind which is so far beyond what was available on the original A300 to be almost akin to magic.But the A300 has influences beyond its direct descendants. In the early development years of the programme, the design of the aircraft that would become the A300 was much larger, with a fuselage width somewhere between the 777 and 747, and a length to sit some 300 passengers.The A300 shrank to its eventual size partly due to market demand for smaller aircraft — shades of the A380, perhaps? — and partly due to engine availability, a subject which is of course not unfamiliar to any airframer today.Indeed, the A350 XWB, whose -900 base model is listed at starting 300 passengers and whose “extra wide body” is at the crossroads of Airbus’ strategic passenger experience decisions, bears something of a passing resemblance to this first Airbus concept.Did the creators of the A300 imagine that its direct descendent could look like this in economy? Image: John WaltonRelated Articles:
Airlines don’t always move quickly to address airworthiness directives. And on occasion, some carriers miss AD deadlines altogether. That’s why air travelers will be heartened to learn that most Honeywell Phase 3 display units on Boeing 737NG and 777 aircraft have been upgraded since the US Federal Aviation Administration in 2014 issued an AD to address their susceptibility to RF transmissions.“We have already upgraded 8,000 DUs, leaving less than 400 to be converted under the AD at no cost to our customers,” says Honeywell spokesman Scott Sayres.The remaining 400 units “might represent 70 or fewer aircraft” and “many of them could be on retired aircraft or simulators”, Honeywell notes in a statement.Industry is working against a 5 November 2019 deadline to convert any remaining affected DUs still flying.Honeywell Phase 3 DUs first showed themselves susceptible to “blanking” several years ago on the ground, during electro magnetic interference certification testing of wireless broadband systems on 737NG aircraft. The news – which was first exclusively reported in 2011 by your author for her then employer Flightglobal – stymied certain inflight connectivity installs for a spell.As a condition for receiving supplemental type certification for inflight connectivity systems, some 737NG operators placed placards on the flight decks, instructing crew that Wi-Fi devices had to be powered off. That inhibited them from bringing Wi-Fi capabilities to pilots’ electronic flight bags, which is considered a key way to drive operational benefits from inflight connectivity.The FAA “approved certain STCs with such limitations as a means of compliance until a permanent solution was available”, the agency admitted in its 2014 AD. “However, we intended those limitations as interim action until permanent corrective actions for the unsafe condition became available for the baseline airplanes. We do not consider it adequate to leave those operating limitations in place permanently as the sole corrective action for the unsafe condition.”As such, 737NG and 777 operators with Phase 3 DUs were incentivized to get moving on the avionics upgrade.To wit, even though all-737 operator Southwest Airlines saw a negligible level of risk, it was among the first carriers to begin retrofitting its flight decks with new avionics, starting as early as 2013 when the FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in advance of the AD.Southwest spokeswoman Michelle Agnew says the airline removed the last affected display unit in September 2018. Asked by RGN if Southwest has ever observed blanking on the ground or in-flight due to Wi-Fi or cell interference, Agnew says, “We’re not aware of any reports of interference.”Importantly, as Honeywell said in 2011 – and as the aerospace giant reiterates now – there “has never been a report of our DUs blanking in-flight because of HIRF/Wi-Fi interference”.That message may have been lost when Bloomberg on 19 July published an article that, among other assertions, appeared to conflate the Phase 3 DU issue with reports found in the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) database about avionics blanking in-flight.These pilot reports “are completely unrelated to the Wi-Fi and cell phone issue”, insists Honeywell in a strongly worded response to Bloomberg‘s article.“Pilots have reported blanking incidents that could arise from a variety of causes, including aircraft power interruptions or display reconfigurations. Upon learning of these incidents earlier this year – which were reported at a small number of remote airports and only on a particular flight path – Honeywell swiftly and extensively investigated the issue, which has been remedied through operating manual updates and pilot training for those affected airports. We have already developed a software update that is currently in flight testing and we expect it to be FAA certified this year,” says the firm.Moreover, the ASRS reports are difficult to verify since most of the data that Honeywell needs is scrubbed. “There is no way for us to tell the specific instances Bloomberg mentions are actually issues related to our units,” notes Honeywell’s Sayres to RGN.So do cell phones pose a safety risk on aircraft due to interference with avionics? It seems careless to answer with a definitive ‘no, that’s impossible’ given that an admittedly limited number of aircraft still carry the Honeywell Phase 3 DUs, which were shown to be susceptible to RF transmissions during on-ground testing.Equally, however, Bloomberg seems to have taken some speculative liberties in its article, and has since corrected the piece, though a fair amount of information in its report has been known for years.It should be noted that the FAA received pushback when it first proposed rulemaking on the issue, including from airline trade group A4A. This prompted the agency to respond that: “We do not agree that no problems have occurred on in-service airplanes, since the Wi-Fi STC testing that disclosed this susceptibility was conducted on an in-service airplane equipped with phase 3 DUs.”Related Articles:Lufthansa Captain’s log shows near 8-year connected EFB effortHoneywell eyes thousands more tails for Primus Epic integrated cockpitCabin monitoring system takes aim at electromagnetic interferenceLine in the sand shifts between cabin & flight deck connectivitySouthwest begins replacing certain Honeywell displaysIFC cost benefit analysis changes when emissions, ops factored inHoneywell works with Inmarsat to make black box in the cloud a realityAs Boeing forms new avionics unit, where will broadband connectivity fit?Press Release: Rockwell Collins display upgrade for 767 certified by EASAJetBlue, Delta first to gain approval for PEDs gate-to-gate
