Phasor unveils new London-based Technology Development Center

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Phasor has opened its new Technology Development Center in London and made key appointments to the company’s senior leadership team.

The new research and development facility will host all of the phased-array antenna innovator’s design, development and testing of current and next-generation connectivity solutions tailored to commercial mobility markets, including high-speed broadband for maritime, aviation, and land-based vehicles.

“The launch of our Technology Development Center in London and the appointments to our senior leadership team marks an important milestone for Phasor, as we approach commercial readiness”, said Dave Helfgott, Phasor CEO. “Since its inception in 2014, Phasor has quickly made the transition from the early R&D stages to mature product development and it is now poised to enable a whole new generation of mobile broadband communications.”

“This senior team brings years of rich experience to the markets we serve, and the new facility will enable an advanced level of integrated design and development, testing, certification and product release,” Helfgott noted. “We are all very excited to meet the growing opportunity that the enterprise wideband mobility market brings, with the right team and the right resources.”

Phasor senior leadership team appointees include Kevin Walsh as chief financial officer; Phil Schryber, head of R&D; David Garrood, senior vice president of business development, and Tim Esparon, senior vice president of operations.

Gogo announces new chief executive as Small steps down

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Oakleigh Thorne (pictured right) has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Gogo, in the immediate aftermath of the decision of Michael Small to step down from the role as a director of the Company.

Thorne currently serves as chief executive officer of Thorndale Farm LLC, the family office of the Thorne family, and largest Gogo shareholder, owning approximately 30% percent of the Company’s outstanding common stock.

“I am excited to work with the Gogo team as we move forward with urgency to execute on four strategic priorities: driving quality for airlines and passengers, sharpening our operational focus, achieving profitability with the money we have in the bank and driving shareholder value,” said Thorne. “We are highly confident in our ability to achieve our strategic and financial objectives as we improve execution and realise our significant growth opportunities.”

Ronald T. LeMay, chairman of the Gogo Board of Directors, said, “With our best-in-class technology and capabilities, the Board believes that Gogo has a clear path to achieving our objectives and that now is the right time to transition leadership. After a comprehensive search process, the Board determined that Oak is the best person to help Gogo achieve our next phase of growth. Oak is a seasoned executive with a strong track record and his interests are aligned with all shareholders. Oak has made significant contributions to Gogo as a member of our Board and has a deep understanding of our business, strategy and operations.”

Norwegian promotes female-led IFE comedy channel

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Norwegian has launched the world’s first female-driven in-flight entertainment comedy channel in an exclusive partnership with online comedy platform PYPO (Put Your Pretty On).

The on-demand in-flight video channel will be on-board all of Norwegian’s Dreamliner-operated long-haul flights, including 45 routes from the US

The next step in the partnership includes the creation of exclusive content which will premiere on Norwegian in-flight entertainment system before it’s accessible on PYPO’s own platform.

“We could not be more excited for our comedy channel to take flight with Norwegian as comedy is truly without borders. We hope to entertain passengers on-board in a different way with our unique approach to comedy. Our partnership with Norwegian will allow PYPO to take on new opportunities on a more global scale and highlighting female comedic talent to new audiences,” said Stephanie Laing, Founder, PYPO.

“This is an exciting partnership for Norwegian as it focuses on providing even better entertainment on-board for our passengers. By joining forces with PYPO, we will be able to offer exclusive content and never before-seen opportunities, which we will be able to announce more details of in the coming months. We are thrilled that Stephanie Laing and her team will work with our creative team to create something extraordinary,” said Anders Lindström, director of communications US, Norwegian, and project manager.

Iridium Certus readies for takeoff

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Honeywell Aerospace, SKYTRAC, Avitek and Navicom Aviation are the first Iridium Certus service providers to be selected for the aviation industry. As Iridium Certus service providers, each company will be able to offer the new, best-in-class L-band broadband satellite connectivity to its customers.

Enabled by the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, Iridium Certus will bring broadband functionality, with enterprise-grade quality of service, to the aviation industry. It will feature a range of throughput and service options that will enable everything from graphical weather reports, multi-user internet/VPN and Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) redundancy to flight data recorder streaming, video conferencing, and, upon formal approval, safety services. The Iridium Certus high-gain antenna (HGA) solutions will provide data speed options of up to 704 Kbps, and eventually as high as approximately 1.4 Mbps following full Iridium NEXT deployment, with an antenna size of approximately 24 x 10 x 6cm, while the low-gain antenna (LGA) solutions will enable data speeds of up to 176 Kbps.

