easyJet has partnered with children’s book series Mizzi Mozzi, to offer a selection of free digital language books onboard.

easyJet launches in-flight learning initiative

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easyJet has partnered with children’s book series Mizzi Mozzi, to offer a selection of free digital language books onboard.

easyJet has partnered with children’s book series Mizzi Mozzi, to offer a selection of free digital language books onboard. Available across easyJet’s entire network, young passengers can choose from a collection of interactive stories that encourage them to discover foreign languages, including English, French, Greek, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

The new study by airline easyJet, which polled 2,000 parents with children under the age of 18, identified, however, that over half (53%) of parents believe learning languages can be too difficult for their children. To help parents and families address this gap, easyJet’s new in-flight learning initiative to aims to make picking up a language easier with our onboard digital book selection this summer.

Despite this, the overwhelming majority of parents (91%) believe it is important for children to speak a second language. A similar 90% think that being able to speak a foreign language will enhance career opportunities and boost employability for their children, with more opportunities to pursue careers overseas, too.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO stated: “easyJet is excited to be taking as many families as we can on that long-awaited family holiday this summer. Kids around Europe have missed out on so much in the past 18 months, including learning about different cultures and languages whilst visiting foreign places. That’s why we are delighted to be relaunching our Flybraries service onboard all our flights this summer to help kids learn languages whilst flying with us.

“We know travel has the power to inspire and provide rewarding and memorable experiences for children of all ages so we are thrilled to team up with Mizzi Mozzi and Nebra Sky to introduce new, interactive ways for our customers to spend their time onboard with us.”

easyJet is offering the first two books out of the new Mizzi Mozzi digital series for free, a total of 84 titles spread across seven language combinations, to enjoy before arrival. Customers simply scan the QR code on the seatback in front of them before take-off, download the app for free, choose the language they would like to discover and download the selected books before take-off.

Mizzi Mozzi features bite-sized content that is loaded into the official Mizzi Mozzi app, available in the Apple iTunes app store and Google Play, that builds children’s confidence to discover foreign languages.

Friends of Mizzi Mozzi, easyJet’s Holiday Helpers, will be available at London Gatwick during peak travel times throughout the summer to help travellers navigate through departures and arrivals safely, quickly and most importantly, enjoyably. The initiative will offer support for holidaymakers travelling with young children and hand out stickers with Mizzi Mozzi QR-coded stickers, customised activity books and colouring pencil kits, and even be dressed in QR-coded clothing for downloading the free books before boarding.

Icelandair’s Boeing 737 MAX-9 aircraft.

Icelandair to turn on Viasat IFC on 737 MAX-9 fleet

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Icelandair’s Boeing 737 MAX-9 aircraft.

Viasat has received EASA certification for its in-flight connectivity system onboard Icelandair’s Boeing 737 MAX-9 aircraft.

IFC system was installed earlier this year, but it had been deactivated pending the certificate from EASA. The MAX-9 aircraft will now join Icelandair’s MAX-8 fleet, providing connectivity to passengers flying between the US and Europe via scenic Iceland. This service launched on MAX-8 aircraft in March 2021.

Icelandair expects all Viasat-enabled aircraft to be installed by April 2022.

“We are honoured to work alongside the highly motivated Icelandair team in accomplishing this major milestone,” said Don Buchman, VP/GM, Commercial Aviation at Viasat. “As passengers increasingly return to air travel, the importance of great in-flight Wi-Fi is paramount, and Icelandair is providing customers a great connectivity experience so they can do what they want online while in the air.”

The Viasat-equipped Icelandair aircraft will connect to Viasat’s high-capacity satellite network. Over Europe, this network includes the KA-SAT satellite and could include others like Avanti’s Hylas constellation in the future. When traveling over the US, Iceland and the Atlantic Ocean, the aircraft will connect with several other Viasat satellites, including ViaSat-2.

