Wavestream's IFC high-power transceiver has received DO-160G certification

Successful test of Wavestream IFC high-power transceiver for DO-160G certification

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
Wavestream's IFC high-power transceiver has received DO-160G certification

Global Eagle Entertainment has successfully tested Gilat’s in-flight connectivity high-power transceiver, the Aerostream 40Ku, achieving DO-160G certification. Production units are planned to be shipped for usage in commercial aircraft, starting in the second quarter of 2021.

Wavestream’s AeroStream 40Ku transceiver is designed for exceptionally high- reliability, with a field-reported Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) of greater than 30,000 flight hours. The high-power transceiver incorporates the latest in Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology and enables more return bandwidth from the plane back to the satellite than previous generations. The successful completion of environmental conditions testing for airborne equipment, DO-160G, brings the transceiver a step closer to airworthiness and Supplemental Type Certification (STC).

“The true partnership between Global Eagle and Wavestream was evident in the joint engineering effort to bring about the DO-160G certification for Wavestream’s high power AeroStream 40Ku transceiver,” said Bob Huffman, Wavestream’s General Manager. “This achievement increases our already industry-leading reliability and performance in IFC transceivers and extends Wavestream’s leadership in the Ku-band IFC business area, which currently stands at 30 million flight hours and counting.”

Still from award-winning film, Minari. Courtesy A24

Global Eagle secures exclusive worldwide rights to ‘Minari’ and ‘First Cow’

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
Still from award-winning film, Minari. Courtesy A24

Global Eagle has obtained the exclusive worldwide in-flight distribution rights to critically acclaimed independent films Minari (pictured) and First Cow.

Produced by the Academy Award-winning film and TV studio A24, Minari and First Cow will be available for passengers to enjoy onboard this summer.

Terri Davies, SVP Content and Media at Global Eagle, said: “We are the leading in-flight entertainment provider of innovative and unique entertainment packages which go beyond mainstream media. We fully support independent film producers such as A24 and are excited to bring these two highly-rated movies to our customers and their passengers.”

The two films have been awarded several accolades, including for Minari a 2021 Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language, US Competition Grand Jury Prize, and an Audience Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, while First Cow was named The Best Movie of 2020 by the New York Film Critics Circle.

Pac-Man and other retro games are coming to airlines equipped with Panasonic IFE

Partnership brings retro games in-flight

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
Pac-Man and other retro games are coming to airlines equipped with Panasonic IFE

Panasonic Avionics is to strengthen its in-flight entertainment gaming portfolio.

The deal with Japanese multinational videogame publisher and developer, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, will see games such as Pac-Man, Dig Dug and Galaga become available on aircraft equipped with Panasonic IFE.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “The gaming industry is one of the few that have seen significant growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This demonstrates the value global consumers place on games and their unique ability to take players on digital adventures and provide connections to different communities.”

Naoki Katashima, Managing Director of BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, added: “The COVID-19 pandemic that struck the world has greatly affected and changed our way of life. As the world comes together in overcoming the pandemic, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment has partnered with Panasonic Avionics to provide our universally acclaimed game content to be enjoyed in-flight, with hope of the day to come when travellers are free to enjoy the skies again.”

Rajeev Suri, Inmarsat's new CEO

Inmarsat appoints new CEO

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
Rajeev Suri, Inmarsat's new CEO

Inmarsat has announced Rajeev Suri, former Nokia CEO, to succeed Rupert Pearce with effect from 1 March 2021.

Pearce will step down as CEO from 28 February 2021. Suri, who will be based in the UK, will also become a director of Connect Bidco Limited, the holding company for Inmarsat,

Suri said: “I am very excited to join Inmarsat, and to work closely with such skilled people, at such an important moment for the company and the satellite communications industry as a whole. I have been very impressed by the capabilities and ambitions of the company and its partner community and wish to pay tribute to their ethos, drive and ingenuity. Together, they have established technology leadership in satellite mobility, underpinned by a unique understanding of the customer.”

Internal image of Astronics CSC HQ manufacturing lines

Astronics still feeling impact of pandemic

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
Internal image of Astronics CSC HQ manufacturing lines

Astronics has reported financial results for the three and twelve months ended 31 December 2020.

Fourth quarter revenue was US$114.8 million, down 42.1% from the comparator period of 2019, but up 7.8% sequentially from the third quarter. The Company incurred a pre-tax loss of $7.5 million.

Revenue in 2020 was $502.6 million, down 35% compared with 2019 as a direct result of the global pandemic. Net loss for the year was $115.8 million.

Commercial aerospace was about $263 million of 2020 revenue, or 52% of total revenue, down nearly 50%. Aircraft build rates are expected to improve modestly during 2021 from current levels as production of the 737 MAX picks up. The aftermarket is expected to strengthen over the course of the year as aircraft utilisation and load factors increase.

The company also reported that general aviation demand contracted about 11% to approximately $60 million, or 12% of revenue. Most of Astronics’ general aviation revenue is line fit driven by the manufacture of new aircraft, although there is some amount of aftermarket business as well. New build rates for business jet aircraft are expected to improve in 2021 from current levels.

Referencing the recertification of the 737 MAX, CEO Peter J. Gundermann commented: “Back in 2019, before the pandemic, it was our single largest aircraft production program across our entire company, for which we provide a minimum of $90,000 per aircraft built. And depending on how it’s configured, that total can increase up to $250,000 or so. We do not expect much impact from that recertification in the first half of the year as Boeing is building at a rather low rate and they are going to burn off inventory that accumulated when the production shut down almost a year ago. But we expect in the second half that, that will start to have a meaningful impact on our financials. And if Boeing hits their production – anticipated production rates going into 2022, it should again be one of our larger programs across our company.”