US Federal Aviation Administration officials have committed to using Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract (ADS-C) technology to reduce separation of aircraft in US oceanic airspace in the near-term “since the automation platform used for that airspace was designed for ADS-C”, the FAA has confirmed in a statement.“The FAA will also be conducting a one-year operational evaluation of space-based ADS-B in the Caribbean beginning in March 2020 to evaluate further that technology and its potential benefits. Results from the operational evaluation will inform decision making around future investments,” added the agencyThe FAA felt compelled to clarify its position after a war of words erupted between Inmarsat and Aireon over whether the FAA intends to implement Aireon’s space-based ADS-B in US oceanic airspace to support forthcoming new minimum separation standards for aircraft.At the heart of the debate was a General Accountability Office (GAO) report which states flatly that the FAA has committed to using “enhanced ADS-C” to reduce separation of aircraft in US oceanic airspace, as part of its commitment to implement new international standards by 2022, while the agency will continue “to study space-based ADS-B for future use”.Notably, according to the GAO report, FAA officials believe operational challenges to using space-based ADS-B for the region “have not yet been resolved”. The challenges cited relate to both the safety and cost of implementing space-based ADS-B.Inmarsat’s Classic Aero and new SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) services already power ADS-C over oceans and will ably support “enhanced ADS-C”. This is described by the GAO as using “the same ADS-C technology already installed on FANS-equipped aircraft” but that the ATOP computer “would request that automatic position reports be sent more frequently to air traffic control. Aircraft equipped with ADS-C and transmitting position reports every 3.2 minutes would be eligible for ICAO’s proposed minimum separation standard of 20 nautical miles longitudinal.”In an interview with Runway Girl Network after the GAO report dropped, Inmarsat vice president aviation safety and cybersecurity, Joseph Teixeira said: “We were surprised by the thoroughness and the fairness of the report because we have been saying this all along.“We’re not against another layer of safety but we really did need a third party that would lay out the actual facts and we’re very happy the FAA and GAO laid out a very comprehensive report, and they checked with everyone – manufacturers and airlines, and the report really stands on its own.”The FAA does not need additional money to move forward with new minimum separation standards via enhanced ADS-C, he said, because that is already in the budget.Aireon, on the other hand, suggested that the GAO report is based on information that is up to two years old. “In the past year, substantial developments to both the regulatory standards, implementation and recognition of multiple operational, safety and cost avoidance benefit metrics have been made through extensive collaborative input from the US airlines, A4A, NATCA, ALPA and the FAA. In light of these advancements, the FAA’s position toward space-based ADS-B technology has changed considerably and FAA is exploring an accelerated path to implementation of space-based ADS-B in its oceanic airspace and the NAS,” said Aireon in a statement. “Aireon and the FAA are closely committed to using space-based ADS-B technology to create a safer airspace for the flying public.”Matt Desch, the CEO of Iridium, which owns a 24.5% slice of the Aireon joint venture, added in a statement to RGN: “That report is out of date. I think you’ll find the FAA is moving forward more quickly these days than that report would imply, and are seeing the benefits are greater than they had previously calculated. The airlines, controllers, pilots and other constituencies are pushing them hard for space-based ADS-B benefits, and the FAA won’t want to give up their leadership position to the rest of the world in this area.’”Responding to already-published media reports that Aireon sees the GAO report as old, Inmarsat’s Teixeira told RGN that it is “clearly not so. The decision was made by the FAA in April and the report is very clear.”Given the clear divide – and wanting to hear it from the horse’s mouth – RGN yesterday evening reached out to the FAA for clarity, asking if it stands by the findings in the GAO report, and if the agency is – as Aireon suggests – accelerating its efforts to adopt space-based ADS-B to meet minimum separation standards.The FAA has just released a statement, clarifying that it does not prefer one technology over another, but effectively confirming that it will press forward with ADS-C for reduced separation in the near-term.The FAA’s full statement reads:The FAA and its partners in the aviation industry are working to enhance safety and increase capacity in oceanic airspace through a phased approach that leverages near-term opportunities while the agency continues to gather data and study options for a long-term solution.The agency does not prefer one technology over another. The agency also notes that separation standards are dependent on the communications, navigation and surveillance capabilities in an airspace. Therefore, the FAA is considering the long-term evolution of all of these capabilities to improve safety and increase capacity in oceanic airspace.In the near-term, a technology called Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract (ADS-C) will be used to reduce separation in oceanic airspace since the automation platform used for that airspace was designed for ADS-C. ADS-C is an automated reporting system that provides an aircraft’s position and flight path intent, among other information, to air traffic controllers to apply separation in airspace without traditional surveillance coverage.The FAA will also be conducting a one-year operational evaluation of space-based ADS-B in the Caribbean beginning in March 2020 to evaluate further that technology and its potential benefits.Results from the operational evaluation will inform decision making around future investments.RGN thanks the FAA for its timely response to this query.Related Articles:With successful Iridium NEXT launch, new day dawns for flight trackingInmarsat expects Iris air traffic management to have global reachHow Inmarsat GX resellers are offering differentiated IFC solutionsHoneywell works with Inmarsat to make black box in the cloud a realityWideband, digital HF a go for the cockpit, says Collins AerospaceFAA 20-year forecast predicts further air traffic concentration at hubsAireon begins intensively testing orbiting space-based ADS-B payloadsAireon space-based ADS-B tracking exceeding SITAONAIR expectationsCobham eyes transatlantic airline partner for SB-Safety trialPodcast 047: Why hope is not a strategy for ADS-B Out equipageFAA’s adoption of space-based ADS-B is a near certainty: analyst