In the future, these aircraft will be able to link to the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, ViaSat-3. The ViaSat-3 constellation includes three ultra-high-capacity satellites that will offer global coverage, with each expected to deliver over 1 Terabit per second of total network throughput.

The first factory-installed Intelsat 2Ku system has been delivered on an A321neo aircraft.

Cathay Pacific receives first A321neo aircraft with linefit Intelsat 2Ku

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The first factory-installed Intelsat 2Ku system has been delivered on an A321neo aircraft.

The first factory-installed Intelsat 2Ku system has been delivered on an A321neo aircraft. The 2Ku system was installed by Airbus at its factory in Hamburg, Germany as part of its High Bandwidth Connectivity Service (HBCS) and delivered to Cathay Pacific.

Cathay Pacific’s A321neo aircraft will fly regional routes from the airline’s base in Hong Kong. The carrier has already taken delivery of four A321neos and will receive a further two during the second half of 2021. By the end of 2023, it will have a total of 16 A321neos in its fleet.

“We’re honoured to work with Airbus and Cathay Pacific to create this substantial catalogue offering. Being part of the world’s largest satellite company creates a great opportunity to expand the services we offer and the fleets we serve. We have been working with Airbus to deliver linefit aircraft, and are pleased to now make that a reality,” said Dave Bijur, Senior Vice President, Commercial for Intelsat’s Commercial Aviation business division.

“We are delighted to extend our partnership with Intelsat to the A321neo fleet, adding to the fully connected long-haul fleet and regional wide-body aircraft already flying with Wi-Fi,” said Vivian Lo, Cathay Pacific’s general manager customer experience and design. “Having these new short-haul aircraft connected is essential in the modern world for business and leisure travel alike. As a premium service carrier, Cathay Pacific is determined to innovate and elevate the short-haul flying experience by offering connectivity, seatback 4K in-flight entertainment and Bluetooth headphone pairing on our new state-of-the-art A321neo fleet.”

Gulfstream Aerospace has surpassed 500 installations of Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX in-flight connectivity platform on its large-cabin aircraft.

Gulfstream passes IFC service installation milestone

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Gulfstream Aerospace has surpassed 500 installations of Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX in-flight connectivity platform on its large-cabin aircraft.

Gulfstream Aerospace has surpassed 500 installations of Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX in-flight connectivity platform on its large-cabin aircraft.

“Gulfstream owners expect a seamless transition from life on the ground to life on their aircraft, making connectivity essential,” said Mark Burns, President, Gulfstream. “This milestone illustrates our commitment to performance with high-speed connectivity and increased productivity, allowing our aircraft to truly be offices in the skies. As the industry leader in Jet ConneX installations, Gulfstream is dedicated to providing our customers with top-of-the-line products and services.”

Jet ConneX is powered by Inmarsat’s global Ka-band satellite network, providing extensive internet coverage that supports video streaming, file sharing and more. Certified by the US FAA and EASA, it transmits at speeds of approximately 20 megabits per second. Its coverage is worldwide and reliable over land and water through all phases of flight, with extended coverage over the polar regions coming soon. Honeywell and Satcom Direct hardware and technology also complement Gulfstream’s Connectivity Service.

“We are delighted to celebrate the 500th installation of our Jet ConneX in-flight broadband solution on Gulfstream aircraft and proud of their continued trust in Inmarsat,” said Kai Tang, Head of Business and General Aviation, Inmarsat. “This milestone is a testament to the Inmarsat ecosystem of partners and our joint commitment to delivering the highest standard of global connectivity to Gulfstream and their customers, for whom only the most reliable and consistent customer experience is acceptable. We look forward to building on this momentum and working side-by-side with Gulfstream on the next 500 installations and beyond.”