Before the pandemic, the business jet market was about 10% of the company’s volume. Gundermann is optimistic that the publicly announced intention to increase production rates by OEMs should help its line fit activity.

Qatar Airways has become the first airline to offer 100% touch free IFE access vis PEDs

Qatar Airways set to offer passengers 100% ‘Zero-Touch’ IFE

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
Qatar Airways has become the first airline to offer 100% touch free IFE access vis PEDs

Passengers travelling on board the airline’s Airbus A350 fleet will soon be able to access the Oryx One in-flight entertainment system through their own personal electronic devices, minimising the risk of COVID-19.

To pair their PED, passengers need to connect to ‘Oryxcomms’ Wi-Fi and scan a QR code displayed on the screen. They can then use their devices to navigate and enjoy more than 4,000 options on Oryx One limiting the frequency of on board surface contact and providing greater peace of mind throughout the duration of their journey.

The airline is also set to become the first in Europe and the Middle East and North Africa region to offer passengers in Business and Economy the option to pair their personal Bluetooth headphones with the on-board seatback IFE system in all cabins on the Boeing 787-9 fleet.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “The introduction of the state-of-the-art Zero-Touch technology, and enabling passengers to use their personal Bluetooth headset on board is an important step in taking our already rigorous and stringent COVID-19 precautions to another level, limiting passenger surface contact and preventing any possible spread of infection on board.

“We hope it provides yet further assurance of the safety of air travel, as well as offering passengers on board increased confidence that they are enjoying the most consistently advanced customer experience available in the sky.”

SmartSky Networks aicraft

SmartSky successfully closes funding round

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
SmartSky Networks aicraft

SmartSky Networks has confirmed it has raised more than US$32 million in additional equity and debt funding, as it moves forward with plans to launch its next-generation aviation Wi-Fi connectivity service later this year.

“In a display of confidence in the future of SmartSky’s groundbreaking technology and services, we received new funds from our institutional investors,” said SmartSky CEO David Helfgott.

SmartSky’s office-grade in-flight Wi-Fi service for business and commercial aviation uses the company’s uniquely scalable, single-beam-per-aircraft approach. Through its Skytelligence digital innovation platform, the company aims to improve safety and efficiency while providing the industry with new ancillary revenue sources.

Intelsat satellite rendering

Intelsat files Plan of Reorganization as it aims to exit Chapter 11 proceedings

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
Intelsat satellite rendering

Intelsat has obtained the support of key creditor constituencies on the terms of a comprehensive financial restructuring that would reduce the Company’s debt by more than half – from nearly US$15 billion to $7 billion – and position the Company for long-term success.

Intelsat announced on 13 May, 2020 its decision to undertake a financial restructuring process to position itself for long-term success and allow for the business to emerge with a strengthened balance sheet.

Intselsat is filing a proposed Plan of Reorganization in its Chapter 11 proceedings pending before the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, accompanied by an explanatory Disclosure Statement.

The Company is requesting a hearing on March 17, 2021 to seek Court approval of the Disclosure Statement and establish procedures to solicit votes on the Plan, which it is hoped will allow it to emerge from Chapter 11 proceedings in the second half of 2021.

Trusted Partner Network logo

AeroLab joins Trusted Partner Network

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
Trusted Partner Network logo

AeroLab, the Mumbai-based Lab facility of Aeroplay Entertainment, has become the latest member of the Trusted Partner Network (TPN).

A new, global, industry-wide film and television content protection initiative, the TPN program is a joint venture between two major entertainment industry associations, the Motion Pictures of America (MPA) and the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA) for conformance with the MPA content security best practices.

With the TPN certification, Aeroplay Entertainment is able o provide the highest level of security required to keep all data protected and private for its clients and partners (studios and distributors).

AeroLab offers complete specialised technical services, which include, but are not limited to, digital asset management, audio-video editing, mastering, language localisation, origination services along with encoding and transcoding content for all airline in-flight entertainment systems.

“Aeroplay’s investment in a world-class lab in Mumbai and the certification by Trusted Partner Network shall provide the necessary comfort to major Hollywood studios to directly send media files to our lab. The technical facility provides secure and real-time content automation, encoding and delivery pipeline to enable cost and time-savings to movie and TV studios, and distributors around the world for delivering their content to all major in-flight entertainment systems,” said Prakash Johari, Chief Executive Officer, Aeroplay Entertainment.

Gilat is hoping to unlock Chinese potential for IFC

Gilat makes inroads into Chinese IFC market

By Featured, IFECNo Comments
Gilat is hoping to unlock Chinese potential for IFC

Gilat Satellite Networks has shipped the first batch of its Taurus aero modems for deployment on the entire fleet of an undisclosed Chinese airline customer – its first in the country.

The Ka-band modems have already been installed by a Chinese system integrator and providing IFEC services to passengers.

“Gilat is most appreciative of the close partnership with the Chinese integrator, and the joint effort of ramping up the airline’s fleet of aircraft with Gilat’s proven aero modem, Taurus,” said Yuan Si, China Country Manager for Gilat. “We are pleased to see the in-flight connectivity business moving forward in China and look forward to equipping additional airlines with Gilat’s high-performance aero modem, enabling passengers an excellent IFEC user experience.”