Leonardo helicopters flying throughout Italy will benefit from connectivity from Hughes and Telespazio

Telespazio picks Hughes HeloSat for Leonardo helicopter satellite communications

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Leonardo helicopters flying throughout Italy will benefit from connectivity from Hughes and Telespazio

Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo and Thales, has selected the Hughes HeloSat solution for satellite communications for Leonardo’s helicopters.

The solution combines the Hughes HM100 gateway and the HM400 modem for satcom on-the-move with technical support and systems integration. Once installed on Leonardo helicopters, HeloSat enables connectivity through-the-rotor using the Athena-Fidus Ka-band satellite capacity via the Telespazio ground station in Fucino, Italy.

“Building on a decades-long collaboration with Telespazio, last year we demonstrated our HeloSat technology with no packet loss through the blades of a Leonardo AW139 helicopter; now we are delivering a turnkey solution,” said Rick Lober, Vice President and General Manager, Hughes Defense. “With low size, weight and power, HeloSat is the only reliable, validated, wideband beyond-line-of-sight satcom capability for helicopters to transmit uninterrupted, full-motion video in real time.”

“For the fixed-wing and rotary-wing avionics market, Telespazio has chosen to create a technological team of companies with the best solutions on the market. The approach is to solve all the issues related to an avionic satellite solution by providing: teleport services, on-board technologies, ground technologies and space capacity on satellites most suited to the proposal.

“Our approach was to solve all problems connected with satellite avionics solutions by providing teleport services, on-board satellite antennas, baseband technology and space capacity on the satellites most suited to the proposal,” added Alessandro Caranci, Vice President and Head of Satcom Line of Business, Telespazio.  “When we searched for a technology that could ensure connectivity under the rotor of a helicopter we asked our strategic partner Hughes for a proof of concept; together with them we designed a solution that is currently unique in the market. Our partnership with Italiana Ponti Radio, on the other hand, has enabled us to offer an outstanding Italian solution for small Ka band and Ku band satellite antennas that meet all integration requirements – of fundamental importance on aerial platforms.”

In particular, Italiana Ponti Radio contributed a 31cm Ka band antenna to the project. This represents an important milestone for the company, which this year added to its certification for 37cm Ku band avionics antennas with the satellite operator Eutelsat.

“Italiana Ponti Radio has supplied Leonardo with communication technologies for many years, but the partnership proposed by Telespazio has enabled our company to come back to LHD with an integrated solution,” stated Antonio Salomone, President of IPR.

Inmarsat's new IFC OneFi portal

Inmarsat launches IFC monetisation platform OneFi

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Inmarsat's new IFC OneFi portal

Inmarsat has launched the OneFi customer experience platform (CXP) for airlines, designed to deliver a rich airline-branded digital platform to enhance the passenger experience onboard flights.

It allows passengers to order food and beverages, purchase seat upgrades, receive the latest flight and destination information, and sign-up to the airline’s frequent flyer programmes, all in real-time using their own personal devices.

OneFi’s sponsorship and advertising features will allow airlines to offer free in-flight broadband for passengers to browse the internet, stream videos and audio, shop online and receive other ecommerce offerings.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “For many years, Inmarsat has advocated the vast commercial opportunities of inflight connectivity. However, until now, airlines have struggled to realise the full potential of the business model. OneFi is a step change for those looking to monetise their Wi-Fi services and ensure they keep pace with evolving passenger needs. It will empower a digital transformation in the cabin, which is especially important at this critical time for the aviation industry.

“OneFi allows airlines to improve their brand experience and secure passenger loyalty, with the flexibility to incorporate their own services and use existing and new partners, such as content providers, advertisers and retailers. We are in advanced discussions with leading airlines about adopting this innovative new platform and expect to see a rollout with our first OneFi customer by the end of this year.”

OneFi offers an airline-branded Graphical User Interface (GUI). Media inventory and calls-to-action are available through flexible IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) ad placements with targeting, tracking and authorisation. These ensure that content is contextual and relevant to the individual passenger.

Data capture and the acceptance of multiple payment types with Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant gateways enables partners to engage in more meaningful ways with passengers and boost sales lead generation rates.

