Seamless Air Alliance issues new Release

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Following its publication of the world’s first inflight connectivity (IFC) standard earlier this year, Seamless Air Alliance has completed Seamless Release 2.0.

This latest Release defines the information  provided by each network component, enabling suppliers to design and build OpenIFC products using the modular architecture and open interfaces from its first release. Developed by airline industry experts, OpenIFC is set to become the preferred choice for every airline going forward.

“Seamless Release 2.0 completes the blueprint needed for the industry to scale the deployment of future-proof, OpenIFC systems,” said Jack Mandala, CEO of Seamless Air Alliance. “This breakthrough will allow airlines to purchase best-of-breed components in a multi-vendor ecosystem, improving the efficiency of deploying, operating, and maintaining in-flight systems – which is especially important as recent events have highlighted the critical role of connectivity.”

Inmarsat and Hughes launch GX+ North America IFC solution

Inmarsat and Hughes deploy GX+ North America

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Inmarsat and Hughes launch GX+ North America IFC solution

Inmarsat and Hughes Network Systems has launched GX+ North America, an in-flight connectivity solution designed specifically for North American commercial airlines.

GX+ North America combines the capacity of the Hughes JUPITER High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) constellation across North America with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) HTS satellite network.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “It is truly a ‘no compromise’ solution for airlines that no other service provider can offer. We’ve also ensured the transition path for airlines upgrading from other connectivity providers is simple, quick and cost efficient.

“This strategic collaboration is further evidence of Inmarsat’s strength, resilience and innovation despite these unprecedented times in our industry. As a number of connectivity providers in North America face financial challenges and airlines are forced to reconsider their choice of supplier, Inmarsat’s offer continues to go from strength to strength.”

The new solution will be provided and managed end-to-end by Inmarsat. Prototype flights are expected to start later this year with commercial availability scheduled for 2021.

GX+ North America utilises a robust Ka-band flat panel antenna from Thinkom, with millions of flight hours behind it, together with smart dual aero modem technology powered by Inmarsat’s aviation solutions that intelligently chooses the optimal satellite path with no service interruption or delay for passengers.

Looking forward, as commercial aviation returns to growth and aircraft return to the skies, Inmarsat and Hughes will continue to anticipate and respond to the North American market’s evolving needs. Expanding the service over the next four years alone, the Hughes and Inmarsat combined constellation of seven GX and JUPITER satellites will more than double to a total of 15 spacecraft. These additional satellites include the Hughes ultra-high capacity JUPITER 3 satellite and Inmarsat’s seven advanced, fully-funded next generation GX satellite payloads (6A, 6B, 7, 8, 9, 10A & 10B), which will enhance capacity and coverage throughout the world, including the Arctic.

KML Cargo in Cabin Boeing 747 Combi

KLM celebrates landmark Cargo-in-Cabin flight

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KML Cargo in Cabin Boeing 747 Combi

KLM has flown its 100th Cargo-in-Cabin flight between Shanghai and the Netherlands.

Since their inception, the three Boeing 747 Combi aircraft have carried more than 85 million face masks in the fight against COVID-19.

What now fits into the cabin corresponds roughly with six large pallets – roughly 40% of the aircraft’s total cargo capacity. The extra space is being used to carry additional medical supplies to the Netherlands.

Each week, some seven Cargo-in-Cabin flights depart for Shanghai. More than 90% of the aircraft’s load consists of face masks. Additionally, other medical supplies including surgical gloves and gowns are carried back.

A pool of 60 Cargo colleagues have been trained to work on these flights. They carry out these tasks voluntarily in combination with their other duties and responsibilities.

KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers stated: “The crisis impacting us, and the aviation sector is unparalleled, and KLM is facing enormous challenges. In my opinion, the Cargo-in-Cabin concept symbolises the resilience, creativity and flexibility of our employees, who work day-in, day-out to keep our business running. When we had dozens of aircraft parked for weeks on end and less capacity as a result, our cargo division pulled out all the stops to meet the rapidly growing demand for medical supplies. Tens of millions of products have been transported safely and efficiently on passenger seats in recent months. I would like to thank all the KLM employees who worked so hard to make this possible!”

Emirates has reinstated its iconic Onboard Lounge on its A380s

Emirates revamps premium onboard experience

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Emirates has reinstated its iconic Onboard Lounge on its A380s

Following a thorough health and safety review Emirates has resumed the operations of its A380 Onboard Lounge and Shower Spa.

The A380 Onboard Lounge, which serves First and Business Class customers, will transform into a take-away bar with limited seating capacity and social distancing protocols in place. The bar continues to serve wines, spirits, soft drinks and pre-packaged lounge bites for customers to take and enjoy in the comfort of their own seats. Customers can also make their orders from their seats if they prefer. The social areas in Business Class on select Boeing 777 aircraft and in First Class also re-opened with pre-packed snacks for customers to grab and go.

