Deirdre’s positive energy unites the broader touch community in South Australia as she volunteers her time across many levels of the sport. She interacts positively with junior players and parents alike which impacts positively on the Touch Football brand. Deirdre’s professional approach has allowed the TFSA office to entrust her with making decisions that reflect positively on events and roles she volunteers her time for, which also reflects positively on TFSA.Deirdre is trustworthy, honest, committed and a little cheeky which enhances the fun aspect of Touch Football. Deirdre has shown continued commitment to the sport at every level both here in South Australia and Nationally.
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
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?
Appointed as CEO of Brussels Airlines in April 2018, Foerster says her biggest achievement so far is creating a stronger synergy with parent Lufthansa Group. “We’ve now fully integrated our sales and cargo operations, so we’re now using the power of the entire group. We’re no longer just focused on Belgium,” she notes. “We also just launched our new long-haul product on the Airbus A330 fleet.”As one of a handful of female airline CEOs, Foerster says she has delved into the topic of women in aviation, and has served as a mentor to others in the industry. She feels there are different reasons why we don’t see more women represented in airline C-suites.“One thing is I think women question themselves too much and it hinders them. Taking over an executive role is like having a child. You can only say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and move forward. And you don’t know what the future will hold,” she says.Another issue is work/family balance. “In Europe, there’s the question of how you bring a family and being an executive together. I see a lot of mothers and I completely understand the lack of time for networking because they have to balance their responsibilities in life. I think all of these things are contributing factors.” But Foerster says she sees a climate where diversity is being taken more seriously. “I think that has contributed to more representation.”Her advice for women at the beginning of their aviation careers is to take a chance and join an “incredible” industry. “[Aviation] is so varied and really exciting. It bridges the world, which I think is great. I think young women should just jump right in.”In the pioneer days of aviation, men and women both contributed equally, notes Foerster. “But as aviation became bigger and there was more relevant technology after [World War II], that’s when participation by women got reduced. It’s a pity that the pioneering spirit is not there. I hope it comes back.”Related Articles:Air France commits to further improving gender diversity and equalitySITAONAIR’s Evi Dougali talks digitization and staying the courseWILL Rise: How UTC is preparing women for leadershipOp-Ed: A woman’s place is in the flight deck and the C-SuiteAviation and tech company chief seeks to increase women in both fieldsPursuing Leadership: Delta SVP Allison Ausband’s advice to womenCharlie Bravo Aviation CEO to women: Push beyond your comfort zoneTAM Airlines CEO Claudia Sender on harnessing a culture of diversityFly Blue Crane CEO on breaking the aviation glass ceilingAge not a barrier to success for Novaport deputy CEO in Russia Christina Foerster, the CEO of Brussels Airlines, credits her success with lessons learned from her parents while growing up in the Canary Islands. Now she’s urging other women to “go for it” in their careers.“My father ran a small soccer club, and we always went to the bar after games. When talking to the team, you had to fast with your words and quick-witted,” recalls Foerster in an interview with Runway Girl Network. “My mother is a feminist and believed she could always get things done. She taught me not to think about gender, but about who you are and always go for it.”Though her parents divorced, the experience didn’t hold her back. Foerster earned her B.S. at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration in 1997 and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. She started her career as a strategic consultant for Boston Consulting Group in the trade and tourism industry and also did a stint at Sheraton Hotels. This led her to Deutsche Lufthansa in 2002, where she became a project manager, handling duties including asset allocation and privatization of ATC in Germany.Foester moved up the ranks, becoming Lufthansa’s vice president of network and fleet development in 2011. In 2014, she took over the job for all the major and regional airlines under Lufthansa. “I worked with the asset management team to look at our aircraft portfolio to decide what our airlines would need in the future,” she explains.Under her watch, the group placed Lufthansa’s largest ever order of Airbus A320s in September 2013. “These aircraft have become a staple of our business and are performing well,” notes Foerster.After promotions to senior vice president of network, group & alliance development, and SVP network & partner management, she was named Chief Commercial Officer for Brussels Airlines in September 2016. The carrier is owned by the Lufthansa Group.“On the one hand, I had been in Frankfurt for awhile, so I wanted to move to a different city and shake things up,” says Foerster. “On the other hand, I wanted a job with more corporate responsibility. Being CCO gave me a much wider scope of duties, from product sales to cargo, to innovation to marketing. It let me further increase my knowledge of the industry.”Christina Foerster’s feminist mother gave her great advice as a child. Image: Brussels AirlinesFoerster credits Lufthansa for its focus on developing talent. “It allowed me to integrate everything I’ve learned in past jobs that helped me in the future,” she says. “Doing things like forging strong teams and achieving amazing things were all learned in past jobs. So I was able to handle similar issues, but on a bigger scale at Brussels Airlines.”
