Intelsat expands its global 5G software-defined network

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Intelsat and Thales Alenia Space are to build two software-defined satellites designed to advance Intelsat’s global fabric of software-defined GEO connectivity as part of its 5G software-defined network.

Intelsat 41 (IS-41) and Intelsat 44 (IS-44) are scheduled to enter service in 2025, joining two Airbus constructed software-defined satellites, Intelsat 42 (IS-42) and Intelsat 43 (IS-43), announced in January 2021.

Intelsat 41 and Intelsat 44 will be based on Thales Alenia Space’s innovative Space Inspire product line, allowing seamless telecommunications mission and services reconfiguration, instant in-orbit adjustment to broadband connectivity demand, and superior video broadcasting performance while maximising the effective use of the satellite resources.

“Intelsat’s standards-based open-architecture network design facilitates the incorporation of the best technology at any given time, further bolstering network resiliency,” said Stephen Spengler, CEO of Intelsat. “With the addition of Intelsat 41 and Intelsat 44, in partnership with Thales Alenia Space, Intelsat will blanket the earth with software-defined satellites, progressing the world’s first global 5G software-defined network, designed to unify the global telecoms ecosystem.”

The contract enables the continued advancement of Intelsat’s planned global software-defined satellite-based network, adding high-speed dynamically-allocated connectivity across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia for commercial and government mobility services and cellular backhaul.

Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space, said: “Our relationship with Intelsat has been so meaningful, knowing that our attractive Space Inspire software-defined solution will contribute to the realization of Intelsat’s global 5G software-defined unified network. We are proud that our advanced satellite technology will play a significant role in Intelsat’s vision to reimagine the global telecoms ecosystem.”

Virgin cabin crew welcome

Virgin Atlantic to recruit 400 new cabin crew members

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Virgin cabin crew welcome

Virgin Atlantic has announced it will be recruiting 400 new cabin crew members.

The airline welcomed more than 750 returning cabin crew in 2021 who were placed in a holding pool and says more than 230 are set to return in the first quarter of 2022.

The carrier says it is now able to recruit externally for the first time in nearly two years. The roles will be part of an initial six-month fixed term contract with the view to extend and candidates from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Estelle Hollingsworth, Virgin Atlantic’s Chief People Officer, said: “It’s the best jobs that make people fly and we couldn’t be more excited to be welcoming so many new cabin crew members to the skies with our recruitment drive.

“We’re committed to supporting diversity both on the ground and on board, so are seeking people from all backgrounds who aspire to be the friendly, smiling and professional face that is the airline – with the iconic Virgin Atlantic style and flair.

“We champion difference and individuality, and it’s by encouraging all of our people to truly be themselves at work that we uphold an inclusive environment where they each can thrive.

“Being part of our incredible cabin crew is an adventure, with travel around the world and new experiences waiting at every destination. We welcome anyone interested in this exciting new career journey to apply now.”

Applications are now open on the Virgin Atlantic cabin crew recruitment website.

As part of a complete refurbishment of a Gulfstream GIV SP aircraft, ALTO Aviation partnered with VIP Completions, to install a new ALTO cabin audio system.

ALTO Aviation and VIP Completions upgrade audio experience

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As part of a complete refurbishment of a Gulfstream GIV SP aircraft, ALTO Aviation partnered with VIP Completions, to install a new ALTO cabin audio system.

As part of a complete refurbishment of a Gulfstream GIV SP aircraft, ALTO Aviation partnered with VIP Completions, to install a new ALTO cabin audio system.

The new ALTO Sound system replaced the obsolete factory-installed audio system. The installation included six ultralight, high-performance ASP-401 Mid-High loudspeakers, which are fit-compatible replacements for the original loudspeakers.

This cabin audio upgrade required a substantial improvement of the bass performance over the original system, which was achieved by strategically placing four ASW-279 ALTO Subwoofers into the aircraft’s two cabin zones, providing a crystal-clear, powerful, and balanced acoustic performance. In addition, the installation offered excellent sound performance throughout the cabin, fully supported by two ALTO DA-230 amplifiers.

An ALTO cabin systems engineer tuned the system onsite at the VIP Completions facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US to perfectly match the aircraft’s acoustic profile upon completing the installation. Following the specifications of the aircraft owner, the tuning focused on a fully optimised and powerful Stereo presentation, with special sonic attention and sweet spots specifically directed to the second row of VIP seats in the forward zone.

“The aircraft came with its original interior; at almost 20-years-old it was dated visually and cabin entertainment and connectivity standpoint. The owner wanted to modernise everything and insisted on the best of the best. We did not hesitate one second in recommending the ALTO product to ensure an incredible audio experience for the owner and all their guests,” said Ben Shirazy, President of VIP Completions.

“Every detail of this seamless installation by VIP Completions is simply outstanding and looks straight from the factory; we are so excited and thankful knowing that the ALTO Sound specifically designed for this project has exceeded their client’s strict audiophile requirements. We look forward to continuing our valued and consistent partnership with VIP Completions to provide their clients with unrivalled cabin sound quality and to continue exceeding their highest acoustic expectations,” Don Hamilton, ALTO Aviation President, said.

