FAI Aviation Group receives Diamond Safety Award from EBAA

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FAI Aviation Group has been awarded a Diamond Safety of Flight Award from the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA).

The award was presented at a special event held during the EBACE Convention in Geneva, Switzerland with Siegfried Axtmann, FAI Group chairman accepting the award on behalf of the company.

Diamond status is the highest safety recognition awarded by EBAA to member companies operating business aircraft for 50 years or 100,000 hours without an accident.

On accepting the award, Siegfried Axtmann said: “Having received the Gold Award last year, it is very gratifying to be recognised again, particularly with such a prestigious award. The Diamond Award is an outstanding achievement and an important milestone for the company. Safety is our number one priority and at the heart of everything that we do. It also highlights the tremendous effort that everyone in our team puts in every day for which I am grateful.”

FAI is the world’s largest air ambulance jet operator by revenue, having logged more than 200,000 hours flying air ambulance missions. It is also Germany’s largest general aviation operator by fleet, operating more than 13,000 hours of airtime in 2017.

Photo Caption – Right to Left, Siegfried Axtmann, FAI founder and Group chairman accepts his Diamond Award, presented by EBAA’s chairman, Juergen Wiese.

Editor’s comment: Legacies old and new

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Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

Geneva may have been bathed in sunshine at the beginning of the week, but the start of this year’s European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) was overshadowed by the death of Serge Dassault, chairman and CEO of Groupe Dassault. Indeed, his memory and legacy were remembered throughout the four-day event.

While several new aircraft models debuted at the show, it was on-board connectivity that was the talk of the newswires. Whether it was an integrated bundle of hardware, software or services, investment in high-speed connectivity continues apace, and it’s not just on new and in-production models, but as a retrofit option too, ensuring that owners and operators remain connected wherever they are in the world.

Affordability, reliability, security and coverage are the names of the game here and there’ll no doubt be more customer announcements and STC awards to come in the days and weeks ahead.

For now, the industry mourns the loss of an innovator. As National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen commented of Dassault, “Without question, he will long be remembered as a diplomat, statesman, innovator and leader, not just within the industry, but among all those who have been influenced by his leadership.”


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Editor’s comment: IFC swoops to conquer

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Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

To date, Iridium has completed six launches, all with SpaceX out of its west coast launch facility, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A total of eight Iridium NEXT launches are currently planned with SpaceX and will deliver 75 new satellites to orbit. In total, 81 satellites are being built, with 66 in the operational constellation, nine serving as on-orbit spares and six as ground spares.

The Iridium NEXT constellation of interconnected low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites will pave the way for the new broadband service, Iridium Certus, as the in-flight connectivity sector heats up.

While Certus uses Iridium’s L-band spectrum, it is the Ka-band spotbeams of the EUTELSAT 3B satellite that has interest piqued, as Axinom becomes the latest player to sign up to Taqnia Space’s UON service – a complete aviation connectivity package which includes internet service, live TV streaming, and voice roaming service. Axinom introduced its smart traffic management technology enabling live TV at April’s AIX in Hamburg.

EUTELSAT 3B has been steered by Eutelsat to cover flight paths extending from London to Saudi Arabia and from Casablanca to Oman, as Saudi Arabian Airlines becomes the first commercial airline to connect to the platform later in the year.

Eutelsat, Jamco and SITAONAIR are the other collaborative parties to the UON project.

According to Abdullah Alosaimi, CEO of Taqnia Space company, “With UON, all airlines around the world will be able to offer their passengers high-throughput-connectivity services that are currently provided on a limited scale by a few airlines in North America.”

One such airline readying to offer in-flight Wi-Fi is the WestJet-backed Swoop, Canada’s first ultra-low-cost carrier. With a planned all Boeing 737-800 series fleet, IFC is just one of a number of amenities that includes in-seat power and in-flight entertainment.

