SpiceJet selects TiSeat E2 for Boeing 737 and Bombardier Q400 aircraft

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Indian airline SpiceJet has chosen the TiSeat E2 manufactured by Expliseat for its 10 Boeing 737 NG and 25 new Bombardier Q400 aircraft.

Due to its unique structure in composite and titanium, TiSeat E2 will enable a weight saving of at least 1.3 tonnes on the Boeing 737 and 400 kg on the Bombardier Q400.

Ajay Singh, SpiceJet’s chairman and MD, said, “We are ensuring that our customers have the most comfortable seats when they fly SpiceJet. The seats that we have ordered are the widest, with the most legroom, and the lightest seats available today and will help reduce fuel burn.”

“Expliseat is honoured to announce that we have been selected by SpiceJet to equip the economy class cabin on retrofit and linefit aircraft. This contract confirms Expliseat’s ability to deliver its TiSeat E2 seating solution on several aircraft platforms with major airlines,” said Benjamin Saada, president and founder of Expliseat.

The TiSeat E2 is the first seat made by the French manufacturer with a recline feature which is based on a modular frame intended to be compatible with all single-aisle aircraft currently available.

Etihad trials VR technology in lounge experience

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Etihad Airways has started trialling SkyLights Aero Virtual Reality (VR) entertainment technology at its flagship First Class Lounge and Spa and Business Class Premium Lounge, at Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal 3. The aim of the month-long trial is to gather customer feedback to determine the airline’s future lounge entertainment offering at Abu Dhabi’s state-of-the-art Midfield Terminal.

Linda Celestino, Etihad Airways’ vice-president of guest experience and delivery, said, “As with the Etihad in-flight experience, we are constantly investigating ways to enhance our service and hospitality offering on the ground through innovative technology and customisation. By conducting trials such as this, we already understand that modern travellers expect more information and seek increasingly connected and immersive experiences which engage and entertain them on every level. Gone are the days when a premium lounge experience just meant comfortable design, luxurious amenities and fine dining.

“The development of this type of technology could also allow us to provide more personalisation and end-to-end entertainment solutions across all customer demographics, reinforcing our strategy of providing greater choice at every stage of the customer journey.”

The SkyLights ALLOSKY VR headsets deliver an immersive, HD-resolution cinematic experience in 2D and 3D, featuring intuitive technology for ease of use and noise-cancelling headphones. Each set has a battery life of over six hours which allows for uninterrupted enjoyment from a catalogue of recent blockbuster movies, selected 360° short films, TV series, documentaries and children’s programming.

Throughout the trial, Etihad staff will assist interested guests at dedicated areas within both lounges. Each session will end with a short manual questionnaire.

ANA HOLDINGS and Honda Aircraft Company in business jet strategic partnership

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ANA HOLDINGS INC. (ANAHD) and Honda Aircraft Company have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a strategic partnership supporting the international expansion of the business jet market around the globe by using Honda Aircraft’s HondaJet.

Japanese national carrier ANA will use the HondaJet for its charter and feeder flights connecting them to the existing broad network at major travel hubs in North America and Europe. Honda Aircraft will support various aspects of ANA’s feeder and charter flights, including working with global charter operators to provide exceptional coverage for ANA’s customers and establishing a framework for ground support functions at a variety of ANA’s transit locations.

“I am delighted that ANA has chosen the HondaJet to support their arranged feeder and charter flight operations,” said Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino. “I am confident the HondaJet will meet and exceed their customers’ expectations with its unrivalled speed, efficiency, luxurious features and comfort. I’m looking forward to expanding the business jet market through the use of the HondaJet by ANA.”

ANA HOLDINGS INC. president and CEO, Shinya Katanozaka commented, “Through this strategic partnership and use of the HondaJet, ANA will create new demand to utilise business jets, in particular for travellers of various Japanese entities who value convenience and privacy in their overseas travel.”

TUI Airlines line-fit launch customer for UltraLite system

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TUI Airlines has become the first customer for Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems’ (AES) UltraLite in-seat power system, following line-fit certification.

The EmPower UltraLite system is a new, lightweight architecture providing high output USB power for passenger use without the need for a power supply unit installed at each seat group.

The UltraLite system is now line-fit offerable on any Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft and will be line-fit delivered on Airbus in the third quarter of 2018.

“We are pleased to announce TUI Airlines as the line-fit launch customer for our revolutionary new UltraLite system, and are confident that our in-seat power solution will deliver an excellent passenger experience. The installation went flawlessly and the system is performing well,” said Dennis Markert, director of business development, Astronics AES.

 

Air France highlights joys of economy travel

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Air France has launched a new advertising campaign promoting the inclusive benefits of the airline’s competitive economy fares, with a focus on in-flight entertainment, warm meals, and champagne.

“At Air France, we believe that each flight should be a pleasant precursor to your travels and that no matter which cabin you fly in, all passengers have a right to a great meal, entertainment, and—for those of age—champagne,” said Stephane Ormand, vice president & general manager USA of Air France. “Low-cost carrier fares can be deceptive because they charge substantial fees for basic services at every step along the journey. At the end of the day, the cost of an Air France Economy ticket, with all its included luxuries, is competitive.”