The installation is part of a complete aircraft refurbishment that included new wood, upholstery, carpeting, soft goods, plating, lighting, and audio and video upgrades.

Businessman in front of business aviation jet

New alliance aims to streamline tax reclamation for business aviation

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Businessman in front of business aviation jet

Satcom Direct (SD), the AI-powered spend management platform MySky, and tax reclamation experts, VAT IT USA, have entered into a strategic alliance to streamline VAT and tax reclamation to mutual customers by leveraging each partner’s technology.

The aggregation of the VAT IT tax recovery option with the MySky financial module, within the digital flight operations platform SD Pro, acts as a force multiplier for flight departments, operators, and owners. After a complimentary one time sign up to VAT IT, tax specialists will assess and process inputted expense and invoice data to initiate the VAT reclamation which saves money, reduces workload, and improves the overall ownership experience.

For those requiring Mineral Oil Tax reclamation, the VAT IT module also supports the highly complicated reclamation process to further enhance the offering.

The first phase of the integration will begin immediately, allowing SD and MySky users to sign-up for the gratis VAT IT service, with the full tax reclamation service slated to be made available through SD Pro and MySky in Q2 2022.

“This arrangement showcases the benefits of our open architecture platform, which allows integration of third-party suppliers to deliver tangible added value to the user experience,” sa Chris Moore, president business aviation, Satcom Direct. “We support an established, international, customer base that uses SD Pro to manage all aspects of flight operations, MySky has the technology to streamline financial management for operators and flight departments, and VAT IT has the expertise to facilitate valuable VAT reclamation for its clients. With this alliance we are truly optimising the power of integration to better serve our customers.”

The new agreement enables an unprecedented means of improving tax recovery, an often cumbersome, and ignored, time-consuming task. “The addition of VAT IT to the combined benefits of SD Pro and MySky heightens fiscal control and efficiencies, giving flight departments and operators significantly bolstered financial and taxation support. By simplifying tax recovery, we are delivering a winning formula for all stakeholders involved with managing the aircraft budgets; even corporate financial departments will welcome the VAT recovery option,” commented Carl de Lange, Managing Director of VAT IT USA.

The MySky module in SD Pro provides access to financial data and proprietary IT tools that help owners and operators reduce costs, refine spending, and improve the overall aircraft ownership experience. “MySky strongly believes in the importance of increasing efficiency for business aviation owners and operators. We are delighted that the alliance with SD and VAT IT significantly simplifies processes and saves time for users. This is another step forward to making operations smoother and more transparent within our sector,” added Jean De Looz, MySky Managing Director Americas.

Cairns MRO facility, Australia

Heston MRO expands capabilities with Cairns MRO acquisition

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Cairns MRO facility, Australia

Australasian independent MRO organisation Heston MRO is to acquire Jet Aviation’s Cairns MRO facility.

Cairns MRO is the largest MRO centre in Far North Queensland, attracting customers from Australia, Pacific Islands, and Southeast Asia, specialising in heavy maintenance and avionics repairs in a 5,400 square metre facility.

Upon completion, the new acquisition will expand Heston MRO capabilities into full heavy maintenance for regional aircraft, as well as state-of-the-art avionics repairs shops for wider range of aircraft types.

“We are excited to add Cairns facility to the Heston MRO family,” said Jonas Butautis, Director and Partner at Heston MRO. “Over the last couple of years our company has been looking for the best options how to expand into heavy maintenance and components repairs in Australia. Having done the analysis on Cairns facility, its professional and experienced staff, range of capabilities and growth potential, we decided that it fits well into the overall Heston MRO vision of becoming a Total Care partner for airlines in the Australasian region. Once the transaction is complete, Heston MRO will be offering line, base, components, engines MRO capabilities, as well as technical training and other services. With selected services we will be able to cover the full suite of aircraft types, from smaller regionals like ATR and Dash 8 Q400, narrowbodies like Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s, to large widebodies like Boeing 777s and 787s, and Airbus A350s and A380s.”

Air Cote d'Ivoire aircraft mid-flight

Air Côte D’Ivoire opts for Moment for IFE provision

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Air Cote d'Ivoire aircraft mid-flight

Air Côte d’Ivoire is equipping its fleet of nine aircraft (A320neo, A320 and Q400) with the Flymingo Box, Moment’s portable wireless in-flight entertainment system.

Available on selected aircraft since 24 December 2021, the Flymingo Box server gives passengers access to a wide range of content including films, music, press, radio, podcasts, and digital books.

Easily installed in the cabin and requiring no intervention from the crew, the Flymingo Box allows rapid distribution throughout the cabin of a single-aisle aircraft.

“We are delighted with this partnership with Moment, which allows the deployment of a digital entertainment system dedicated to our passengers,” said Laurent Loukou, CEO of Air Côte d’Ivoire. “We are committed to being a forward-looking airline and Moment supports us in this process Among all the entertainment possibilities available on the market, Moment’s solution met the best of our expectations. Offering a broad range of content and services, it can evolve according to our needs to become a genuine point of contact on board. We were also thrilled with Moment’s uptime and the simplicity of its system both in installation and passenger use – a significant differentiating point.”

