OneWeb launch. Photo Credit ESA-CNES-ARIANESPACE Optique Video du CSG

Eutelsat and OneWeb to combine

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OneWeb launch. Photo Credit ESA-CNES-ARIANESPACE Optique Video du CSG

Eutelsat Communications and key OneWeb shareholders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create a leading global player in connectivity through the combination of both companies in an all-share transaction.

The MoU will see Eutelsat combining its 36-strong fleet of GEO satellites with OneWeb’s constellation of 648 Low Earth Orbit satellites. OneWeb has 428 satellites currently in orbit.

The companies say the transaction would be structured as an exchange of OneWeb shares by its shareholders (other than Eutelsat) with new shares issued by Eutelsat, such that, at closing, Eutelsat would own 100% of OneWeb (excluding the ‘Special Share’ of the UK Government). Also, OneWeb shareholders would receive 230 million newly issued Eutelsat shares representing 50% of the enlarged share capital.

Commenting on the combination, Dominique D’Hinnin, Eutelsat’s Chairman said: “I am delighted to announce this new and significant step in the collaboration between Eutelsat and OneWeb. Bringing together our two businesses will deliver a global first, combining LEO constellations and GEO assets to seize the significant growth opportunity in connectivity, and deliver to our customers solutions to their needs across an even wider range of applications.

“This combination will accelerate the commercialisation of OneWeb’s fleet, while enhancing the attractiveness of Eutelsat’s growth profile. In addition, the combination carries significant value creation potential, anchored on a balanced mix of revenue, cost and capex synergies. The strong support of strategic shareholders of both parties is a testament to the huge opportunity that this combination offers and the value that will be created for all its stakeholders. This is truly a game changer for our industry.”

Sunil Bharti Mittal, OneWeb’s Executive Chairman commented: “Having played a pioneering role in providing connectivity in the emerging world, I am excited about the possibilities of connecting the unconnected. The combination of Eutelsat and OneWeb represents a significant development in that direction as well as a unique GEO/LEO combination.

“The positive early results of our service together with our strong pipeline represent a very exciting opportunity in the fast-growing satellite connectivity segment, especially for customers requiring a high speed, low latency experience. Our customers are actively seeking a combined GEO/LEO offering leading us towards this important step. Bharti, as the lead shareholder of OneWeb, along with other key shareholders, is looking forward to playing a meaningful role in providing expanded connectivity through the combination of OneWeb and Eutelsat.”

Astrova

Panasonic Avionics announces new executive appointments following Astrova launch

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Astrova

Panasonic Avionics has announced several new executive appointments following a successful launch of Astrova, its new in-flight entertainment seat-end solution.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics commented: “Panasonic is entering this period of renewed industry demand from a position of innovation and strength. Our new Astrova product has been enthusiastically received by our customers and is but one example of how we have transformed our business to better develop our products and serve our customers. I am confident that the leadership changes that we are announcing today will build on this momentum.”

Satyen Yadav will join the company as Chief Technology Officer on 8 August and will be responsible for leading all aspects of the company’s software and systems engineering teams, cloud, hardware and IT/security. He will serve as a key member of Panasonic Avionics’ executive team and be directly responsible for an organisation of over 800 employees spread across Panasonic’s Irvine, California headquarters, as well as the Bay Area office and other global locations.

John Wade will join the company on 1 August as Vice President, Connectivity Solutions. Wade will be responsible for the overall strategy, performance, and day-to-day operations of the Connectivity business unit. He will oversee a team of network capacity engineers and satellite experts, while working very closely with sales, engineering, and product management to drive revenue and support airlines worldwide.

Tom Eskola will take on a new role as Vice President, Panasonic Technical Services. Eskola brings to this position a deep knowledge of Panasonic and commitment to its customers. He joined the company more than ten years ago and most recently has served as Vice President and General Manager of the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region (EMEA).

Inmarsat Flight Crowd partnership

Inmarsat and Flight Crowd announce partnership

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Inmarsat Flight Crowd partnership

Inmarsat and Flight Crowd have announced a first-of-its-kind, global partnership at the Farnborough Airshow.