The “Take a Chance or Fly Air France” campaign promotes faux products designed to keep passengers at ease when flying airlines that lack or charge for basic services. These include 5 foot scroll of Sudoku puzzles for flights without free entertainment, scratch-and-sniff boeuf bourguignon meal patch for flights without free hot meals and champagne gummies for flights without free champagne.

Singapore Airlines unveils new regional cabin products

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Singapore Airlines (SIA) has unveiled the results of its US$350 million investment in new regional cabin products on 20 Boeing 787-10s.

The new aircraft are configured with 337 seats in two classes, featuring 36 business class seats and 301 economy class seats.

Manufactured by Stelia Aerospace, the new regional business class seats are arranged in a forward-facing 1-2-1 staggered configuration to provide every customer direct aisle access, and can recline directly into a 76-inch fully flat bed.

Each seat measures up to 26 inches in width with retractable armrests that can be raised and lowered. Whether travelling alone or with a partner, adjustable dividers at the centre seats provide for a customised level of privacy to suit individual preferences.

A personal 18-inch full high-definition touchscreen monitor, powered by Panasonic’s latest eX3 system is offered, while there is also ample stowage space for personal items, a business panel with in-seat power supply and USB ports, and integrated reading light unit with adjustable lighting intensity.

Arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration, each of the 301 economy class seats, designed and built by Recaro, has an ergonomically designed contour backrest that provides greater comfort, with a six-way adjustable headrest with foldable wings to provide more neck support.

Economy class customers can enjoy a personal 11.6-inch full high-definition touchscreen monitor. Other features include personal storage space for small personal items, a coat hook, USB port and in-seat power supply.

All passengers on the new 787-10s will also have greater control over their in-flight entertainment (IFE) experience through myKrisWorld, allowing for world-first IFE personalisation. Features of myKrisWorld include content recommendations based on customer preferences and viewing history, and KrisFlyer members being able to bookmark and resume content, as well as customise and save preferences for subsequent flights.

SIA is also the first airline in the world to offer a series of games from Toca Boca and Sago Mini on KrisWorld. Initially available on the 787-10s, this popular entertainment option will progressively be made available on other aircraft types in the airline’s fleet.

The new 787-10s will also be equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi supported by Panasonic’s Global Communication Services and GSM phone services provided by Panasonic’s wholly owned subsidiary Aeromobile.

“The introduction of the new cabin products on our Boeing 787-10 fleet reinforces our unwavering commitment to product leadership, one of the key pillars of our brand promise,” said SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong.

“The new products were the result of a series of consultations with customers, and from working closely with our seat designers and manufacturers. We are confident that the new regional cabin products, with full-flat beds in business class and the many new features in economy class, will offer our customers a more comfortable in-flight experience even on the shortest flights.”

Lufthansa Systems and castLabs work on app-less DRM content

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Lufthansa Systems and partner castLabs are working to develop browser-based playback of DRM-protected movies on iOS devices, meaning that passengers will no longer need to pre-install an app to enjoy movies and TV series on their own iOS devices while on board a flight.

The latest version of iOS from Apple, 11.2, allows protected video content to be played on smartphones and tablets in the Safari browser. Previously, this was only possible with the help of a separate player app. “If passengers can simply enjoy our entertainment offering on their own devices as they wish, instead of having to install an app before departure, we believe this will increase the number of users,” said Jan-Peter Gaense, head of passenger experience products & solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “This not only improves the passenger experience but also creates a larger potential target audience for the airline’s advertising activities and ancillary revenue opportunities. Airlines also benefit from greater usability, as they no longer need to offer a separate app for their entertainment offerings.”

Different operating systems and device suppliers currently use different encryption formats for video file copy protection. This means that the same content has to be stored in several different formats for all passengers to be able to access it regardless of which device they are using. The new DRMtoday Onboard solution from castLabs changes that. castLabs uses the Common Media Application Format (CMAF), which has a secure encryption converter. This means that airlines will only need to store a single encrypted video file on the aircraft for each movie or TV series that can then be safely used on any device.

“We are delivering technology that makes DRM-protected movie files playable on all devices, and in BoardConnect, Lufthansa Systems has a proven and comprehensive IFEC solution with which to provide its entertainment offering – a perfect combination,” said Michael Stattmann, CEO of castLabs.

Both companies are currently working on integrating DRMtoday’s new functionality into BoardConnect to give passengers app-free access to on-board entertainment in the future. Passengers simply connect their own devices to the aircraft’s Wi-Fi and are automatically taken to the airline’s entertainment homepage. From there, they can watch all content through their browser, regardless of their device’s model and operating system.

FDS Avionics gains studio approval for streaming content on business jets

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In a first for business aviation, five of the big six Hollywood studios have approved movie content rights aboard business aircraft that FDS Avionics will offer with its do CAPSULE wireless in-flight Entertainment (IFE) platform.