The Inmarsat Jet ConneX solution is available for all in-production, large-cabin aircraft, including the Gulfstream G650, the Gulfstream G650ER, the Gulfstream G500, the Gulfstream G600 and the all-new Gulfstream G700. It is also available as a retrofit option on in-service large-cabin Gulfstream aircraft, including the Gulfstream GIV, the Gulfstream GV, the Gulfstream G450 and the Gulfstream G550.

Bluebox Aviation Systems has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the aircraft-powered version of its wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) system, Bluebox Wow

Bluebox Wow certified for Airbus A320 Family

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Bluebox Aviation Systems has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the aircraft-powered version of its wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) system, Bluebox Wow

Bluebox Aviation Systems has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the aircraft-powered version of its wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) system, Bluebox Wow. Issued by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to Design Organisation Approval (DOA) holder Aerospace Engineering Solutions, the STC applies to all Airbus A320 Family aircraft. The STC was approved after testing was completed with a soon-to-be-announced customer in the Asia-Pacific region.

Recently issued by EASA, this latest STC (No. 10076801) applies to all Airbus A320 Variants with an added feature of an automatic Pause on PA functionality that pauses playback in the event of announcements from the flight deck or cabin crew.

“The granting of this STC is an exciting and major milestone for us as we continue to sign up new airline customers eager to return to the business of delivering exceptional digital in-flight experiences to their passengers,” said James Macrae, CTO, Bluebox. “Our original version of Bluebox Wow, with its swappable battery system, has been a game-changer in the IFE market, introducing a cost-effective way to deploy IFE to airlines that might never have considered it before due to the high costs involved with installing fully embedded systems. But as the demand for W-IFE has grown – in conjunction with the development of our more powerful digital platforms that our customers can use for engaging their passengers and earning ancillary revenue – we’re attracting the interest of airlines with larger fleets. By utilising aircraft power, Bluebox Wow devices can deliver the same digital IFE services without a battery present, eliminating the need for logistics management of batteries, and still offering a considerably lighter and lower-cost system than fully fitted W-IFE.”

AES believes this certification will open opportunities to provide aircraft operators of single-aisle, and wide-body aircraft in the future, with Bluebox’s aircraft-powered W-IFE units. The installation is simple with wiring to the W-IFE units easily accessible via the panels in the aircraft cabin. Utilising aircraft power eliminates the need for the logistical management of batteries and still offer a considerably lighter and lower-cost system than fully fitted W-IFE.

The Bluebox Wow units are delivered with Part 21G Form 1 approval and can be supplied with the associated installation kit as a total package.

Andrew Dolby, Director of Aerospace Engineering Solutions, said: “I would like to thank our dedicated and highly experienced engineering and design team here at AES for achieving this ‘game changing’ STC for the installation of Bluebox’s aircraft-powered version of Bluebox Wow on the Airbus A320 Variants, especially during these challenging times for the aviation industry. We are actively working on solutions for other models including single and wide-body aircraft.”

Gogo Business Aviation's AVANCE L3 system is to be installed as a factory option on new production G2+ Vision Jet aircraft from Cirrus Aircraft.

Gogo AVANCE L3 now a factory option on Cirrus G2+ Vision jets

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Gogo Business Aviation's AVANCE L3 system is to be installed as a factory option on new production G2+ Vision Jet aircraft from Cirrus Aircraft.

Gogo Business Aviation’s AVANCE L3 system is to be installed as a factory option on new production G2+ Vision Jet aircraft from Cirrus Aircraft.

“The need and desire to be connected in flight is not bound by aircraft size or aircraft mission – everyone who flies in their own aircraft deserves to have fast, reliable connectivity,” said Mark Sander, Vice President of OEM sales for Gogo. “The AVANCE L3 is clearly the best solution for personal jet owners and operators who want, fast, reliable inflight connectivity on the most reliable network for aviation.”

“Last year Gogo lowered its minimum service level from 10,000 feet AGL (above ground level) to 3,000 feet AGL which provides additional connectivity time to each flight,” Sander continued. “Today we’re seeing a trend where connectivity has become increasingly important on smaller aircraft such as light jets and turboprops.”

