Gogo challenges validity of SmartSky patent

By Featured, IFECNo Comments

Gogo Business Aviation has submitted a petition to the US Patent and Trademark Office requesting a re-examination of US Patent No. 9,312,947 (“the ‘947 patent”) granted to SmartSky Networks, LLC, to determine the validity of the patent’s claims.

“We strongly believe that the ‘947 patent granted to SmartSky is not valid,” said Sergio Aguirre, president Gogo Business Aviation. “We have submitted evidence of published materials clearly showing that well before SmartSky asserts to have invented the concepts in the ‘947 patent, others had conceived of the claimed subject matter. Further, we believe there are many of SmartSky’s patents that are not valid. This is only one of many patents we could have challenged in a patent review.”

Acro Cairns CEO

Acro announces new CEO

By FeaturedNo Comments
Acro Cairns CEO

Acro Aircraft Seating has appointed Neil Cairns as its Chief Executive Officer.

Cairns was mostly recently  Vice President and General Manager at Collins Aerospace based in Tucson, Arizona and Winston Salem, North Carolina in the US and previously ran the B/E Aerospace seating facility in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland.

Commenting upon his appointment, Cairns said: “Acro has grown solidly in recent years and I am looking forward to building on this success whilst ensuring that we remain focused on delivering the highest quality products and service to our customers. Despite the current challenging market conditions, I am also committed to ensuring that we continue to innovate and deliver differentiated and best in class aircraft seating products for our airline and leasing company customers.”

Cairns replaces Chris Leese-Wood who was appointed CEO in January 2019, following the departure of Chris Brady.

Eclipse and Display agreement

Eclipse Global Connectivity becomes sharehold..

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
Eclipse and Display agreement

Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive have signed a strategic agreement to provide end-to-end in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions to global airlines and business aviation operators.

Under the agreement Eclipse Global Connectivity has taken an equity position in Display Interactive (DI) becoming their first industry-based shareholder.

“This agreement brings our relationship to a new level,” said Marc Pinault, CEO Eclipse Global Connectivity. “We have a long-standing relationship with Display Interactive and we are confident that our respective partners and customers will see an immediate benefit from this partnership. We are combining the quality and flexibility of DI’s proven wireless solution for airlines with the technical, design and security expertise of our own connectivity systems, plus our long-time engineering and certification know-how. As a result, we can offer a comprehensive IFE solution to our customers.”

Highlighting the value that the partnership will bring to airline operators, Display Interactive’s CEO, Tarek El Mitwalli says, “Over the past 18 months, Display Interactive has invested heavily in the transformation of its wireless entertainment solution into an engagement and ancillary platform—focused on revenue generation. Adding connectivity will multiply revenue opportunities and open new business models for airlines.”

The two companies will also launch a new entity based in Shanghai, China, to be jointly operated under a new name, and is scheduled to commence operations in mid-2020.

The new company will provide a customised, localised version of the complete Eclipse Global Connectivity and Display Interactive IFEC solution, fully integrated into the Chinese aero and digital ecosystems.

“Our main goal is to serve Chinese airlines directly in-country,” observed Thierry Carmes, COO at DI. “This means customising our solution to fully meet airline- and business-partner-specific requirements, as well as supporting their programs and operations locally on a day-to-day basis. We are keen to demonstrate that our IFEC model will work in China—with the same benefits and performance as elsewhere. This is an invigorating challenge, and a deep motivation for our local teams, particularly since many connectivity programs have not yet delivered expected results.”

“Airline demand for airborne connectivity in China is growing, but not satisfied yet,” explained Marc Pinault. “Our strategy is to bring solutions that are already in common use in Europe or the Middle East and deliver them with the Chinese operator and passenger specifically in mind. Our shared intention is to adapt and to become an integral part of the Chinese IFEC ecosystem.”


Inflight Dublin EASE

Inflight Dublin launches EASE

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
Inflight Dublin EASE

Inflight Dublin has launched its latest product innovation, EASE: Wellness Breathing Exercise. The release of the wellness product aims to promote the wellbeing of passengers, in the air or on the ground.

EASE is a user-centred, brand-aligned breathing exercise that helps anxious travellers feel more relaxed during their flight. Compatible with all in-flight entertainment systems, the exercise can be housed on any Wireless or Seatback IFE platform. Adopting binaural beats (Audio Frequencies), resonant breathing techniques, and comforting visuals, the goal of the video is to instil a calming and positive experience for the user throughout their flight.

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

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


Air Baltic EDM

EDM installs Air Baltic’s A220 Extended Doo..

By FeaturedNo Comments
Air Baltic EDM

EDM has fully installed an A220 Extended Door Trainer at Air Baltic’s training facility in Riga, Latvia, enabling the airline to train their cabin crew and certify them to the new aircraft type.