First Class customers can once again have a shower at 40,000 feet. Luxury spa products will be provided in individual amenity bags to each customer. The sets include pamper essentials from award-winning, organic and sustainable Irish brand VOYA, a disposable bath towel and a menu to choose additional amenities.

From 1 November, Emirates’ onboard dining experience will return while observing strict hygiene protocols. Customers in all classes will enjoy multi-course meals and choose from a complimentary selection of beverages including wine and beer, as well as juices and soft drinks. Cocktails will also be served in premium classes. In Economy Class, customers can choose from two wines; in Business Class, customers can choose from six wines including port and champagne, while in First Class, customers will have a selection of 11 wines including a dessert wine, port and Dom Perignon champagne.

The Emirates app has also been enhanced to allow customers on board to browse the menus on their personal devices both online and offline with the latest app update.

Emirates will soon launch a welcome drink in premium classes called Vitality Boost in First and Business Class. The airline’s chefs and nutritionists have created a refreshing blend of apple, ginger and hibiscus to give customers a health kick on their journey. The vegan, nutrient-rich drink is packed with antioxidants, and free from gluten and added sugar. The health drink will be a staple on board and continually refreshed to offer different flavours. Customers can also choose from a range of welcome drinks including champagne and other juices.

Global Eagle logo

Court approves sale of Global Eagle

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Global Eagle logo

The US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has approved the sale of substantially all of Global Eagle’s assets to a group comprising the Company’s first-lien investors (the “Investor Group”).

The sale, which is subject to certain customary closing conditions and regulatory approval, is expected to close by the first quarter of 2021. As a result, Global Eagle will reduce its total debt by approximately $475 million and obtain significant additional liquidity.

The Investor Group comprises Apollo Global Management, Inc., Eaton Vance Management, Arbour Lane Capital Management, L.P., Mudrick Capital Management, Sound Point Capital Management, Carlyle Group, or one or more of their respective affiliates, and certain funds and accounts under management by BlackRock Financial Management, Inc., among others.

“We are pleased to be moving ahead with a sale to the Investor Group, which will enable Global Eagle to achieve a stronger balance sheet, significantly reduce our debt and substantially increase liquidity,” said Joshua Marks, Chief Executive Officer of Global Eagle. “We are confident this is the best path forward for our company and our stakeholders as we continue providing our airline, cruise line and other customers with high-speed Wi-Fi and engaging content, enabling them to connect millions of people anywhere, anytime. I would also like to thank our employees for their continued dedication to supporting our customers as they plan for the COVID-19 recovery and beyond.”

QuiverTree Media launches

QuiverTree Media launches to disrupt in-flight media

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QuiverTree Media launches

Specialist aviation media business QuiverTree Media has officially launched.

Created by investors with backgrounds in IFEC, Software and Media, QuiverTree Media has been established to help airlines extract maximum value from content services provision (CSP) with media convergence.

“The convergence of communication technologies with onboard digital networks is helping us supercharge Aviation Media,” said Chris Bouwer, QuiverTree Media ’s Chairman.

He added: “By integrating content, advertising and OTT services, QuiverTree Media unlocks the in-flight medium’s full potential. We create new benefits and efficiencies across the entire CSP value chain previously unavailable to airlines.”

Since its pre-launch phase as a spin-off of Immfly’s content and advertising divisions, QuiverTree Media has been working with airlines, advertisers and content providers to “redefine in-flight entertainment content and advertising propositions with disruptive integrations and partnerships.”

QuiverTree Media ’s content services include programming from Hollywood studios and independent distributors for global releases, as well as a large variety of OTT platforms.

The company also provides 360, end-to-end post- production technical services with editing, encoding and transcoding, subtitling, dubbing, metadata processing and special ad hoc integrations to streamline the content cycle process.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam and U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor signed a memorandum of understanding in which the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide Ethiopian farmers and food producers technical assistance and access to financing

Ethiopian Airlines to support local farmers for in-flight meals

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Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam and U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor signed a memorandum of understanding in which the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide Ethiopian farmers and food producers technical assistance and access to financing

Ethiopian Airlines has partnered with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to enable the carrier to source locally grown produce and ingredients for preparing in-flight meals for global passengers.

USAID will provide Ethiopian farmers and food producers technical assistance and access to financing in order to ensure they are able to meet the airlines’ standards of quality and volume to serve its customers. These new business linkages will help farmers and local agribusinesses reach a prominent new market and increase their revenue streams – with annual sales as high as US$10 million in total – while providing Ethiopian Airlines farm-fresh ingredients sourced directly from Ethiopia, reducing the need for foreign suppliers’ processed foods for their catering services.

