Thales CORE IFE

Sichuan Airlines selects Thales CORE IFE for ..

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Thales CORE IFE

Sichuan Airlines has selected Thales CORE IFE for its future fleet of A350 aircraft which are scheduled to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The aircraft will include a two-class cabin configuration equipped with 17-inch displays in business class, 12-inch displays in economy class and new state-of-the-art SELECT graphical user interface (GUI) featuring the “latest user-experience technologies creating the most intuitive passenger experience ever while celebrating Sichuan Airlines’ brand.” Passengers will enjoy the most current applications and vast selection of entertainment during their flight including a variety of television series, films, music, and games.

The airline’s current fleet of A350 is flying with the AVANT system.

fubo Viasat partnership

Viasat and fuboTV in first-of-its-kind techno..

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fubo Viasat partnership

fuboTV, the sports and news-focused live TV streaming service has signed a video streaming distribution and technology partnership with Viasat allowing airline passengers access to live sports, entertainment and news streaming-at-scale at no charge.

The partnership is the first to leverage innovative technology standards from the global technical association, the Streaming Video Alliance (the Alliance), and apply them to in-flight connectivity. These standards enable airlines that sign-up for the Viasat/fuboTV partnership to seamlessly make fuboTV’s live streaming premium over-the-top (OTT) and video on-demand (VOD) sports, entertainment and news programming available to all passengers on US flights equipped with Viasat satellite internet.

As the first to implement the open caching specifications of the Streaming Video Alliance in-flight, Viasat and fuboTV are using multicast techniques to deliver live OTT and VOD content at-scale. Specifically, the companies have implemented the Alliance specifications over Viasat’s capacity-rich network, to optimize video delivery of fuboTV’s live TV streaming service, including their free linear channel, fubo Sports Network. This technology optimisation provides for more reliable live and VOD streaming with faster web page downloads and enhanced video streaming image quality—on any personal device connected to the Viasat network.

Participating airlines that choose to take advantage of the Viasat/fuboTV technology partnership will be able to give their passengers, whether fuboTV subscribers or not, free access to fubo Sports Network. Current fuboTV subscribers, and passengers that sign-up for a free seven-day trial of fuboTV when in-flight, will be able to enjoy live and VOD content for the duration of their flight.

“We’re focused on delivering the best live TV and sports streaming service to our customers—anywhere, and now that includes at 35,000 feet,” said Cristina Arango, director of strategic partnerships, fuboTV. “Streaming live television is complex, and fuboTV prides itself on our internally-built tech stack that allows us to bring a stable experience to our subscribers. That’s why it was critical for us to work with a proven technology partner like Viasat to enable fuboTV to be one of the first live streaming services to expand distribution to the US aviation market. We are excited to offer both fuboTV and fubo Sports Network without the need to purchase an in-flight Wi-Fi package, to millions of passengers every month—which is an untapped environment for us.”

Jason Thibeault, executive director, Streaming Video Alliance commented, “It is exciting to see two innovators, like Viasat and fuboTV, build an offering using next-generation streaming technologies like our Open Caching specifications to improve the video experience for passengers in-flight. Viasat has contributed significantly to the Alliance’s work in Open Caching and other working groups, which has furthered the Alliance’s progress in helping the streaming industry to improve scalability, delivery consistency and reliability of OTT services.”

OneWeb Feb 2020

OneWeb launches 34 more satellites into orbit

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OneWeb Feb 2020

OneWeb has completed its second satellite launch as it prepares to build out its phase one constellation of 648 satellites.

In early February, 34 satellite were successfully launched into orbit aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

The communications company is on schedule to provide global coverage to customers in 2021, starting with the first commercial services in the Arctic this year. This follows OneWeb both securing global priority spectrum rights and successfully launching its first batch of satellites in 2019.

Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb, said: “The successful manufacture, delivery and launch of this batch of 34 satellites is the latest proof point of the OneWeb plan. Importantly, today’s mission also brings us closer to our next step, realising our ultimate vision of providing access to high speed, reliable internet to everyone, everywhere.

“We are seeing considerable interest from prospective customers and partners. Later this year, we will provide service in the arctic region and 2021 will see OneWeb achieve global coverage, making the digital divide a thing of the past.”

TILBA Cailabs

Bridgecomm and Cailabs join forces

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TILBA Cailabs

Optical wireless communications (OWC) solutions and services provider BridgeComm and Cailabs, a French deeptech company and global leader in light beam shaping, are to work together on improving laser communications between space, airborne and terrestrial OWC solutions.

BridgeComm develops secure optical communications networks designed to transmit large volumes of data from space and airborne platforms. This capability will directly respond to the increasing demands and evolving needs of data transmission processes.