In addition, OneFi is network agnostic and uses open architecture, meaning it can integrate with any technology infrastructure and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) used by airlines, ensuring a uniform experience across mixed aircraft fleets. The platform is also scalable, giving airline customers the flexibility to add new third-party services over time and helping to future proof their onboard offering.

Gotham Studios' Goji Geotainment system

GAT installs Goji Geotainment IFE System

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Gotham Studios' Goji Geotainment system

Global Aviation Technologies (GAT) has successfully installed the first Goji Geotainment system, a plug-and-play replacement for legacy Collins Airshow cabin entertainment systems ideal for business jets.

The system offers passengers a state-of-the-art 3D moving map and flight information, as well as high-quality video and audio “stories” of the cities and points of interest shown on the map.

Global Aviation Technologies owns the STC for the installation and is the leading supplier of the Goji Geotainment System, developed by Gotham Studios. Goji is a drop-in upgrade for Collins Aerospace Airshow 200, 400 and 4,000 systems popular in business aircraft around the world, and its database allows global operation in several languages.

“The installation couldn’t have been easier for our technicians here at GAT and the Goji system is operating as promised,” said Woody Cottner, Vice-President of Business Development at GAT. “The concept, the quality of the content and the ease of operation for the passenger will make Goji a game-changer for fleet and individual aircraft owners alike.”

“We are very excited to be launching our new in-flight experience and sharing all of our wonderful stories about the places we are flying over,” Gotham Studios’ Russ Johnson said. “The in-flight tour guide dynamically assembles the stories based on current location and destination so that no two flights are ever the same.”

In addition to the 4K 3D moving map and high-resolution satellite imagery available on cabin monitors as well as passengers’ personal devices, the Goji Geotainment offers a continuous series of geo-relevant visual and audio stories or a more interactive mode to more fully explore points of interest, listen to music or watch personal movies.

The system can be customised with company branding and aircraft livery and the database is updated automatically.

“This is going to be a cost-effective way for fractional owners, charter operators and individual owners to enhance the cabin experience for passengers and really set their in-flight entertainment system above those found in other aircraft,” said Cottner. “Goji has been designed for quick installation, so we can return the aircraft to service very quickly.”

SES-17 satellite

SES sets launch date for SES-17

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SES-17 satellite

SES has confirmed the launch date for SES-17.

Built by Thales Alenia Space, the SES satellite will be launched by Arianespace, using an Ariane 5 vehicle on 22 October 2021.

The satellite has completed its performance tests at the Thales Alenia Space facility in Cannes, France and is being prepared for shipment to Arianespace’s Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana ahead of the launch.

SES-17 is a very high-throughput satellite in geosynchronous orbit, built to serve North America, South America, the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean with Ka-band coverage. It will address demands for high-speed and flexible data connectivity across aviation, maritime, enterprise and government segments, advancing the region’s digitalisation objectives and helping to bridge the digital divide.

For commercial aviation, SES is partnering with its anchor customer, Thales Avionics.

OneWeb 10 launch

OneWeb LEO constellation grows with latest satellite launch

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OneWeb 10 launch

OneWeb has successfully launched 34 satellites by Arianespace from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

This latest launch brings OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation to 322 satellites, nearly half of OneWeb’s entire 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.

The company remains on track to start service this year at the 50th parallel and above with its constellation and to deliver global service in 2022.

Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, commented: “The team continues to stay focused on execution and delivering our network. I am enormously grateful to the team and all our partners who are making these milestones possible. We continue to see a huge and growing demand for our services from global customers, and we are incredibly excited about both introducing commercial service and scaling our global network.”

Photo Credits: Roscosmos, TsENKI

Aeroflot has selected Panasonic Avionics to provide upgraded in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for its entire fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft.

Aeroflot picks Panasonic for retrofit programme

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Aeroflot has selected Panasonic Avionics to provide upgraded in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for its entire fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft.

Aeroflot has selected Panasonic Avionics to provide upgraded in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for its entire fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft.

The agreement will see Aeroflot’s fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft retrofitted with Panasonic Avionics’ eX3 IFE system and satellite-based IFC system, providing the same IFEC experience on Aeroflot’s A350-900 fleet.