FDS’ licensing agreement with Global Eagle, which itself has agreements with Hollywood studios and content distributors, was central to securing the studio streaming approvals. FDS is taking orders for the streaming content, in both standard definition and high definition, which will begin shipping shortly aboard its IFE platform.

“FDS Avionics and the do CAPSULE in-flight entertainment platform are bringing the first-ever HD streaming content to business jet passengers and a real competitive advantage to business jet operators,” said Reed Macdonald, FDS Avionics CEO. “Leading HD movies and television shows together with our high definition 3D moving maps have positioned FDS and the do CAPSULE as the inflight entertainment standard among business aircraft manufacturers, partners, and charter fleet operators around the world.”

“We look forward to bringing the exciting in-flight entertainment offerings seen throughout the world on award-winning airlines into the business jet market with this FDS agreement,” said Walé Adepoju, executive vice president of media and content for Global Eagle. “Together we are elevating the business aviation passenger experience, putting the best mix of HD movies and TV shows at the fingertips of business travellers.”

Aircraft operators simply insert the solid-state drive (SSD) containing tiered content into the do CAPSULE, enabling up to 22 passengers to simultaneously navigate and enjoy hundreds of HD & SD titles in seconds.

A trio of do CAPSULE entertainment packages include the do 360, a premium-level line-up of 360 titles, including Hollywood’s top movie releases and popular TV shows that automatically refresh every month. The do 180 and do 90 complete the robust in-flight entertainment line-up with 180 and 90 titles to meet the needs of partners and fleet operators serving business aviation.

WBA launches Wi-Fi deployment guidelines for in-flight connectivity

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The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has launched its Wi-Fi Deployment Guidelines and Compliance Checklist that define the best practices for wireless network operators and infrastructure vendors to deploy Wi-Fi networks. The full Guidelines, available to WBA members, will act as a user manual for existing and future Wi-Fi deployments. Available to the general public, the Checklist has been developed to ensure a high-level, industry-wide standardised approach for efficient Wi-Fi network deployment.

Acting as an educational tool for the industry, both the Guidelines and the Checklist cover a collection of baseline standards that encompass the lifecycle of Wi-Fi deployment phases including Planning Guidelines, Site Survey, Radio Spectrum Analysis, Wi-Fi Network Implementation, and Configuration and Operation. This umbrella initiative forms the basis of the Wi-Fi Deployment Guidelines Series that the WBA will extend to key industry verticals and applications throughout 2018. The five focus areas making up the series include in-flight connectivity, enterprise Wi-Fi, venue/stadium Wi-Fi, city Wi-Fi, and hospitality Wi-Fi.

Operators and infrastructure vendors that plan to deploy or optimise Wi-Fi networks, and follow the Guidelines and Checklist, will receive an endorsement from the WBA and will benefit from a collaborative industry effort to create a new level of efficiency, performance and reduced time-to-market.

“The WBA has launched the Wi-Fi Deployment Guidelines vision as part of our overarching mission to resolve the business challenges the industry faces,” said Tiago Rodrigues, general manager of the WBA. “With the launch of the series, the WBA can support operators and other vertical industry players to accelerate important Wi-Fi deployments that seek to enhance the entire Wi-Fi ecosystem.”

The WBA is inviting wireless industry stakeholders to get in contact to fast track their Wi-Fi deployment and for any advice on how to overcome the challenges associated with deployment.

Honeywell expands Connected Aircraft options

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Honeywell has introduced the Aspire 150 and Aspire 350 satellite communications systems, which connect to the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, providing flight operators with high-speed connectivity at a low cost with new satellite communications systems.

Both new Aspire systems are also smaller than previous generations and have an embedded router, to reduce weight and boost fuel savings.

“Aspire 150 and 350 build upon the success of our previous systems in the air transport, business jet, military and helicopter markets,” said Warren Nechtman, vice-president, Connectivity Systems, Honeywell Aerospace. “These latest additions to the Aspire product line provide an easy upgrade for aircraft with or without previously installed satellite communications equipment, increasing both cockpit and cabin connectivity and enabling faster data speeds. And with an easy installation, operators can upgrade to seamless, high-speed cockpit communication that fits their exact needs and budget.”

Honeywell’s GoDirect software is an optional component that offers connectivity services to help manage bandwidth and improve cost efficiency. These services include Honeywell’s GoDirect Cabin Connectivity, which controls connectivity services and usage, potentially saving operators up to US$100,000 a year.

Operators can install a second Honeywell satellite communications solution with the Aspire 350, to give higher levels of reliability, increased network coverage, improved efficiency, and less connection downtime for pilots, crew and passengers. In the event the preferred system cannot operate, the backup system then takes over. The satcom system does not have to wait for the Iridium Certus network to operate. It can provide safety services over the current network, so operators aren’t waiting for the Iridium NEXT safety certification.

Both Aspire 150 and Aspire 350 can operate as standalone products to provide high-speed cabin connectivity to smaller aircraft that cannot be equipped with a larger satcom system. The flexibility of the Aspire products also allows for side-by-side operation with another cabin connectivity solution, providing cockpit safety services and backup cabin connectivity.