Cailabs’ patented Multi-Plane Light Conversion (MPLC) light beam shaping technology, improves the reliability, range and robustness of laser communications in turbulent atmospheric environments and when operating with vibrations (i.e. ISL). Cailabs’ dedicated product range, named Tilba, is compatible with standard telecommunications systems and can be ported in airborne environments.

“Our products enable next-generation optical communication systems by reducing the cost of receiver ground stations and by enabling cost-effective powerful feeder links,” said Jean-François Morizur, CEO at Cailabs. “This agreement with BridgeComm is a new confirmation of the market interest for our solutions and a new milestone on the US market for Cailabs.”

“Partnering with Cailabs aligns with our mission to advance the adoption of optical wireless communications systems,” added BridgeComm CEO Barry Matsumori. “With a commercially competitive solution for transmitting big data at faster speeds—and at a lower cost—than traditional RF systems, we move one step closer to solving the battle for bandwidth.”

Petit Bambou meditation

La Compagnie invites passengers to relax onbo..

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Petit Bambou meditation

French boutique airline La Compagnie has introduced “Relax Onboard”—an in-flight wellness program encompassing a encompasses guided in-flight meditation, skin hydration products, a new calming safety video, and healthy snacks and beverages.

Led by yogis and filled with relaxing music, the new safety video guides passengers through the safety requirements with the gentleness and serenity of yoga, which has been proven to fight anxiety, depression and stress, as well as help reduce inflammation in the body.

La Compagnie has partnered with Petit Bambou, a mindful meditation application available on the aircraft’s entertainment system. The guided meditation exercises are specially designed to help with air travel and to address in-flight stress triggers such as taxiing, take-off, turbulence, cruising, descent and landing.

Caudalie, a partner of La Compagnie since its inception, ensures that its passengers’ skin remains hydrated throughout the flight by providing them with moisturising products in 15 ml format for the face and hands. Throughout the month of February, in addition to the usual products available onboard, passengers will also find Caudalie’s Eau de Beauté, which is enriched with essential oil and plant extracts to help maintain skin radiance and stimulate microcirculation.

La Compagnie offers healthy menus, boasting new selections and flavors each month, based on seasonal ingredients. Passengers can also enjoy savory and sweet snacks from Les Fruits Détendus and Bon Bean chocolates, paired with Kusmi Tea’s detoxifying tea blends. Exclusive to guests flying on the inaugural “wellness” flight from Paris to New York on 27 February, the high-speed, transatlantic Wi-Fi will allow passengers to enjoy a live meditation session via a webinar given by Mathilde FarcyMossard, meditation expert at Petit Bambou.

Additionally, two yoga teachers, Tatiana and Heloise, will guide passengers through various yoga poses that can be easily performed on board.

SWISS films

Swiss film heritage bought in-flight by SWISS

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SWISS films

SWISS has introduced a selection of six culturally and historically outstanding Swiss feature and documentary films to its in-flight entertainment.

In collaboration with the filmo online Swiss film catalogue, SWISS aims to promote awareness of and familiarity with Switzerland’s film heritage, while also enlarging its existing range of Swiss-themed in-flight entertainment under the “Made in Switzerland” banner.

Filmo is an initiative of the CH.Film association, and is dedicated to preserving Switzerland’s film heritage by digitalising it. The films it subjects to such digital preservation are selected by independent specialists on the basis of various criteria: some are by Swiss directors or producers, while others depict certain events or periods in Swiss history or regions of the country. What they all have in common is their outstanding quality, be it in cultural, historical and/or aesthetic terms.

Under current plans, the films will be available for a six-month period, after which they will be succeeded by a new partnership selection.

Current documentaries include the 1977 San Gottardo by Villi Hermann and the 2001 War Photographer by Christian Frei.

Films include the 1979 Les petits fugues by Yves Yersin; 1990’s Reise der Hoffnung by Xavier Koller; the 2006 Das Fräulein by Andrea Štaka, and 2008’s Home – F, Be, by Ursula Meier.

Mitsubishi antenna

Mitsubishi Electric develops extra-thin anten..

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Mitsubishi antenna

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has collaborated with Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) on the development of an extra-thin Ka-band (27 to 40 GHz) active electronically steered array antenna (AESA) featuring a profile of less than three centimetres, to deliver high-speed in-flight connectivity services via satellites at data rates beyond 100 Mbps.

The company has also developed the antenna elements and, in collaboration with Tohoku University and Tohoku MicroTec Co., a radio-frequency integrated circuit (RF-IC) for an envisioned millimeter-wave V-band (40 to 75 GHz) AESA that will be capable of delivering in-flight connectivity at even faster speeds.

Mitsubishi Electric’s new Ka-band AESA is thin and small enough to be installed in any aircraft, regardless of its size, and it can operate even at high latitudes, which will allow passengers to enjoy on-demand streaming and other high-speed internet services on flights worldwide. The proprietary antenna ensures high performance even when beam steering at an elevation angle of as low as 20 degrees, thereby enabling operation in the high latitudes .