ThinKom Solutions, Inc., today announced the successful completion of in-flight connectivity trials of its ThinAir® Ka2517 phased-array antenna mounted on the Proteus high-altitude long-endurance aircraft.The Proteus satellite data communication package was developed as a joint effort involving ThinKom, Inmarsat Government and Scaled Composites. The trials included initial tests in Chantilly, Virginia and the Mojave Air and Space Port, California, culminating in a series of demo flights at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.The ThinAir antenna delivered a 25 Mbps return link and a 5 Mbps forward link operating at over 50,000 feet altitude through an Inmarsat Global Xpress Ka-band satellite in geostationary orbit. The phased array maintained connectivity to the satellite each flight, including during take offs, in-flight maneuvers and landings. Further, the ThinAir antenna was able to send the full 25 Mbps from the aircraft at an elevation angle of 25 degrees, while providing data rates of 12 Mbps at elevation angles as low as 15 degrees.ThinKom supplied the Ka2517 phased-array antenna in a low-profile 7.8-inch high radome, along with an adaptor plate, antenna controller and transceiver electronics. Scaled Composites designed and built a custom fairing to mount the radome on the aircraft’s fuselage and integrated the ThinKom system with the payload on the aircraft.Inmarsat Government developed and provided the system’s modem manager, PRO-MODMAN, designed specifically for the Ka2517 to operate on Inmarsat Global Xpress Ka-band steerable beams. The PRO-MODMAN integrates the capability of a DVB S2X modem with the flexibility of an OpenAMIP configurable system controller.“These successful in-flight demonstrations further validate the ThinAir Ka2517’s capability to provide uninterrupted broadband connectivity with near-zero aerodynamic drag – an important consideration for many classes of UAVs and long-endurance missions flying at extreme altitudes,” said Bill Milroy, Chief Technology Officer of ThinKom Solutions. “I would like to thank the superb engineering teams from Inmarsat Government and Scaled Composites who worked with us to achieve this important milestone. This was truly a team effort.”“Inmarsat Government was pleased to support this important joint demonstration using the Inmarsat Global Xpress capability. The results of the trials proved, once again, that highly mobile government customers can rely on Global Xpress – a globally-available high-throughput, flexible and interoperable connectivity solution that provides coverage wherever and whenever required,” said Steve Gizinski, Chief Technology Officer, Inmarsat Government.Proteus is a twin-turbofan tandem-wing aircraft originally developed and built by Scaled Composites in 1998. It is currently owned and operated by Scaled Composites. The experimental aircraft is designed to carry payloads up to 2,000 lbs. at altitudes from 50,000 to 63,000 feet and remain on station more than 14 hours. It is intended to support the demonstration of piloted and UAV missions, including telecommunications, reconnaissance, atmospheric research, commercial imaging and space launch.Photo Caption: ThinKom Ka-band phased array antenna mounted on Proteus aircraft.About ThinKom Solutions, Inc.ThinKom Solutions, Inc. is a leading provider of innovative highly affordable compact broadband antennas and products for aeronautical, vehicular and man-portable applications. The company’s primary products uniquely enable near-term worldwide availability of high-data-rate connectivity in the Ka-, X-, Ku-, and Q-bands. ThinKom offers a range of reliable, proven technology solutions for the consumer, enterprise, first responder, civil, military and intelligence communities.About Inmarsat GovernmentThe U.S. government has relied on and trusted Inmarsat satellite services since 1979. Inmarsat Government continues to deliver the world’s most advanced global, mobile satellite communication services to U.S. defense, intelligence, homeland security, public safety and civilian agencies, with highly reliable, secure and affordable connectivity. Built with government users in mind, Inmarsat Government provides resilient, flexible capabilities to augment government satellite resources, anytime, anywhere. Leveraging an industry-leading scalable multiband network infrastructure, Inmarsat Government offers a suite of managed network services and end-to-end communication solutions to support users on land, at sea and in the air, even in the world’s most remote regions. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Inmarsat Government is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Inmarsat plc.About Scaled CompositesScaled Composites is an American aerospace company founded by Burt Rutan that is located at the Mojave Air and Space Port, Mojave, California. Founded to develop experimental aircraft, the company now focuses on designing and developing concept craft and prototype fabrication processes for aircraft and other vehicles.