Panasonic Avionics’ eX3 system features full 1080p HD monitors, in-seat power, and HD video handsets with capacitive touch. It can deliver more than 700 hours of on-demand entertainment, offering 1080p content with enhanced video colour support.

Aeroflot’s passengers and crew flying on its Boeing 777-300ERs will also be able to access connectivity from Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network of high-speed, high-bandwidth satellites.

The first of Aeroflot’s Boeing 777-300ERs to be retrofitted with Panasonic Avionics’ upgraded IFE and IFC systems flew in the middle of August.

AFC has selected Sport 24 as its in-flight rights broadcaster

Sport 24 expands portfolio with AFC contract

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AFC has selected Sport 24 as its in-flight rights broadcaster

Sport 24 has been selected as the in-flight and in-ship partner of The Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Under the deal which runs until 2024, the IMG-owned and-operated service will broadcast the AFC’s national team and club competitions (excluding domestic rights in China PR, Japan and Australia), including the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023, as well as the AFC Champions League.

Dato’ Windsor John, the AFC General Secretary, said: “The AFC has outlined its ambitions to ensure football continues to be the continent’s most popular sport and we want to thank Sport 24 and IMG for their confidence and for sharing our vision to expand the reach of the AFC’s brand and competitions to our passionate fans.

“This partnership presents an excellent opportunity to showcase the best of Asian football to one of the widest ever in-flight and in-ship audiences in the world, ensuring that the AFC’s world-class competitions are accessible to all fans whether on land, in the air or at sea.”

Patrick Murphy, Board Member and CEO at Football Marketing Asia (FMA) said: “We are pleased to welcome Sport 24 as the AFC’s new media partner. Our mission has always been to increase the accessibility of Asian football; hence we are proud to see the AFC’s national team and club competitions being added to the on-board entertainment offerings of the world’s leading airlines and cruise ship operators.

“We are looking forward to working with Sport 24 to provide a seamless AFC football experience for passengers, and to continue to grow the audience of Asian football fans worldwide.”

Hawaiian A330 in flight

Hawaiian Airlines continues travel righteousness campaign

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Hawaiian A330 in flight

As part of its continuing commitment to educate guests arriving in Hawaii on how to safely and responsibly enjoy the islands, Hawaiian Airlines has launched a new in-flight video.

The five-minute Travel Pono spot, which begins airing next week in the cabins of Hawaiian’s transpacific aircraft and will be shown prior to landing on the in-flight entertainment system of Hawaiian’s wide-body Airbus A330 and via the wireless streaming function for personal devices on the narrow-body Airbus A321neo.

The Travel Pono video features five crewmembers including a firefighter, volunteers for search and rescue operations and marine mammal protection, and a cultural practitioner – who share expert advice on ocean and hiking safety, conservation of endangered species and the environment, and cultural and community best practices.

“We’ve served as Hawai‘i’s hometown carrier for over nine decades, and as residents of this special place, we are proud to welcome our guests with valuable information that will enrich their experience on the islands while helping protect Hawai’i’s natural resources and our way of life,” said Avi Mannis, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Hawaiian Airlines. “Over the last month we have heard from our community and employees calling for a video like this, and we listened.”

“We all have a shared responsibility to mālama (to care for) our guests, and in return, we ask that they care for us and our home,” said John De Fries, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “We thank Hawaiian Airlines for taking a leadership role in educating visitors about how to respect and nurture our people and place, for the well-being of our communities throughout the state.”

The in-flight spot is an extension of Hawaiian’s Travel Pono program, which the carrier introduced last year to encourage responsible tourism as Hawaii welcomed back visitors through its Safe Travels programme. The programme has since equipped thousands of guests with tips on how to experience Hawai’i safely and respectfully, shared via Hawaiian’s pre-trip emails, website, Manaʻo blog, and social media channels.

In addition to the new Travel Pono video, Hawaiian’s guests will continue to have access to a library of informative content, produced by the carrier’s local partners and ranging from ocean safety to cultural education. In April 2019, Hawaiian partnered with the state of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources on educational public service announcements focused on caring for the islands’ natural resources, and this month added videos created by the Hawaii Tourism Authority for its Mālama Hawaii campaign.