The Vision offers a spacious pilot and passenger-friendly cabin featuring panoramic windows, reclining seats, comfortable legroom for five adults and two children and the only turbine aircraft with a whole airframe parachute system as standard equipment.

Air Dolomiti has updated and enhanced its in-flight entertainment (IFE) system.

Air Dolomiti enhances IFE system

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Air Dolomiti has updated and enhanced its in-flight entertainment (IFE) system.

Air Dolomiti has updated and enhanced its in-flight entertainment (IFE) system.

The service, provided by Lufthansa Systems, has been free of charge and accessible to all passengers since 2017.

“Our Digital Experience Platform offers passengers an engagement portal with a wide range of digital content delivered to passengers’” own devices,” said Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience at Lufthansa Systems. “Based on the longstanding collaboration with our partner Air Dolomiti, we developed a tailored IFE solution that fully meets passengers’ individual requirements and enhances customer experience.”

The new solution will provide a better and more efficient service and opens up opportunities to integrate future digital innovations. The new version has an updated and modern graphic user interface with greater reliability. Content, which includes a range of free major Italian, German and international newspapers and magazines as well as a gaming platform, is easily accessible with an even faster, simpler and more intuitive interface, and the option to listen to an exclusive selection of 10 music compilations has been introduced.

“We are very proud of the results achieved today with IFE. Air Dolomiti is one of the leading airlines in Europe and the only one in Italy, that has its entire fleet equipped with such advanced technology and a wide range of content. In this extremely vulnerable period for air transport, we have continued to invest in improving the user experience for our passengers, whom we want to protect above all by complying with all anti-COVID regulations and by offering an increasingly advanced digital service. The collaboration with Lufthansa Systems has been invaluable, as it has allowed us to continuously exchange information in order to offer a high-quality service,” said Dario Bruni, Vice President of Business Development, Product, IT & Managing Director for Air Dolomiti Deutschland.

Fujitsu UK has combined quantum-inspired computing and Artificial Intelligence to support the transformation of space debris removal. (ESA)

Fujitsu unveils first-of-its-kind mission optimiser

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Fujitsu UK has combined quantum-inspired computing and Artificial Intelligence to support the transformation of space debris removal. (ESA)

Fujitsu UK has combined quantum-inspired computing and Artificial Intelligence to support the transformation of space debris removal.

Fujitsu’s prototype, created in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, Astroscale UK, and the University of Glasgow, will improve mission planning so that a single spacecraft can efficiently select which pieces of space debris to remove in one mission, and at a much faster rate than is currently possible.

By deciding which debris is collected and when, Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired offering, powered by Digital Annealer, optimises the mission plan to determine the minimum-fuel and minimum-time required to bring inoperable spacecrafts or satellites safely back to the disposal orbit. Finding the optimal route to collect the space debris will save significant time and cost during the mission planning phase, and also as a consequence will improve commercial viability.

Ellen Devereux, Digital Annealer Consultant at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, commented: “All Space Debris poses a potential collision risk to the operational systems many of us take for granted – from weather forecasting to telecommunications. With the UK Space Agency’s backing, along with Astroscale UK, AWS and the University of Glasgow, we’ve designed a solution to optimise the mission planning of a servicing craft before it is sent into space – meaning organisations like Astroscale UK can pick up more debris, more quickly than ever before.

“It not only makes the process much more cost effective for those organisations needing to transfer and dispose of debris, but utilises AI and quantum inspired computing too. What we’ve learned over the course of the last six months, is that this technology has huge implications for optimisation in space; not only when it comes to cleaning up debris, but also in-orbit servicing and more. Now we better understand its potential, we can’t wait to see the technology applied during a future mission.”