The cabin and avionics specialist Diehl Aviation has delivered the largest, fully 3D-printed part for passenger aircraft to date which is installed on an A350 XWB.The module is a Curtain Comfort Header – a complex enclosure for the curtain rail, that can measure up to 1140 x 720 x 240 mm.The curtains separate the classes from one another within the cabin. Qatar Airways will be the first airline to use the 3D-printed Curtain Comfort Header on board its aircraft. In a joint project, Diehl Aviation and Airbus developed the curtain header in close co-operation. With only 12 months between the first improved concept until delivery of the first ready-to-use model the project always was on the fast lane.Curtain Comfort Header Shark fin. Image: DiehlThis new production method solves several problems for Diehl Aviation: Until now, these modules were formed from numerous layers of laminated fiberglass, each of which required its own individual, complex aluminum tool.Incorporating further functions was also an added, arduous task and could include anything from the simultaneous integration of cable channels, through emergency escape route signage, to specialized retaining clips.One complete Curtain Comfort Header is comprised of up to 12 component parts – all produced by a 3D printer and simply glued together when complete. This new production procedure has made many of the old, individual tools – which had previously been absolutely essential for manufacturing these parts – redundant.Curtain Comfort Header Exit. Image: DiehlGiven these many advantages, Diehl Aviation is now only producing Curtain Comfort Headers for the A350 XWB with the 3D printing method. This procedure offers several advantages for the airline too: The shorter production processes and significant lead time reduction are particularly beneficial to airlines under pressure from quick turnaround times. Furthermore the parts themselves require less reworks and can easily be removed for repairs or replacement, contributing to even shorter waiting times during repair works. Also, the modules can easily been customized for retrofit solutions. Passengers benefit from the precision-made parts that lead to dampen noise and allow better integration in the cabin.The 3D-printed Curtain Comfort Headers already have the requisite approvals and are certified by the EASA. Diehl Aviation will be exhibiting the Curtain Comfort Header at its booth 7D20 at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.Diehl Aviation is a division of Diehl Stiftung & Co. KG and combines all aviation activities of Diehl Group under one roof. In the aviation industry, Diehl Aviation – including Diehl Aerospace (a joint venture with Thales) – is a leading system supplier of aircraft system and cabin solutions. Diehl Aviation currently has around 6,000 employees. Its clients include leading aircraft manufacturers like Airbus (both airplanes and helicopters), Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer, as well as airlines and operators of commercial and business aircraft.
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.
Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, today announced that its Indian telecommunications partner, BSNL, has received an In-Flight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC) license from the Government of India’s Department of Telecommunications.The issuing of the license marks a major step for Inmarsat’s services in the Indian connectivity market. BSNL is now approved to offer IFMC services, which will include Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (Ka-band) and SwiftBroadband and FleetBroadband (L-band) services, to Indian airlines operating within and outside India, as well as foreign airlines transiting through Indian airspace, and shipping companies operating within Indian waters.Inmarsat and BSNL are expected to commence services later this year once the ground infrastructure and associated approvals are in place.Inmarsat owns and operates the award-winning GX Aviation service, which enables passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and much more during their flights, with connectivity comparable to mobile broadband services on the ground. It is the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight internet service, delivered through a single, wholly-owned and operated network of high-throughput satellites.GX Aviation is already being used by world leading airlines, such as Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Air New Zealand. BNSL and Inmarsat’s GX Aviation Value Added Resellers (VARs) will be able to offer the world-leading inflight Wi-Fi experience to domestic customers in India. The license will also benefit foreign airlines transiting through in Indian airspace and flying to and from Indian airport hubs.In the maritime sector, Inmarsat operates its award-winning (Ka-band) Fleet Xpress service with unlimited FleetBroadband (L-Band) back-up, which is now installed on over 6,000 vessels and has emerged as the market-leading pathway to digitalisation in the shipping industry and is helping world-leading shipowners and managers deliver improved vessel and fleet efficiency, boost profitability and enhance seafarer wellbeing.Shri Anupam Shrivastava, Chairman and Managing Director of BSNL said: “BSNL and Inmarsat have worked together closely for decades and this announcement further strengthens our relationship, expanding our partnership from GSPS to GX services. This an exciting step, particularly for India’s fast-growing aviation sector. Soon airlines and their passengers will be able to reap the benefits of world-leading, seamless, high-speed connectivity.”Gautam Sharma, Managing Director of Inmarsat India, said: “This issuing of this license is a key milestone in bringing reliable, high-speed connectivity services to India’s maritime and aviation industries and customers. India is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world for air travel, with annual passenger numbers consistently increasing. The provision of Inmarsat’s next-generation GX Aviation service and Fleet Xpress will be a game-changer for both Indian and foreign airlines operating in the region and for shipping companies operating in Indian waters.”About Inmarsat Inmarsat 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.