The Extended Door Trainer is fitted with key features to help simulate a number of scenarios that helps practice everyday functionality, but also for emergency situations.

DM’s A220 Extended Door Trainer for airBaltic has been manufactured to host a variety of features which have been tailored to suit their requirements and desired functionality.

This includes door familiarisation procedures; securing the cabin for flight; flight attendant’s seats use and operation; communications, sounds and alarms operation and recognition and simulated flight Deck door with access keypad.

“Overall the EDM product is very good, it has high quality and controls correspond to the forces of the real aircraft. Instructor station and other features are much better if compared to other Door trainers that we were using before. We would definitely recommend EDM as the first choice for other customers,” commented Reinis Lapiņš, Crew Training Manager at Air Baltic Corporation.

Phenom 300E interior

Phenom 300E receives certification boost

By FeaturedNo Comments
Phenom 300E interior

The Phenom 300E from Embraer has been granted Type Certificate by ANAC (National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil), EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). The new Phenom 300E is the most enhanced version of the Phenom 300 series, which was the most delivered business jet series in the 2010s.

The new Phenom 300E has avionics upgrades and enhancements that lower cabin noise levels.

“The triple-certification by ANAC, EASA and the FAA reaffirms the position of the Phenom 300 series as the best light jet ever made, offering the ultimate experience in business aviation,” said Michael Amalfitano, President & CEO, Embraer Executive Jets. “Phenom 300E owners can be assured of the jet’s performance, with our ongoing commitment to unparalleled technology, safety and comfort.”

In the cockpit, pilot and co-pilot seat tracking has been increased almost 40%, providing additional legroom. The cockpit enables single-pilot operation and offers the advanced Prodigy Touch Flight Deck, based on the acclaimed Garmin 3000 avionics suite. The avionics enhance situational awareness with clear information about speed, altitude, fuel, engine performance and other flight parameters. Additionally, the Phenom 300E offers 4G connectivity via Gogo AVANCE L5.

Passengers can enjoy the best cabin altitude in the category (6,600 ft at FL450) along with a generously-sized baggage compartment. Along with Embraer’s iconic airstair and oversized windows, the 17-ft-2-in-long Oval Lite cabin features new enhancements that reduce cabin noise, plus the already significant head room and aisle space for truly exceptional in-flight comfort. First created for the Praetor 600, the optional Bossa Nova Edition interior is now available in the Phenom 300E.

The cabin design also includes a cutting-edge “backbone of technology” with adjustable lighting, touchscreen monitors and patented flush gaspers. Multiple zones of personalisation and the nice HD by Lufthansa Technik, an advanced cabin control system that offers portable device integration and wireless audio/video streaming, further add to the sophisticated interior.

OneWeb launch 3

OneWeb files for Chapter 11 restructuring

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
OneWeb launch 3

Days after its third successful satellite launch, OneWeb and certain of its controlled affiliates have voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Since the beginning of the year, OneWeb had been engaged in advanced negotiations regarding investment that would fully fund the Company through its deployment and commercial launch. While the Company was close to obtaining financing, the process did not progress because of the financial impact and market turbulence related to the spread of COVID-19.

According to the filing, the company has filed a number of customary motions with the US Bankruptcy Court seeking authorisation to support its ongoing operations during the Chapter 11 process, including approval for the consensual use of its existing cash collateral to continue to fund the business. It will also use financing to help it secure a sale of the business.

Adrian Steckel, Chief Executive Officer of OneWeb, stated: “OneWeb has been building a truly global communications network to provide high-speed low latency broadband everywhere. Our current situation is a consequence of the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. We remain convinced of the social and economic value of our mission to connect everyone everywhere. Today is a difficult day for us at OneWeb. So many people have dedicated so much energy, effort, and passion to this company and our mission. Our hope is that this process will allow us to carve a path forward that leads to the completion of our mission, building on the years of effort and the billions of invested capital. It is with a very heavy heart that we have been forced to reduce our workforce and enter the Chapter 11 process while the Company’s remaining employees are focused on responsibly managing our nascent constellation and working with the Court and investors.”

Airline cabin crew to join NHS Nightingale ca..

By FeaturedNo Comments

The UK’s NHS has enlisted staff from Virgin Atlantic and easyJet to work at new Nightingale hospitals as being built across the country.

easyJet has already written to all 9,000 of its UK based staff, which includes 4,000 cabin crew who are trained in CPR, while Virgin Atlantic will write to approximately 4,000 of their prioritising those with the required skills and training.

Those who sign up will perform clinical support roles, under the close instruction of nurses and senior clinicians on the wards at the NHS Nightingale Hospitals across the country.

The NHS has confirmed that they are being built in London, Birmingham and Manchester and other sites are being considered.