Future flight technologies, such as all-electric and autonomous aircraft, hold the key to a more sustainable and innovative air transport industry and the companies say the partnership will improve engagement with both the industry and the general community through a series of collaborative outreach projects.

The projects are designed to inform, engage and inspire and aim to improve understanding of the air mobility sector for both the public, government and wider aviation sector, showcasing many benefits this new industry will bring. The projects will reach enthusiasts, experts and the public, including in educational settings through Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) activities.

Flight Crowd has now joined Inmarsat’s Velaris Partner Network, which is an ecosystem of leading companies pioneering new innovations to facilitate safe and secure advanced air mobility operations. Utilising Inmarsat’s ground-breaking Velaris global connectivity solution, the network builds on the company’s vast expertise of more than 30 years in air traffic management communications.

This experience will also be essential in providing contextualised learning for Flight Crowd’s projects and for instilling trust in the public.

Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Director of Advanced Air Mobility, said: “To ensure the adoption of Urban Air Mobility is carried out in a managed and sophisticated way, operators must not only have the backing of the industry, but also positive public acceptance. This simply will not be possible without an investment in education, which is exactly what this partnership aims to achieve. Sustained education programmes that reach communities outside of our sector are important and Inmarsat is proud to work with the experts at Flight Crowd to help realise this objective.”

Mariya Tarabanovska, Founder of Flight Crowd, said: “Inmarsat will be an unparalleled partner for our mission to strengthen the global community’s interest and support of electric and autonomous aviation. To help alleviate any public concerns, it is crucial to raise awareness of the operational benefits that Urban Air Mobility and Advanced Air Mobility technologies offer.

“Flight Crowd is excited to combine our expertise to improve public perception and desirability of future flight with the global leader in communications and connectivity. This partnership will help us contribute to the safe and connected future of air mobility, while ensuring the ecosystem is built on transparency, diversity and inclusion. We look forward to working alongside Inmarsat to ensure a positive and transformative future for the industry.”

Spirit Airlines offers Thales’ FlytLIVE connectivity to passengers

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Spirit Airlines is now offering its customers FlytLIVE, Thales’ state-of-the-art high-performance connectivity solution.

The carrier’s A320s and A321s are currently flying with Thales’ FlytLIVE high-speed connectivity and additional Spirit aircraft will also be equipped with the solution, Thales says.

FlytLIVE, which uses SES and Hughes next-generation aviation satellite network and technology, delivers advanced Ka-band high-throughput connectivity solution. The SES satellite manufactured by Thales Alenia Space is equipped with close to 200 beams of mixed size for more flexible allocation of capacity over high-traffic airline routes to deliver seamless connectivity and outstanding performance.

Matt Klein, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Spirit Airlines said: “This is a real ground-breaking moment in the industry as Spirit adds in-flight amenities and product options that have previously not been available on ultra-low fare carriers. We’re continuing to deliver the best value in the sky by providing options that are important to our guests, like our high-speed Wi-Fi service, while keeping our focus on affordable fares to provide our Guests with More Go.”

TK Kallenbach, CEO of Thales InFlyt Experience commented: “At Thales, we are proud to partner with Spirit Airlines in their mission to enhance the guest experience and are truly excited to have 100% of their A320 & A321 fleet equipped with FlytLIVE. The system’s reliability and performance is getting rave reviews from Spirit’s passengers who can now stream to their heart’s content.”

Norse

Norse Atlantic Airways selects Anuvu for its IFE

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Norse

High-speed connectivity and entertainment solutions provider Anuvu has announced Norse Atlantic Airways as its newest in-flight entertainment (IFE) customer. Norse, which started operations on 20 June with an aim to deliver a premium IFE experience to passengers travelling between the US and Norway, will provide its passengers with access to nearly 200 movies and television shows including popular Hollywood releases and Western TV shows.

Anuvu says it will work closely with the team to diversify its entertainment packages to suit evolving passenger preferences as the airline establishes its core customer base.