Emergency egress questions about business class mini-suites? @SafranSeats’ solution is the flexible door, which I’m calling the #KoolAidModel: you just burst through the wall. This is smart #PaxEx design and updated from what we saw last year. #AIX19 #avgeek pic.twitter.com/eRCHeStdKy— John Walton ✈️ 💺 (@thatjohn) April 3, 2019 In true Virgin style, the reveal of Virgin Atlantic’s new Airbus A350 interiors at its headquarters near Gatwick was slick, design-oriented and mood-lit. Upper Class’ Safran Cirrus NG herringbone, new lounge space replacing the previous bars, premium economy’s Collins MiQ, and Recaro’s CL3710 are all great products that represent an advance on the current state of Virgin’s passenger experience. But, crucially for an airline that comes in for criticism of being branding style over hard product substance, the new business class lacks a door.A privacy divider extending perhaps 20-30cm (8-12 inches) over the arm space instead of a door is a considered decision on Virgin’s part, and indeed the airline’s executives were all fully on-message in highlighting the airline’s belief that its #PaxEx is inherently social.“For us, what was really important was having a privacy divider to be able to give you privacy between you and customers who are sitting diagonally from you,” Daniel Kerzner, vice president for customer experience, told Runway Girl Network, highlighting also that the carrier had tested a variety of options with focus groups of passengers. “In a lot of the research that we did we found that the door actually became a barrier between you and the service on board. But it also in most cases is a partial door anyways. When we looked at the possibility, either in the seat that we have or in other seats that are on the market, the door, being a partial door, didn’t give you full privacy.”Yet the professed logic from the airline around the reasoning behind not selecting doors was not entirely consistent.“When you’re in the cabin, whether that privacy divider went the full way or not, if crew members or other passengers are walking by, they can still see you in that door,” Kerzner said. “What was really important was that we had the privacy that you need when you’re sitting in the seat but not getting in the way of what the service offering is, with the exception of the airlines that are flying a full cabin where you have a floor-to-ceiling door.”RGN sought to understand the logic that the door wasn’t useful both because the crew could still see in, and the door cut off contact with the crew. And so, RGN continued to dive into the details with Gareth Salt, A350 programme director, and Mark Croucher, head of customer experience and CRM at Virgin Holidays, newly moved over from the A350 programme.“In reality,” Salt noted, “we want to promote interaction with our crew. Even with a full door, in reality you don’t have a private space unless it’s floor-to-ceiling. We didn’t feel a value in the full door because we felt it prohibited that exchange.”The Cirrus NG’s privacy divider, here at its full extension, is not a door. Image: John WaltonContinued Croucher, “One of the things that we pride ourselves on with our current Upper Class Suite is the openness of the cabin. Of course, over time that’s become something of a challenge for us: privacy is becoming more important. For us, the seat we’ve got now is the perfect place to be for us.”RGN raised the question of the flexible “flappy door” offered by Safran and shown at the Aircraft Interiors Expo as an option. “It’s a fair point,” Croucher said. “I’m not sure the flappy door really is the most sophisticated solution. The door is a conversation point for many people. It’s very on trend. It’s a standard offering. But the flappy door for me just wasn’t — or isn’t — sophisticated enough. When you look at the cabin design we’ve put in, all of the trim and finish you can see the level of detail and attention that we go down to. There’s no way of making that door work in that scenario, keeping that social angle and the trim and finish that we’ve got, and keeping the cabin as open.”The V-shaped centre section is similar to what Virgin offers on its 747 today. Image: John WaltonOpenness, Virgin execs said, was also the reason behind the airline choosing what is for now a unique configuration, with the seats in a mixed herringbone layout featuring the centre section pointing towards the aisle and the windows.