Emirates Airlines has unveiled a new virtual reality experience allowing customers to explore the airline’s signature A380 Onboard Lounge or check out the cabin around their seat in row 77 from the comfort of home.

Emirates develops Oculus VR app

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Emirates Airlines has unveiled a new virtual reality experience allowing customers to explore the airline’s signature A380 Onboard Lounge or check out the cabin around their seat in row 77 from the comfort of home.

Emirates Airlines has unveiled a new virtual reality experience allowing customers to explore the airline’s signature A380 Onboard Lounge or check out the cabin around their seat in row 77 from the comfort of home.

The fully-enclosed Gamechanger First Class Suites is available on emirates.com to anyone with an internet connection, via the Emirates app, and also on the Oculus Store for Oculus Rift users.

Boutros Boutros, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand, said: “Emirates aims to provide innovative and outstanding customer experiences whether onboard, on the ground, or in the digital space. In 2018, we were the world’s first airline to introduce advanced web VR technology on our digital platforms, offering our customers an immersive opportunity to learn about the fantastic Emirates experience that awaited them before they stepped on board. We’ve continued to invest and develop that experience, and today we are delighted to be the first airline to launch a fully-fledged Oculus VR app.

“This initiative expands our global reach and ability to engage with our audiences across digital platforms. It is also particularly relevant right now, as many people have not travelled for a while due to the pandemic and are seeking inspiration and researching and rediscovering their flight options.”

Created in partnership with technology company Renacen, Emirates’ customers can navigate through economy, business, and first-class cabins, explore their seats, as well as the Onboard Lounge and Shower Spa on the Emirates A380 using navigational hotspots. Emirates is working on an updated version featuring its premium economy cabin and latest A380 aircraft interiors.

In future developments, Emirates plans to offer customers the ability to explore destinations, select a cabin, and book and pay for their Emirates flight from within the Emirates Oculus VR app.

Currently, users can explore the following Emirates’ VR experiences via:

Emirates Oculus VR app on the Oculus Store: offering users accurate, life size and interactive cabin interior experiences onboard Emirates’ flagship A380 aircraft and Boeing 777-300ER Gamechanger aircraft. For instance, users can “pick up” items from the Onboard Lounge, “turn on” the Shower in the Shower Spa or close the private suite doors behind them. They can even explore the cockpit.
Emirates.com on PCs, mobile devices or the Emirates app for iOS and Android: An immersive 3D, web VR and 360 degree view of Emirates’ Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 aircraft cabin interiors (all 20 different configurations across the airline’s fleet). Customers can explore their seats before checking in online with the 3D seat map. The tool allows customers to navigate from one seat to another, and even allows would-be customers to book their preferred seats from within the 3D environment. Users can also enjoy hands-free cabin navigation and seat selection by using any VR headset like Google Cardboard. This technology is compatible with all devices without the need for external applications or plugins.

Eutelsat Communications has closed its US$550 million equity investment in OneWeb, giving it a 17.6% stake.

Eutelsat completes OneWeb equity investment

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Eutelsat Communications has closed its US$550 million equity investment in OneWeb, giving it a 17.6% stake.

Eutelsat Communications has closed its US$550 million equity investment in OneWeb, giving it a 17.6% stake.

Rodolphe Belmer, Chief Executive Officer of Eutelsat, said: “We are delighted to close this investment in OneWeb, giving us a foothold in the Low Earth Orbit segment. We look forward to working in co-operation with OneWeb as its entry into operational service fast approaches, with almost 50% of the constellation now in orbit.”

OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity. Its partnership with Eutelsat, a global geostationary satellite operator, will enhance both companies’ commercial potential, leveraging Eutelsat’s established commercial reach to governments and enterprise customers in addition to its strong institutional relationships, recognised technical expertise and global fleet. OneWeb’s ability to address multiple applications requiring low latency and ubiquity will also allow both companies to explore GEO/LEO configurations for future service integrations and packages.

Commenting on the agreement announcement back in April, Belmer stated: “We are excited to become a shareholder and partner in OneWeb in the run up to its commercial launch later in the year and to participate in the substantial opportunity represented by the LEO segment within our industry. We are confident in OneWeb’s right-to-win thanks to its earliness to market, priority spectrum rights and evolving, scalable technology.”