If you’re visiting EBACE in Geneva next week, you can stay connected and entertained with us by visiting our Booth – L97. Loyal supporters of the event, we’re exhibiting for the first time this year, so please do drop by and say hello to the team.

Icelandair launches latest initiative – Team Iceland Stopover

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To celebrate the achievements of the Icelandic national football team Icelandair has launched Team Iceland Stopover, a selection of 90-minute, football-inspired experiences curated by the Icelandic national team, and included in the price of any Icelandair Stopover flight ticket.

Icelandair’s experiences provide travellers with an insight into the lives of both the men’s and women’s team players and Icelandic football history.

Available from May until the end of June, these 90-minute activities cater to a range of traveller’s passion points, from culture to fitness and well-being. To provide passengers with an authentic experience and local insight into football culture in Iceland, all experiences will be hosted by a special guest from the world of football or a ‘Stopover Buddy’, an Icelandair staff member who is passionate about Iceland and football and who takes pride in sharing their local knowledge and expertise.

Björgólfur Jóhannsson, president and CEO at Icelandair commented, “As proud sponsors of the national team, we are thrilled to celebrate their success this summer with our Team Iceland Stopover service. We are continually looking at ways to enhance our customer experience and hope that passengers will enjoy time well-travelled this summer through this value-added offering. Not only can our passengers find out more about the backstory of this legendary team, but we’ve worked with the players to personally design these experiences, allowing our passengers to follow in their footsteps.”

Team Iceland Stopover experiences include:

  • Support like an Icelander: Captains Aron Gunnarsson and Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir have set up the chance for lucky fans to attend either a National Men’s or Women’s team match and learn how to participate in the thunder clap.
  • Relax like a Pro: After making history for Iceland as their first ever goal scorer at a major tournament, midfielder Birkir Bjarnason is inviting passengers to one of his favourite geothermal areas at Laugarvatn Fontana, where passengers can unwind, enjoying the geothermal baths, sauna and lake for a swim.
  • Train the Icelandic Way: International female star Dagný Brynjarsdóttir will put passengers through their paces in a training session featuring stunning views of Iceland’s striking terrain.
  • Footballing Family: The legendary Breidablik Academy is the place where many of the national team began their careers when they were young. Among them was Jóhann Berg, who has since gone on to become a Premier League player. Here younger travellers will have the chance to follow in Jóhann’s footsteps with a special 90-minute session at the Academy.
  • Goal in One: Gylfi Sigurðsson’s enjoys playing golf and travellers will be able to play on one of Gylfi’s favourite courses in Iceland and spend time with the club pro, who will help passengers work on everything from their swing to their putting.

Agency Brooklyn Brothers, working with Islenska, created the project.

Editor’s comment: ‘I do’ for IFC

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Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

It’s difficult to avoid the bunting as the UK and it seems most of the world gears up for this weekend’s Royal wedding.

Even flying at 35,000ft won’t make you immune from wedding fever as British Airways will celebrate the Royal wedding, by operating flight BA93 on May 19 to Toronto – the city where their relationship took off – will be operated by a crew of only Meghans and Harrys.

More sparkle is available as throughout May, customers on long-haul flights will be able to watch episodes of the Toronto-shot TV series Suits, enjoy documentaries and podcasts about how Harry and Meghan met and the history of Windsor Castle. Passengers who miss the event on television will be able to catch up on board, as the wedding highlights will be available on long-haul flights the following day.

The theme of union continues as Bombardier Business Aircraft ramps up its investment in the passenger experience with collaborations with Lufthansa Technik – for enhancements to the nice Touch cabin management system for the Global 7000 aircraft (we look forward to seeing it up close at EBACE in a few weeks’ time) – and Duncan Aviation for STCs covering Gogo’s AVANCE L5 4G system.

Elsewhere, SAS has launched Wi-Fi services in co-operation with ViaSat on its short- and medium-haul routes between Scandinavia and continental Europe. The airline has already begun installations and expects the vast majority of its fleet to be Wi-Fi enabled by the first quarter of 2020.