“We are thrilled to have been selected as Norse Atlantic Airways’ content service provider to bring the best in-flight entertainment experience to their passengers,” said Estibaliz Asiain, SVP, Media & Content at Anuvu. “Launching an airline comes with a unique set of unpredictable challenges. As such, our top priority was to shoulder the majority of that pressure for their in-flight entertainment so the Norse team could focus on the launch of their airline.”

“We are pleased to have selected Anuvu to deliver our IFE on board our Boeing 787 Dreamliners. A premium IFE service is a vital part of the Norse Atlantic customer experience and we are confident that Anuvu will deliver this for us,” said Andrew Hodges, Chief Commercial Officer, Norse Atlantic Airways.

easyjet iris partnership

EasyJet unveiled as first airline partner of Iris programme

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easyjet iris partnership

EasyJet will be the first airline partner of Inmarsat and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Iris programme, which utilises the latest-generation satellite technology to modernise air traffic management.

EasyJet will play a central role in the Iris programme, which enables real-time collaboration between pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operation centres. The programme uses secure, high-bandwidth data links, minimising delays, saving fuel, reducing environmental impact for airlines and improving airspace usage to ease congestion and accommodate future growth.

The programme is powered by Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband-Safety connectivity platform and enables new air traffic management functionalities such as trajectory-based operations that pinpoint aircraft in four dimensions (latitude, longitude, altitude and time), which will allow the airline to avoid holding patterns, calculate the shortest available routes and optimum altitudes, and benefit from continuous climb and descent pathways.

EasyJet will evaluate Iris’ transformative capabilities on up to 11 Airbus A320neos which are set to begin flying from November 2022.

With over €50 million investment by ESA, Inmarsat and more than 30 partners to develop the programme, Iris also supports easyJet’s commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 as part of the UN-backed ‘Race to Zero’ campaign, with an interim target of a 35% carbon emissions intensity improvement by 2035.

Philippe Carette, President of Inmarsat Aviation commented: “The Iris programme from Inmarsat and ESA is a game-changer and we are delighted to have easyJet as our first airline partner. This is not only because of its pioneering commitment to innovation and reducing aviation’s environmental impact, but also because this kick-starts an exciting new era that will help make aviation greener and reduce congestion delays for passengers.”

SkyFive

SkyFive and FTI Engineering Network announce partnership

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Air-to-Ground In-flight connectivity services provider SkyFive and FTI have teamed up to deliver a software-defined network service that can integrate several in-flight connectivity systems such as Air to Ground (A2G) networks, satellite services and public and private 4G/5G airport networks.

SkyFive says the service steers data flows based on their individual performance, availability and cost per bit requirements. For bulk passenger data, it could rely on A2G coverage in dense continental airspaces and switch to a satellite service on oceanic routes and for mission-critical traffic, it could leverage several systems in parallel to achieve an extremely high degree of reliability.

According to SkyFive, cloud-based management and automation allows for quick reconfiguration of the network service for new applications, without having to touch the aircraft. Onboard, the fully virtualised software runs on servers of various kinds, such that broadband Internet can also be added to existing IFEC systems. The new network service allows airlines to bring the fleet online in an agile, future-proof, and cost-efficient manner, and create new value with broadband connectivity in the cabin and beyond.

Dr. Michael Ohm, CTO of SkyFive commented: “Following our open standards-based A2G solution, we continue pushing scalable, flexible, and cost-efficient architectures and technologies from the IT and telecommunications industry towards the aviation sector. This new software-defined network service will assure that airlines receive the highest data throughput and lowest cost per bit also in hybrid configurations of A2G and satellite systems.”

Astrova

Panasonic Avionics and Recaro partner up for Astrova IFE seat end solution

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Astrova

Panasonic Avionics has partnered up with Recaro Aircraft Seating to install its new Astrova in-flight entertainment seat-end solution on the CL3810 economy class seat. The launch took place on the first day of the 2022 AIX trade show in Hamburg.

Recaro says its lightweight approach to seating is further enhanced by the weight savings from the new IFE solution. Both Astrova and Recaro’s CL3810 seat are built with modularity in mind to minimise maintenance costs for airlines.