Amazon Web Services provided the Cloud and AI and ML tools and services to support the project. The Amazon Sagemaker toolset was used to rapidly develop the ANNs that accurately predict the costs of orbital transfers in a fraction of the time it would take to calculate them in full. Astroscale UK, the world’s first commercial company to start a demonstration mission to remove debris from the lower Earth orbit, is providing the end-use case as a representative user of multi-target mission optimisation.

Image courtesy ESA
NetForecast's QMap Inflight Internet Experience Monitoring

NetForecast monitors passenger Wi-Fi experience

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NetForecast's QMap Inflight Internet Experience Monitoring

NetForecast has launched a new service to independently and proactively monitor passenger Wi-Fi experience quality, ahead of the US DoT proposal to mandate fee refunds when in-flight Wi-Fi “doesn’t work.”

QMap Inflight Internet Experience Monitoring enables airlines to identify and correct Wi-Fi performance issues by continuously measuring the passenger Wi-Fi experience from personal electronic devices, and reports on end-to-end network experience quality in near real-time.

The service notifies airlines when the passenger experience degrades below pre-determined thresholds, and locates problem areas along the network path within the aircraft Wi-Fi network, between the aircraft and the ground station, and beyond that to intermediate networks and network destinations.

NetForecast’s QMap service is calibrated to reflect realistic performance expectations for each network technology (e.g., geosynchronous satellite, cellular, low earth orbit satellite, etc.).

According to Rebecca Wetzel, NetForecast President: “As members of the Airline Passenger Experience Association’s Connectivity Working Group, we collaborated with the industry to create a specification that provides guidance for measuring and assessing passenger inflight Wi-Fi experience quality. We are excited to put that industry guidance to work with our new QMap service to empower airlines to deliver the best possible experience to their Wi-Fi connected passengers.”

ThinKom’s new Q- and V-band terminals designed for operation on next-generation satellites.

ThinKom unveils latest Q/V-band phased-array antenna

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ThinKom’s new Q- and V-band terminals designed for operation on next-generation satellites.

ThinKom Solutions has unveiled a new phased-array user terminal specifically designed for operation in the higher millimeter-wave (MMW) frequency bands for evolving next-generation communication satellites.

The new low-profile antenna, based on ThinKom’s patented VICTS (Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub) technology, will operate in the Q- and V-band frequencies (37.5-42.5 GHz and 47.2-51.4 GHz). These bands have been designated for adoption by major satellite operators in low-, medium-, geostationary and highly elliptical orbits (LEO, MEO, GEO and HEO).

“This new phased-array development is timed to fully enable the upcoming frequency revolution that promises to unlock massive new available bandwidth at these higher MMW frequencies for next-generation LEO and MEO satellite constellations,” said Bill Milroy, Chairman and CTO of ThinKom Solutions. “And it uses our proven VICTS architecture, ensuring it will deliver the efficiency, instantaneous bandwidth, reliability, resiliency and overall availability our customers have come to expect from ThinKom.”

Similar Q-band MMW antennas have already been built and on-satellite tested by ThinKom for Q-band aeronautical and ground-mobile use.

“The new user terminals will include uninterrupted ‘make-before-break’ (MbB) and ‘break-before-make’ (BbM) connectivity options, depending on the requirements of a given application. The MbB terminals will support two simultaneous full-duplex beams that can be independently pointed at two different satellites,” explained Milroy. “The LEO and MEO satellites move rapidly across the sky from horizon to horizon, so the multi-beam capability of the new ThinKom MbB terminal ensures uninterrupted services while switching between rising and setting satellites. It also allows multiple satellites or channels to be bonded, either within the same or even across different constellations, doubling throughput capability. The antenna also supports full frequency and polarisation diversity, which is another key enabler for maximising satellite throughput.”

ThinKom’s full-duplex terminal is 75 cm square and less than 10 cm in height, weighs less than 23 kg and requires less than 100 watts of prime power to provide the same functionality as two separate 50-cm diameter stabilised parabolic dish antenna radome enclosures.