Support workers will change beds, tend to patients and assist doctors and nurses working on the wards.

Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England said: “Nurses, doctors and other vital health and social care staff are working day and night to provide the best possible care to patients as the NHS continues to fight this global health pandemic.

“The NHS is mobilising like never before, but the scale of this challenge has not been seen in peacetime so we need all the support we can get.

Many airline staff are first aid trained or hold other clinical qualifications as well as being security cleared, while NHS clinicians will oversee their work – with expert training provided to all new recruits when they sign-up.

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer Officer at Virgin Atlantic said:  “We are very grateful to the NHS for everything they are doing in extremely challenging circumstances and we’re committed to doing all we can to support the national effort against the rapid acceleration of Covid-19.”

“We are very proud of our highly skilled people at Virgin Atlantic and since the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was announced, we have been inundated with our employees looking to help other organisations at this time of crisis. The NHS approached us with this unique opportunity as they recognise the value and experience our medically trained cabin crew and trainers will bring to the incredible Nightingale Hospital initiative.”

“In addition, our cargo business is very busy with extra flights, keeping global supply chains running and transporting essential medical supplies into the UK at this time.”

Tina Milton, Director of Cabin Services for easyJet, said:  “We have all needed the NHS at some point in our lives and so we are so proud that our crew can now help to support the NHS at this crucial time.

“The NHS is at the forefront of dealing with this health emergency but the training and skills our cabin crew have, working closely with the medical professionals, could help make a real difference.”

AIRE deep cleaning

AIRE steps up fight against spread of COVID-1..

By FeaturedNo Comments
AIRE deep cleaning

Madrid-based AIRE has opened a centre of excellence to support airlines at Barajas Airport in Madrid for mandatory cleaning/disinfection activities against the spread of COVID-19.

The centre allows the company to provide a cleaning/disinfection service for cabin interiors and cargo compartments with aircraft approved broad-spectrum disinfectants at Barajas Airport in Madrid.

AIRE cleans and disinfects all cabin surfaces, including using a special treatment to dry-clean and disinfect the aircraft carpet. The disinfectant is released by means of spray pump and scrubbed with a lint-free cotton cloth assuring all surfaces subject to be in contact are fully disinfected.

The process conforms to aircraft AMM procedures, in compliance with EASA regulation.

Downstream of the service, AIRE releases a Certificate of Disinfection (CoD) to attest the accomplishment of the mandatory cleaning activities on board.

With a team based at Barajas airport, AIRE is 24/7 available and able to provide this service both on day and night shifts, adapting to the aircraft operation.

ACA Fabio Gamba

ASA & ACA call for urgent action to preve..

By Catering, FeaturedNo Comments
ACA Fabio Gamba

Fabio Gamba, Director General of ACA & ASA has written to all EU-27 Ministries of Transport/Depts of Civil Aviation and Finance urging financial support for its members to mitigate the effects COVID-19, which he called the “biggest and most challenging crisis ever faced by our industry.”

ASA and ACA represent ground handlers and airline caterers, with a workforce of around 400,000 and 150,000 employees respectively throughout the world. Some 180,000 workers are based in the EU.

Gamba stressed that, “Members won’t be able to continue their operations throughout the crisis and will very soon have to resort to extreme measures, such as mass lay-offs and unpaid leaves.”

He emphasised that, “this period of disruption is leading to a cash-flow crisis which poses a direct threat to our very survival. Our industry operates a low-margin model. We are generally paid on a per-service basis or tonnage, so where flights are grounded, our provision is cancelled, and our revenue cut off. Our main overheads are our labour force (70% of expenditure). We have already been forced to pursue aggressive headcount reduction in recent weeks and days, which we deeply regret.

“Looking forward, the more staff we lay off, the greater the challenge we will face in servicing the bounce-back and economic recovery once this crisis is over. On average we estimate it takes around three months to hire, train and badge new staff, and there is very low transferability between stations. There is therefore a strong business interest in maintaining the existing workforce. Any relief measures Governments propose to the industry are welcome. But these measures shouldn’t solely consider the airlines in isolation.”

Highlighting the interconnected nature of the industry, Gamba wrote, “It cannot be taken for granted that any support provided to airlines will necessarily trickle down to the rest of the value chain, including ourselves. In concrete terms, the support we are desperately looking for is ensuring cashflow to allow us to maintain as much of our existing workforce as possible during this period.

He asked for Ministers to:

  1. Take over the social costs incumbent to employers at least until September 2020;
  2. Defer tax payments until 2021;
  3. Provide access to an emergency fund which we can use to continue to pay salaries;
  4. Provide a guarantee to banks and financial institutions so that they maintain financing of the aviation sector, and ours in particular.