While young Prince Louis may have grabbed the attention of royal watchers recently, it’s LEO which is gaining the interest of the aviation market. Global Eagle, a customer of Telesat’s geostationary satellites, is to begin tests of Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite, using its newly developed Ka-band antenna.

LEO promises to deliver low-latency, high-speed broadband – perfect for announcing future royal proclamations.


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Video: Featuring news updates from Westjet, Utalk, Gogo and Alaska Airlines

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Inflight Two Minutes provides a convenient summary of recent headlines and topical content for our followers. This week features news from Westjet on its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner livery, logo and cabin, Utalk partnering with Emirates and easyJet, Gogo gains STC for 2Ku on A321neo and Alaska Airlines has unveiled its first DisneyPixar film livery.

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Video: Qatar Airways, Panasonic, JetBlue and Bombardier hit the headlines in Inflight Two Minutes

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Inflight Two Minutes provides a convenient summary of recent headlines and topical content for our followers. This week features news from Qatar Airways on their introduction of Inmarsat’s GX Aviation, Panasonic Avionics Corporation agreement to pay $137.4 million criminal penalty charge, JetBlue has unveiled its fleet restyling and Bombardier Business Aircraft new Nuage seat debuting on the Global 7000 aircraft.

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Editor’s comment: New ventures

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This week a raft of announcements have emphasised the power of partnerships – WestJet has revealed the new cabin interior for its Dreamliners, designed by PriestmanGoode, but they weren’t the only ones to reveal new ventures.

WestJet unveiled its new Dreamliner livery, logo and cabin interior design, with inspiration drawn from its Canadian heritage, in the run up to the arrival of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in 2019.

The aircraft will feature a three-class cabin in designs created by PriestmanGoode, with its director and design lead, Ben Rowan, saying: “We set out to create a design tour of Canada onboard WestJet’s new fleet of Boeing Dreamliners, taking inspiration from the country’s stunning landscapes.”

The airline is also paying homage to its heritage through the livery design, featuring an updated maple leaf on the aircraft tail, the Canadian flag at the front of the aircraft and both of Canada’s official languages on the fuselage with ‘The Spirit of Canada’ on one side and the French translation ‘L’esprit du Canada’ on the other.

Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO, called the Dreamliners’ impending arrival “The dawn of a new era for WestJet and the next step in our transformation to a global network airline.”

Several other new ventures have also been unveiled this week, including Turkish Technic and Havelsan establishing a joint venture company to produce in-flight entertainment and internet service provider systems. The company is aiming to provide linefit in-flight entertainment systems as an approved supplier for Turkish Airlines’ new generation aircraft, to be delivered between 2022 and 2023, and for other domestic and international airlines, too.

Meanwhile, GE Aviation and Avionica have expanded their partnership by forming a flight data and analytics joint venture through GE’s acquisition of an ownership stake in the latter. The JV allows them to accelerate edge processing and wireless connectivity to maximise the value of aircraft data. The companies say the agreement will benefit customers by improving the flow of aircraft flight data, and enrich the data at speeds and scale supported by industrial internet technologies.

The partnership combines Avionica’s suite of flight data management solutions, which includes Wi-Fi, cellular and satellite connectivity, with GE Aviation’s analytics expertise and digital products to address customer needs in flight analytics, aircraft health management and flight operations.

Inflight entertainment

Avionica and GE form joint venture

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Avionica and GE Aviation have expanded their partnership by forming a joint venture (JV) through GE’s acquisition of an ownership interest in Avionica.

The JV allows the companies to accelerate edge processing and wireless connectivity to maximise the value of aircraft data. The new agreement will improve the flow of aircraft flight data and enrich the data at speeds and scale supported by industrial internet technologies. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are determined to take aerospace data usage, related product delivery and customer support to the next level,” said John Mansfield, chief digital officer for GE Aviation. “Our customers increasingly require a lightweight solution for data flow to and from their fleet. The flow of rich and continuous data provides insights into asset condition that were not previously possible.”