USAID support will help Ethiopian Airlines identify local suppliers for the list of catering materials the airline might potentially require, as well as provide support to farmer cooperative unions, youth groups, women groups and other local agriculture businesses to enable them to meet production requirements. A US government loan facility also will expand access to financing for local companies, farmer cooperative unions, and others to expand their operations as needed to meet the Ethiopian Airlines quality and supply demands.

This partnership agreement will run through December 2022.

Image: Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam and U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor signed a memorandum of understanding in which the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide Ethiopian farmers and food producers technical assistance and access to financing.
Klaus Koester Greenpoint Technologies CEO

Greenpoint Technologies appoints new CEO

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Klaus Koester Greenpoint Technologies CEO

Klaus Koester has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Greenpoint Technologies and the Custom Cabin Division of Safran Passenger Solutions. Koester succeeds former Greenpoint CEO Scott Goodey, who retired after nearly twenty years with Greenpoint and more than thirty years in the aviation industry.

Koester will be based at Greenpoint Headquarters in Bothell, Washington, while overseeing all Safran Custom Cabin companies in Washington and Texas.

Taste of Finnair meal packaging

Finnair brings in-flight dining home

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Taste of Finnair meal packaging

Finnish flag carrier Finnair has begun trialling the sale of ready-made Nordic in-flight Business Class-inspired meals.

The ready-made meals are just available in one Finnish store – the K-Citymarket Tammisto, located near Helsinki Airport, in the city of Vantaa. If the pilot is successful, Finnair could increase production and expand to other stores.

The specially developed concept meals have been designed by Finnair’s own top chefs and hand-made in the airline’s dedicated Finnair Kitchen. Helsinki customers can now choose from the airline’s fusion of Finnish and Asian signature dishes, such as Finnish reindeer and beef in teriyaki-radish sauce.

Marika Nieminen, Finnair Kitchen VP, said: “We want to offer the opportunity for a Finnair experience and everyday luxury at home, now that travel has been restricted in many ways.

“At the same time, this is a new business opening for us and employs our chefs in Vantaa. As so many of Finnair Kitchen’s employees are temporarily laid off, the project enables us to create new work and employment for our people.”

Juha Stenholm, Finnair Kitchen Head of Product Development, said: “The meals are inspired by Nordic and Japanese flavours and seasonal ingredients. The menus include, for example, Finnish reindeer and beef in teriyaki-radish sauce, which draws on Tokyo’s street food culture.

“Our food cultures are united by the appreciation and emphasis of ingredients and their natural flavours in food, and it is evident in these meals as well. We are excited to bring flavours from our Business Class easily available to the grocery store.”

Kimmo Sivonen, K-Citymarket merchant, based at Tammisto, said: “It is very important for us to provide our customers with quality food, easily and effortlessly: ready-made portions bring variety to home-made cooking.

Two main course options are available throughout the week from Monday to Sunday and an additional appetiser from Friday to Sunday. The menu changes every two weeks.

Etihad Cargo loading CSafe RAP Container for large pharmaceutical shipments

Etihad Cargo to introduce CSafe RAP Container for large pharmaceutical shipments

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Etihad Cargo loading CSafe RAP Container for large pharmaceutical shipments

Etihad Cargo and long-term partner CSafe Global, a provider of closed cool-chain solutions under its PharmaLife product, are to introduce high-performing temperature-controlled across all Etihad Cargo’s global fleet of wide-body and freighter aircraft flights to deliver additional payload protection for large pharmaceutical shipments.

The CSafe RAP uses innovative heating and compressor-driven cooling technologies, along with advanced VIP insulation, to maintain constant payload temperatures even at extreme ambient temperatures spanning from -30°C to +54°C. Its large payload compartment of 6.68m3 easily accommodates up to four standard US pallets or five standard Euro pallets. With an extended battery run time of more than 120 hours, the CSafe RAP ensures temperature integrity and product viability through to destination even on extended journeys.

Etihad Cargo, which has recently reinforced its pharmaceutical logistics expertise with the launch of PharmaLife, a specialised pharma and healthcare product, was the first carrier in the Middle East to receive IATA’s CEIV (Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators) certification in pharmaceutical logistics. Following a vigorous testing process, the carrier has now approved the use of the CSafe RAP on its aircrafts to offer customers continued assurance of compliance and temperature-control along with the largest payload capacity in the industry.

“As an IATA CEIV Pharma certified carrier, we take the transportation and handling of pharmaceutical shipments very seriously, adhering to the strictest processes with the very best in class equipment that ensures the best quality handling in the quickest time,” said Fabrice Panza, Manager Global Cool Chain Solutions at Etihad Cargo. “The addition of the CSafe RAP further enhances our customer offering by completing our active cool chain portfolio. Through this partnership we are now able to provide the largest and most high-tech solutions of active containers worldwide.

“We are confident as market demands become stronger for vaccines and clinical trials that we are ready to offer quality along with enough capacity to our customers,” Panza added.