“Iridium Certus is poised to introduce a revolution in aircraft communications,” said Brian Pemberton, vice president strategic planning and general manager aviation at Iridium. “Iridium Certus leverages the inherent advantages of the Iridium network and architecture and combines that with enhanced capabilities of the Iridium NEXT constellation to redefine best-in-class aircraft connectivity. Iridium Certus not only satisfies the connectivity requirements for the flight deck but also serves as an ideal cabin connectivity solution for many business aviation users.”

Initial flight trials will take place later this year, with Iridium Certus commercial service introduction expected in mid-2019 for aviation users. Iridium NEXT is the Company’s next-generation satellite constellation. To date, there have been four successful Iridium NEXT launches, deploying more than half of the new constellation. Four additional launches are planned for 2018.

Dassault Aviation launches new long-range, large-cabin Falcon 6X

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Dassault Aviation has unveiled the Falcon 6X, the most spacious, advanced and versatile twinjet in business aviation.

This new 5,500 nm aircraft will make its first flight in early 2021 and begin deliveries in 2022.

“We wanted to further push the boundaries with this new aircraft, to provide the best flight experience possible using today’s aviation know-how,” said Eric Trappier, chairman & CEO of Dassault Aviation. “The Falcon 6X will offer a mix of range, comfort and capability no other large cabin business jet can match while guaranteeing fully mature systems and a proven powerplant.”

The Falcon 6X cabin is six feet, six inches (1.98 m) high and 8 feet 6 inches (2.58 m) wide – the highest and widest cross section in a purpose built business jet – and is nearly 40 feet 8 inches (12.3 m) long. The cabin can accommodate 16 passengers in three distinct lounge areas, affording room for multiple configurations including a large entry way/crew rest area and a spacious rear lounge.
Every element of cabin style and design has been totally rethought, the result of an extensive survey of customer tastes and inputs from Dassault Aviation’s own in-house Design Studio. Flowing uninterrupted lines enhance the feeling of space and declutter the cabin.

Significantly more natural light floods into the cabin thanks to 29 extra-large windows including a unique galley skylight – the first in business aviation – designed to provide additional brightness in an area usually devoid of natural light.

“The industry has been moving towards ever wider and higher interiors, and customers told us what they wanted most in our new Falcons was more space,” continued Trappier. “So we designed the Falcon 6X from the cabin out, making it as passenger-centric as we could while still delivering the high performance and other flying qualities that customers value in Falcons.”

“There is still today a strong market need for a brand new long range aircraft with a very large cabin. The Falcon 6X will be best value for money in the 5,000 nm segment, a class all its own.” concluded Trappier.

Crystal Cabin Award announce finalists

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The Crystal Cabin Award have announced the finalists for this year’s 12th annual award, with a total of 24 products and concepts in the final round of eight categories.

The 24 finalists will now have to present their ideas in person to the 28 expert jury members. The winners will be announced as part of the Aircraft Interiors Expo (10-12 April in Hamburg) at a gala dinner to be held at the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski on the evening of Monday 10 April. This year, for the first time, the white trophies will be produced using 3D printing technology.

New to the awards is the IFEC or In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity category. Finalists include Bluebox Aviation Systems with the Bluebox Accessible IFE platform which provides access to in-flight entertainment for visually impaired passengers on long-haul routes, the product is already in use in partnership with Virgin Atlantic. The European Aviation Network from Inmarsat has also made the finals. More than 300 Deutsche Telekom ground stations will provide passengers with LTE network access in-flight throughout Europe this year. United Screens has become a finalist with the first on-board 3D television, which can be used without the need for 3D glasses.

In the final of the Cabin Concepts category this year is Airbus with the Airspace cabin for the A320 range of aircraft with extra-large overhead lockers and atmospheric lighting to improve the flying experience. PriestmanGoode has made the final with a long-haul Business-Class product, the QSuite for Qatar Airways, while Singapore Airlines is in the final with its new A380 First Class suites.

The PASSME Consortium’s PASSME Innovative Aircraft Seat, a finalist in the Cabin Systems category makes it possible to push the seats of an economy row together during boarding, creating more aisle space, resulting in less congestion and quicker boarding. Rockwell Collins ‘Silhouette MOVE’ is in the final – a flexible partition between business and economy that curves to allow economy passengers behind to stretch their legs or stow heavy cabin baggage. While finalist Zodiac Aerospace’s aircraft urinal cabin Durinal, will reduce the queue for the rest of the cabin.