Moment’s Sales Director Dieudonné Kamaté said: “We are pleased to make our expertise available to Air Côte d’Ivoire and to collaborate with the company to equip its entire fleet with our Flymingo Box solution. The Flymingo Box’s deployment model and technology are perfectly suited to the strategy of the company and to its aircraft. As an agile solution, it offers passengers a wide variety of content and allows the company to increase on-board satisfaction and loyalty.”

Reconfigured cabin of Aeroflot 777-300 aircraft.

HAECO completes Boeing 777 cabin reconfiguration for Aeroflot

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Reconfigured cabin of Aeroflot 777-300 aircraft.

HAECO Hong Kong has completed the cabin reconfiguration of three Aeroflot Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

The Russian carrier unveiled its first long-range Boeing 777 aircraft with the retrofitted cabin in August 2021.

The new cabin interior has been reconfigured to accommodate 427 passengers, an increase in capacity from 402 seats. This includes 28 Super Diamond NG seats equipped with sliding doors in Business class, 24 seats in Comfort class and 375 seats in Economy class.

The seat pitch averages 80 cm in economy class and 96 cm in comfort class. Business class passengers can enjoy individual suites with sliding doors and extra armrests, providing a high level of privacy. Each private suite is also fitted with an 18.5-inch HD monitor and a two-metre full-flat bed.

Passengers in all cabin classes can access the latest generation Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system.

HAECO Hong Kong, a member of the HAECO Group, accomplished this Supplemental Type Certificate input with Boeing as a design integrator.

Aeroflot will operate the retrofitted Boeing 777 on all popular international and domestic routes, including Dubai, New York, Los Angeles, Mahé, Delhi, Yerevan, Bishkek, Baku, Tashkent, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

Airbus A350

Motus and Shoreline partner on IFE offerings

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Airbus A350

Motus and Shoreline Entertainment have signed a long-term partnership for the transport industry.

Through this collaboration a catalogue of more than 200 hours of entertainment curated by Shoreline is available immediately to airlines on a AVOD (advertising-based video on demand) revenue share basis.

The initial catalogue delivers a wide range of content from highbrow festival winning feature films, content spanning all genres including documentaries, musicals, and classic cartoons and popular TV series.

SIA Engineering Company has signed a long-term distribution agreement with Iacobucci HF Aerospace that bolsters SIAEC’s existing collaboration with IHFA as one of the authorised repair centers for IHFA’s galley insert products in the Asia-Pacific region.

SIA Engineering Company extends Iacobucci collaboration

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SIA Engineering Company has signed a long-term distribution agreement with Iacobucci HF Aerospace that bolsters SIAEC’s existing collaboration with IHFA as one of the authorised repair centers for IHFA’s galley insert products in the Asia-Pacific region.

SIA Engineering Company has signed a long-term distribution agreement with Iacobucci HF Aerospace that bolsters SIAEC’s existing collaboration with IHFA as one of the authorised repair centers for IHFA’s galley insert products in the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the terms of the agreement, SIAEC is granted the rights in the Asia-Pacific region to distribute and sell spare parts required for the aftermarket activities of IHFA’s galley insert products that are mainly featured on the premium cabins of current and next generation aircraft, including Airbus A350 and A320neo as well as Boeing 787, 777X and 737MAX.

According to Ng Chin Hwee, SIAEC Chief Executive Officer: “SIAEC is delighted to extend our collaboration with IHFA that now vertically integrates the supply chain aspect into our cabin suite of services. By leveraging our extensive airline and fleet management experiences, we aim to augment our role in the region in facilitating better, more accessible and faster cabin aftermarket support to IHFA’s existing airline and MRO customers.”

Lucio Iacobucci, IHFA President and Chief Executive Officer, added: “We are excited and proud to have extended the collaboration with SIAEC to implement a more innovative and efficient spare parts distribution system throughout the APAC region. Given SIAEC’s extensive support network and experience, I am confident that our customers will immediately benefit from our collaboration and experience superior customer support through a more efficient supply chain flow in the region.”

Air India aircraft in flight

ICCR encourages greater use of Indian music onboard Indian airlines

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Air India aircraft in flight

The lndian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has proposed that Indian airlines play Indian music onboard to further promote Indian culture.

ICCR President Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe hosted a meeting before Christmas with the Minister for Civil Aviation’ Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia and selected musicians to discuss the idea of promoting lndian classical and ethnic music.

The ICCR believes that such an initiative would renew national interest in lndian music and further help the propagation of India’s multi-faceted culture, and its dissemination to a larger audience. The music played by most airlines across the globe is the quintessential of the country to which the airline belongs.

According to an ICCR press release, “This seemingly small change [to] play lndian music in flights operated by lndian air companies shall go a long way in igniting love for the motherland in the hearts of our countrymen.”