Following further testing and demonstrations, the company plans to commercialise its Ka-band AESA after 2023 and a V-band AESA after 2027.

High-power and low-noise amplifiers for transmission/reception circuitry are needed to miniaturise satellite-communication antennas as well as improve their performance. Mitsubishi Electric’s new Ka-band RF-IC incorporates a high-power amplifier boasting an unprecedented power-added efficiency rating of 29.1% (when converting DC input power to RF output signals), 1.8 times that of an existing RF-IC made by Mitsubishi Electric. The RF-IC’s low-noise amplifier achieves an unprecedentedly low noise figure of just 1.8 dB, about 20% lower than that of a conventional model.

For Mitsubishi Electric’s next-generation V-band AESA, RF-ICs are being miniaturised for arraying at narrower intervals than in the case of the Ka-band AESA. Mitsubishi Electric, in collaboration with Tohoku University and Tohoku MicroTec Co., has developed the world’s first three-dimensionally integrated millimeter-wave RF-IC, which it stacks in pairs using a through-silicon vias.

Kuwait Airways A330

Kuwait Airways extends X Series IFE to new A3..

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Kuwait Airways A330

Kuwait Airways has expanded its relationship with Panasonic by selecting the X series IFE system for its new fleet of eight scheduled Airbus A330-800neo aircraft.

The airline’s existing fleet of Airbus A320 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft are already equipped with the solution, which includes full HD touch screens and touch video handsets.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “As Kuwait Airways develops its long-haul network with the introduction of its new A330-800neo fleet, Panasonic Avionics is honoured to be their partner of choice in enhancing their in-flight passenger experience.

“Our X Series in-flight entertainment systems are the most-awarded in the industry and we are confident that the memorable in-flight experiences they create will help Kuwait Airways further increase passenger engagement and loyalty.”

Zotefoams

Zotefoams to launch new extra-rigid foam

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Zotefoams

Cellular materials technology company Zotefoams has expanded its High-Performance Product (HPP) line with the introduction of its latest polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) foam, ZOTEK F X.R.

The OSU grade foam is extra-rigid closed cell crosslinked foam available in densities of 120 and 150 kg/m3.

Complementing the flexible, semi-rigid and rigid grades already available in the ZOTEK F OSU range, the introduction of XR significantly extends Zotefoams’ scope of application in aircraft interiors. ZOTEK F is already used extensively by leading aircraft manufacturers for window seals, soft-touch trim, close-outs, insulation, carpet underlay and environmental control systems due to its light weight, ease of processing and its frequent suitability to replace composite materials. The material also meets all relevant aviation standards, offering outstanding fire, smoke and toxicity (FST) ratings.

“With the introduction of the XR grade, we are extending the weight-saving benefits of the ZOTEK F OSU range to locations such as the interior of seat pods, stowage lockers, rigid armrests and tray tables, reducing weight by as much as 70% on a like-for-like basis,” said James Bridges, Director of High-Performance Products at Zotefoams.

Grades of ZOTEK F can be laminated together to create a single material that is rigid on one side and soft/flexible on the other and can be formed into curves and complex shapes, opening up opportunities for design teams looking to bring individuality and extra comfort to cabin interiors.

Also in demand for their weight-saving properties are materials from Zotefoams’ AZOTE polyethylene foams range. At just 15 kg/m3, MP15FR is the lightest OEM-approved FR grade aviation foam, while LD24FR is the market-leading foam for aircraft seating. The AZOTE range includes conductive and static dissipative grades compatible with sensitive electronic components. Applications include ducting, seals, insulation, seat padding and support and buoyancy aids.

Air New Zealand Inmarsat

Air New Zealand enjoys surge in free in-fligh..

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Air New Zealand Inmarsat

Passengers on Air New Zealand have accessed more than one million free in-flight passenger broadband sessions, within a year of the airline switching to a free-of-charge model for its in-flight broadband service.

December 2019 was Air New Zealand’s biggest month ever for free in-flight Wi-Fi sessions, with more than 122,000 customers connecting.

Inmarsat’s GX Aviation is currently available on almost 25 aircraft within the Air New Zealand fleet, operating on Trans-Tasman, Pacific Island, US and London routes. This includes a combination of Boeing 777-200, 777-300 and 787-9 aircraft, in addition to Airbus A320 and A321neos.

Chris Rogerson, Inmarsat Aviation’s Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific, said: “Air New Zealand is one of the airline industry’s biggest advocates of free in-flight broadband. Whenever and wherever passengers fly with them, they will be offered unrestricted internet access at zero cost. It is a prime example of how this leading airline always seeks to delight and surprise their passengers.”