Boeing’s Cabin Dry Floor has made the final of the Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment category with its absorption of moisture to leave a dry, germ-free surface. Villinger has also made the final with its allegedly indestructible heated floor panel. The third finalist is VT Miltope with security software for wireless cabin networks.

In the Materials and Components category, Airbus and Altran aim to make heavy, space-consuming cable harnesses behind the cabin wall panels a thing of the past, in the future, wiring – for lighted signs, for example – will be produced by a direct Printed Electrics process. Rockwell Collins made the final in this category with the Secant Luminous Panel that lights up the complete cabin ceiling with high-resolution images. Weigele Aerospace reached the final with its ‘Airborne Cooking Robot’, an energy-saving oven for the gallery that allows for cold and warm food to be prepared on one plate at the same time.

The Passenger Comfort Hardware category finalists include LIFT by EnCore, which in collaboration with Boeing, has developed a comfortable approach to long-haul seating ‘even in tourist class’ for the 787. Rockwell Collins developed the Valkyrie Bed, a form of roll-up mattress for business class, which can be drawn from the side panel across the seat. Zodiac Aerospace also made the final with the Eco Zlounge that enables economy class passengers to stretch their legs onto empty seat surfaces in front.

Britain’s Cranfield University made it to the ‘University’ category final with E-tom Smart, a water tap that atomises water to achieve on-board water savings of up to 90% without impacting the cleaning effect. Also in the final is University of Edinburgh with it’s Li-Fi technology, using light to transmit data. The third finalist- America’s University of Cincinnati, together with Boeing, students have developed a hologram surface that turns the aircraft cabin into a virtual extended space.

The Visionary Concepts category sees Airbus a finalist with the Day and Night concept, dividing premium cabins into a living/working zone and a separate sleeping zone. Finalist Renacens provides a virtual view of the cabin with a 3D Seat Map VR that allows passengers to choose their preferred seat for their next flight. Meanwhile, Rockwell Collins has made the final with its Universal Passenger Seat Interface concept: an electronic system for seating that can be deployed everywhere from aircraft to private cars.

New alliance aims for a better connected passenger experience

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A new alliance has been created with the intent of allowing member mobile operators to extend their services into airline cabins.

Seamless Air Alliance, formed by Airbus, Delta, OneWeb, Sprint, and Bharti Airtel, will allow operators to continuously provide their customers – via satellite technology – with the same high speed, low latency connectivity from ground, to air and back again. It will also significantly reduce costs for everyone involved while creating a smooth, positive user-experience.

The alliance – which aims to attract additional industry operators beyond the five initial members – will eliminate the immense costs and hurdles commonly associated with acquisition, installation, and operation of data access infrastructure by streamlining system integration and certification, providing open specifications for interoperability, increasing accessibility for passengers, and enabling simple and integrated billing.

There will be a variety of Working Groups that members will all contribute to and lend their industry expertise to help develop new specifications and recommendations. The Working Groups will focus on technical specifics such as equipment needs, billing and deployment models.

The Alliance is welcoming interested parties to join as members at www.seamlessalliance.com.

Gulf Air sets out emphasis on passenger experience

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Gulf Air has announced its roadmap for the future as part of a five-year corporate strategy.

Zayed Bin Rashid Alzayani, chairman of Gulf Air’s board of directors said, “Our national carrier is an integral part of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s economy and a critical component of its aviation infrastructure. Gulf Air’s new corporate strategy includes expansion plans and is geared towards elevating the passenger experience, promoting Bahrain’s tourism economy and bolstering the Kingdom’s aviation, transport, tourism and business infrastructures and the aviation industry as a whole.”

Gulf Air CEO Krešimir Kucko added, “Our new state-of-the-art fleet and best in class products and service will pave the way for Gulf Air’s growth and expansion. This will have a positive impact on the entire Kingdom of Bahrain, cementing our role as the regional airline of choice with a global footprint and best in class. We believe Gulf Air’s pioneering legacy, which dates back to our establishment in 1950, will continue to positively shape our future.”