“There were two big factors” towards this decision, Kerzner explained. “One, people wanted to have the light, the experience of facing outwards, whether it was a window or facing towards the window. The other big factor in this was the centre seats actually give you the possibility to be closer together to the person beside you, because your legs are facing out towards the aisle and out towards the window, so your bodies are actually closer together if you wanted to be able to have a dialogue, to be able to share a meal together, and you still have the privacy with the privacy divider. What we found is the experience of people who are traveling together is better, and the experience of people who are not traveling together is not negatively impacted by that configuration.”Virgin is the first airline to have all seats in the cabin pointing towards the windows and away from the centreline. Image: John WaltonVirgin Atlantic’s in-house design team has apparently spent three years with Safran (and indeed Zodiac prior to the takeover and rebranding) working to “create a product that is different than others have”, Kerzner noted. Yet none of the Virgin Atlantic executives had a ready answer for why they put trust in Safran to develop what is at this point a relatively highly customized seat on time, to a decent quality and to an acceptable reliability.Given Safran’s history of leaving United 777s stuck on the tarmac at Boeing awaiting Optima seats, and Cathay Pacific’s ongoing problems with its Cirrus III A350-900 seats, the true first test of the product will be in achieving deliveries on time and to quality for the expected first flight in August — which has already slipped from “early 2019” at the time of ordering at the Farnborough Air Show three years ago.Will Cirrus NG escape the industrialisation problems of Cirrus III? Image: John WaltonVirgin Atlantic provided economy class intra-Europe travel and accommodation in Crawley for this event.Related Articles:Ranking 2019’s best business class seatsExploring business class trends for 2019Regulations covering doored business class mini-suites evolveEvolving business class suite privacy beyond just adding a doorHow many doors do you really need, asks Jamco’s Spread Your WingsCathay still fixing Safran seats, lavatories on even new A350sIf you liked it, then you (should) have put a door on itJamco poses questions about the future of business, first classThe premium cabin trend du jour: privacy doorsAmerican reveals post-Zodiac business class plan for 787, 777-200ERDoing Business: whither the herringbone business class seat?Virgin Atlantic scraps A330 Upper Class Dream Suite
Lufthansa is eager to offer a consistent inflight connectivity experience for passengers, irrespective of whether they’re flying on long-haul aircraft equipped with Panasonic Avionics’ Ku-band satellite-supported Internet or short- and medium-haul aircraft with Inmarsat GX. But without service level agreement (SLA) standardization in place, Lufthansa is encumbered in its ability to really judge how they’re faring, according to Lukas Bucher, head of connectivity at MRO giant Lufthansa Technik, which has a long history of installing connectivity systems for airlines. This lack of standardization is among the reasons why Lufthansa Technik is participating in the Airline Passenger Experience Association’s (APEX) Connectivity Working Group (CWG), which aims to establish uniform measurements for the effectiveness of inflight connectivity (IFC).In terms of service quality, said Bucher, “the most important part” is to make the airline happy by ensuring it has aircraft “that are online and reliably online and preferably always online, which has been a big headache with respect to quality of service as such over the last few years, many years, and that is getting better. [It’s] still not where it is supposed to be so we are – outside of doing operational projects and product improvements [and] whatever we can support to make that happen – also working on standardization as part of the APEX working group for SLA standardization.”The APEX CWG is chaired by Lufthansa Technik manager strategy and business development Dr. Stephan Schulte. “We chose a bit more than a year ago to head that activity because we do believe that there is so far limited interest by the existing big connectivity providers to standardize because they all have their pros and cons and if you standardize, that is going to go away to some extent,” explained Bucher to RGN at the recent Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. “So even though they are working along, I guess we are the ones with some others that think that this is absolutely crucial to make that a better situation.”He refrained from judging or comparing the Panasonic Ku solution with Inmarsat GX, noting: “I don’t think it would be smart to comment on that because eventually it would be a very subjective opinion since there are no standards to measure SLA.”Last fall, Panasonic and Inmarsat agreed a strategic collaboration that will see Panasonic sell the Ka-band GX solution to airlines, whilst still investing in its own Ku network. Will the fact that Panasonic is now selling GX as a creative partner make life easier in terms of standardization work, RGN asked Bucher. “I don’t know,” he said flatly. “Honestly