“It was an honour to be selected by Panasonic Avionics as the launch partner for their Astrova seat-end solution,” said Dr Mark Hiller, CEO of Recaro Aircraft Seating and Recaro Holding. “Our aligned visions of transforming the passenger experience and supporting airlines with unmatched customer service has allowed us to work well together throughout this process. Congratulations to Panasonic on the launch of their new flagship product.”

Ken Sain, CEO at Panasonic Avionics, said: “We would like to congratulate Recaro on the launch of their CL3810 economy class seat. We are excited to be working with them to demonstrate how two companies can collaborate and help airlines achieve their business goals. We believe that this powerful seat and IFE combination is an excellent example of solutions that reduce cost, improve passenger comfort, meet sustainability goals, drive passenger loyalty and increase revenue.”

airfi

AirFi recognised at the Onboard Hospitality Awards

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airfi

AirFi CEO and founder Job Heimerikx has been named “Industry Champion” 2022 at the Onboard Hospitality Awards for his pioneering role in the development of the portable wireless in-flight entertainment product segment, which has made IFE and onboard retail solutions affordable for low-cost airlines and suitable for leased aircraft, and for his work on the APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) Board of Directors.

In addition, AirFi’s low-bandwidth LEO connectivity solution was listed as “One to Watch” by the judging panel. The LEO solution enables air-to-ground messaging for crew and passengers, and because the antenna sits in the aircraft window (and the receiver in an overhead bin), it can be installed in an overnight stop as a minor modification. The LEO solution comes with all necessary paperwork. According to AirFi, several European airlines are currently running trials.

April Waterston, Digital Editor at Onboard Hospitality Magazine, said: “The judges selected Job for the Onboard Hospitality Industry Champion Award this year because of the pivotal role he’s played in influencing and changing the very shape of the IFE and inflight retail technology. Job is a great advocate for flexible IFE and onboard retail technology. He brings contagious energy to his work [and] the constant innovation that comes from AirFi, such as the LEO solution, serves as an inspiration to the industry. A standout quality that helped him win is his kindness. The judges all agree that Job is about as friendly as it gets and people remember that.”

Commenting on the two recognitions, Job Heimerikx said: “I am still in shock after receiving the Industry Champion Award and the “One to Watch” placard for LEO. Many impressive and worthy applicants were vying for both distinctions, so I feel truly honoured. I’ve always believed in fairness, transparency accountability and positivity in life and business. And of course, our LEO connectivity solution is going to bring the operational and customer experience benefits of a connected aircraft to many airlines that could otherwise not afford it. We’re all very happy!”

Safran’s latest software platform, RAVE OS

Safran Passenger Innovations announces partnership with WalkMix

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Safran’s latest software platform, RAVE OS

In-flight entertainment experiences provider Safran Passenger Innovations has announced an exclusive partnership with Audio Futures, Inc. and its WalkMix Service, introducing 360 Reality Audio – a new immersive music experience using Sony’s 360 Spatial Sound technologies.

Safran Passenger Innovations says its RAVE in-flight entertainment and connectivity system with 360 Reality Audio will offer more immersive realism for music and other audio content delivered on headphones during flights.

360 Reality Audio is compatible with all connected headphones, and WalkMix will also be offering airlines capabilities for branded content and third-party sponsorship along with exclusive digital collectables for music fans. Included are popular audio therapies from leading health and wellness content creators – especially significant for the airline industry, as according to Safran Passenger Innovations, recent studies suggest therapeutic audio can have a positive effect in alleviating traveller anxiety and stress.

All content will be sourced exclusively via WalkMix.com and content providers can create new offerings in 360 Reality Audio and contribute other creations such as digital merchandise with delivery on Safran Passenger Innovation’s RAVE in-flight systems.

Ben Asmar, Safran Passenger Innovation’s Vice President of Products & Strategy, said: “RAVE spatial audio is the next frontier for in-flight multimedia and can take a passenger from their seat and virtually transport them into the middle of a concert hall. We believe this immersive experience powered by WalkMix and Sony 360 Reality Audio will be a compelling point of differentiation for RAVE customers by offering premium content and an elevated passenger experience.”