In the coming months, Gulf Air’s incoming fleet of 39 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft will commence delivery. A total of seven new aircraft five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and two Airbus A320neo aircraft, will enter the airline’s fleet before the end of the year. Gulf Air’s new fleet will be outfitted with superior on-board products and services (some of the best in class: seats, in-flight entertainment and much more). With aspirations to be best in class across both its wide and narrow body fleet, Gulf Air’s new business class offering will compete with the first class standard of other airlines while its economy class product will afford enhanced on-board comfort.

Kucko also spoke of upcoming plans to roll out a new brand identity very soon. The new look and feel for Gulf Air will, alongside its new fleet, new network, new products and services, represent the “Gulf Air of tomorrow”. Shedding light on the national carrier’s more long term development he elaborated that the airline’s planned strategic growth in the years 2019-2023 will see it strengthening its regional base and then supplementing that with an expanded network that will reach various points across the globe. This includes Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and, ultimately, North America. By 2023 Gulf Air’s reach will have expanded to over 60 destinations.

“2018 represents the beginning of a new era for Gulf Air and for the Kingdom of Bahrain. In 2018 and beyond, Gulf Air will challenge the traditional definition of travel, broadening its scope and making it more convenient and appealing for every traveller,” Kucko concluded.

A Gogo 2Ku installation takes place on an aircraft

Gogo announces strong financials; 2Ku uptake continues

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Gogo has announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year ended December 31, 2017, recording record revenues for both periods.

“During the fourth quarter, we executed on our strategic initiatives: installing 2Ku rapidly, engaging more passengers, and winning aircraft,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “Our continued rapid deployment of high-bandwidth technologies in 2018 is the catalyst for delivering a great customer experience and long-term revenue and profitability growth.”

“Our record financial results for the quarter lay a strong foundation for 2018 financial performance,” said Barry Rowan, Gogo’s executive vice president and CFO. “With 2Ku aircraft online scaling in 2018 and continued rapid growth of our Business Aviation division, we look forward to delivering another strong year of financial performance as we target achieving positive free cash flow in 2019.”

In North America, Gogo provided connectivity services to 2,900 commercial aircraft in the quarter, of which approximately 15% were satellite-equipped aircraft. The weighted average peak speed to an aircraft in this region increased to nearly 20 Mbps, approximately doubling from Q4 2016.

The number of aircraft online reached 2,840, up 164 aircraft from 31 December, 2016. As of December, 2017, CA-NA had more than 650 awarded but not yet installed 2Ku aircraft, of which approximately 75 are net new aircraft.

Take rate reached a record 9.9%, up 36% from 7.3% in Q4 2016, due to increased passenger adoption resulting from airline and third party paid offerings.

In the rest of the world, aircraft online reached 391, up 124 aircraft from 31 December, 2016. The region had approximately 770 net new 2Ku awarded but not yet installed aircraft as of December 31, 2017.

Gogo’s business aviation service revenue grew 25% year-over-year to US$45.5 million. ATG aircraft online increased to 4,678, up 12% year-over-year, as demand for in-flight connectivity grew across all market segments, including a 19% increase in light jets and turboprop aircraft online.

2Ku was installed on more than 470 aircraft in 2017, including more than 130 outside North America, to end the year with more than 550 2Ku equipped aircraft online.  This includes LATAM Airlines and Cathay Pacific Group.

Air Nostrum selects Immfly for full fleet adoption

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Spanish regional carrier Air Nostrum has selected Immfly’s digital services, becoming the first airline to deploy full fleet adoption and the first Spanish airline to install a plugged portable solution.

The first CRJ aircraft equipped with Immfly’s service, SkyCube, will take off in April. Air Nostrum Play, will be available as a freemium model to its passengers. Through a set of access points installed inside the planes, passengers will be able to connect to Air Nostrum Play and enjoy multiple entertainment modules among other airline services.

“Air Nostrum is a highly important client for us, it will prove a new technology and with a new business model perfectly suited for regional carries. The airline performs predominantly short-flights and therefore the services will be more oriented to TV shows, series, press & news, due to the flight duration. Bringing this services to regional carriers is a before and after in the IFE industry”, explained Vincent Tomasoni, chief customer and content officer at Immfly.

“We are very proud to announce this partnership with Immfly, which will allow our passengers to enjoy media contents during their flights, therefore enhancing their on-board experience. We feel especially satisfied for having developed, together with Immfly and Sirium, an innovative technological solution, that endows our regional full fleet with the ideal technology to bring a variety of media content on-board our aircraft”, mentioned Juan Corral, the commercial director of Air Nostrum.