The JV combines Avionica’s suite of flight data management solutions, which includes Wi-Fi, cellular and satellite connectivity, with GE Aviation’s analytics expertise and digital products to address customer needs in flight analytics, aircraft health management and flight operations.

The companies say the JV will enable new levels of efficiency across a range of flight operations including air transport, general aviation and agriculture. The combined solutions are available with existing certifications for more than 300 models of aircraft including Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer, HondaJet, Cessna, as well as Thrush agriculture aircraft.

Raul Segredo, Avionica’s president said: “Avionica’s wireless data collection and transmission technology enables advanced data analytics by accessing important flight information, such as engine and aircraft health data, wherever the aircraft is operating around the world.”

Avionica’s satellite and cellular wireless technologies support the transfer of small and large flight data sets with global coverage, economical cost and simple installation. The companies say the combination of real-time and post flight connectivity with edge technology provides customers options to increase the value of flight data while managing connectivity costs.

Mansfield continued, “Applying physics and data science expertise together, on continuous data, helps create the analytics needed to provide increased detection lead time, reduce maintenance burden and improve asset availability.”

The companies say that timely and complete data access enables more precision in the predictive maintenance applications that will impact the safety and efficiency of aircraft operations.

Avionica products are now part of GE’s digital offerings to customers.

WestJet unveils its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner livery

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WestJet has unveiled its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner livery, logo and cabin interior, including the airline’s first business class cabin, in the run-up to the arrival of the aircraft in early 2019.

“The introduction of Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliner, a state-of-the-art aircraft, is the dawn of a new era for WestJet and the next step in our transformation to a global network airline,” said Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO. “The updated livery is modern and dynamic while the interior is world-class, distinctly Canadian and uniquely WestJet. Both reflect WestJet’s transition from a regional airline in 1996 to a new era of connecting Canada with the world and bringing the world to Canada.”

WestJet has firm orders of 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft and options for another 10, which will all feature the new livery, logo and interior.

The new aircraft features a three-class cabin including business class seating, premium economy and economy seating in a design created by PriestmanGoode.

The cabin interior draws from Canadian themes, an alpine lake-blue in economy class, aurora-inspired shades and tones in premium economy, and in business class; earth tones inspired by Canadian summers.

Business class will feature touchscreen service and on-demand dining, as well as lay-flat mattresses, bedding and a turn-down service.

Premium economy will offer comfort enhancements and service, also offering a premium menu, self-serve social area and more space to move and relax.

Economy will feature oversized, self-dimming windows, in-flight entertainment and connectivity with in-seat device charging.

The updated logo and livery was overseen by Ove Brand Design and the design was implemented on the aircraft by Boeing and Teague. The font has been updated for a more uniform and ‘current’ style, while retaining the maple leaf symbol in a more contemporary and bold look. The logo also uses a single colour to soften the regional emphasis on ‘West’.

In addition to the updated maple leaf on the aircraft tail, a Canadian flag will appear at the front of the aircraft in another reference to WestJet’s heritage. The new livery will also combine both of Canada’s official languages with ‘The Spirit of Canada’ appearing on one side of the aircraft, and the French translation ‘L’esprit du Canada’ on the other, both extending across the middle of the fuselage.

“Throughout the aircraft cabin, the interior design takes inspiration from iconic Canadian landscapes,” said Louis Saint-Cyr, vice-president guest experience, WestJet “Our guests’ in-flight comfort is enhanced by the uncompromising quality of the interior finish and custom details. Both WestJet and our guests are on their way to bigger things, but as only WestJet can, we will make the journey as enjoyable as the destination.”

The livery will gradually appear across WestJet’s entire fleet as new aircraft are delivered in 2018 and as aircraft are repainted in their normal cycle. The Boeing 737 MAX-8 will be the first aircraft in the new livery appearing in June.