I believe that they do not know exactly how that will work out. We are certainly working with both. We’ve been working with Panasonic for years. We have been working with Inmarsat and Honeywell [the GX terminal unit provider] extensively. And we do see that there might be some merit of that partnership. How exactly that is going to work out for the airlines and the end customer, the passengers, I am not yet certain, but certainly it seems to be on the right track.”At the end of the day, however, it’s really up to Panasonic and Inmarsat “to be jointly better”, said Bucher, “because eventually they’re still in competition with others”. Those competitors include providers that will exploit shared satellite networks involving LEOs or MEOs together with GEOs, which in turn will add complexity to APEX’s standardization work because, traditionally, the conversation has been around GEO-only constellations supporting IFC. “Nowadays latency as such is of – well nobody likes it – but it is of less relevance because satellites are far away, they are geostationary and the time for light to get there and back hasn’t changed,” noted Bucher with a smile. “So only if we do see new constellations we will see changes which might have an effect and should be considered as part of an SLA…”Lufthansa Technik’s partners are already preparing for this new world order, which will require further investment, said Bucher. “Eventually they all will have to move forward. With the current economical situation, some of the big ones out there that might be a bit difficult for them. They also probably wouldn’t tell you at a show like we are right here. But somebody who is cash strapped might have a different situation then somebody who is well positioned. And there will be investment required not only by those parties but many other parties to make the new ecosystems happen.”While deep pockets are still clearly required to play in IFC, Bucher believes airlines may increasingly “take more of a stand on what they really want to do, maybe also including some financial aspects but really nobody knows how that is going to work out I guess”.Relative to whether airlines might bring more connectivity work in-house, he added: “Well there has obviously not been any decision or anything like that but depending on how the situation evolves – and don’t forget about data protection rights, which are changing an aspect when it comes to what does the business model look like – certainly it is smart to look at the situation. It is certainly smart to think about how could it be done differently and whether that would include having more parts done internally and be more vertical or not. I guess that is an open and maybe only starting discussion.”Yet, as next generation IFC systems, services and models emerge, Lufthansa Technik feels well-placed to meet the MRO needs of airlines, with Bucher noting that “one thing that is currently about to start is – and we do see that very slightly – is that there are airlines with various aircraft types out there that do have some type of connectivity solution flying and they are some way or the other approaching the end of their contract or the end of their patience maybe also and therefore are looking for alternatives which eventually very physically requires some changes to the aircraft and there is not really that many airlines that had to do that. Maybe the only real big known campaign was ourselves because we had to somehow modify Connexion by Boeing after [it shuttered] to be Panasonic suitable.”So, Lufthansa Technik is readying for connectivity system transitions that will see airlines swap one system for another. Such work has already started in the United States, with Gogo air-to-ground systems being replaced by satellite solutions (be that, for instance, Gogo 2Ku or Viasat Ka) and Southwest Airlines’ recent announcement that it is removing Panasonic IFC systems from its aircraft.But Bucher suggests that others in the US, plus some European carriers “and some in Japan might be getting to the point that they are more and more facing that issue and I guess that is one of the areas where we are very fortunate to have a lot of experience already. So we might see some business.”Related Articles:Seamless Air Alliance lab work begins with multiple players at SprintGloves are off as Viasat CEO talks IFC opportunitiesExclusive: Southwest Airlines and Panasonic Avionics part waysPanasonic to sell GX connectivity to airlines in deal with rival InmarsatPanasonic assures it is committed to XTS plan despite Inmarsat pactIntelsat, OneWeb work to bring new economics to Ku connectivityDelta deepens involvement in 2Ku MRO in face of reliability issuesLufthansa rethinking IFEC experience with an eye on future-proofingLufthansa carries a big stick and it’s called TechnikLufthansa carries a big stick and it’s called Technik