FIA2018: Rockwell Collins to supply Venue CMS for Global 5500 and Global 6500 aircraft

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As part of Bombardier’s newly announced Global 5500 and 6500 aircraft, Rockwell Collins is to supply its Venue cabin management system with advancements to support 4K content.

Venue has been customised for Bombardier to best meet the needs of its passengers and to offer the same ultra-fast, flexible, reliable and intuitive system across its family of aircraft.

“Throughout our long relationship with Bombardier, we have continually worked to provide them with the innovative offerings that set them apart in the marketplace,” said Craig Olson, vice president and general manager of Business and Regional Systems for Rockwell Collins. “We’re excited to bring a number of industry firsts to their new Global aircraft that will provide their customers with new levels of comfort, productivity and entertainment.”

Written by: Alexander Preston

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FIA2018: ITT Cannon gives boost to high-speed data

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ITT Cannon has introduced its RPR EN4165-Style Receptacle with PCB Contacts for commercial aerospace applications.

The RPR is an ARINC 809-compatible solution that is ideal for high-speed Ethernet and PCB applications and is designed to help the commercial aviation sector meet evolving passenger demands for connectivity.

“The increasing need for high-speed data to support larger in-flight entertainment content and demanding avionics applications is driving the requirement for more advanced, higher speed data transfer rates in commercial aircraft,” said Anh Phan, ITT Cannon’s vice president of sales & marketing. “In response, manufacturers are pushing the interconnect industry to develop more cost-effective, lightweight electrical connector solutions to fulfil the demand.”

“Our new RPR EN4165-Style Receptacle with PCB Contacts is a highly engineered interconnect solution that meets this need head on,” said Phan. “Its lightweight, composite construction and space-saving design delivers cost efficiency while retaining high speed data transfer performances, secure connectivity and signal integrity.”

Cannon engineers designed a proprietary latch mechanism for the RPR that allows front release and rear removal of the insert from the shell after PCB/Panel mounting. This enables access to or removal of electronics from the equipment panel as opposed to a rear release mechanism inside the box, which is frequently inaccessible. Among the first of its kind, Cannon’s proprietary latching mechanism is an option on all of Cannon’s RPR receptacles.

Written by: Alexander Preston

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EL AL launches new in-flight Wi-Fi with Viasat

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EL AL Israel Airlines has officially launched its new in-flight Wi-Fi service, powered by Viasat, holding an ‘Inaugural high-speed Wi-Fi service flight’ which flew from Tel Aviv to Paris on one of its new Dreamliner aircraft.

On the flight, EL AL says 128 devices were connected, many streaming movies, videos, music and the World Cup semi-final. More than half of the passengers were filming and streaming videos, some with Facebook Live, while others were posting videos and pictures of their journey to social media.

“Israeli passengers want to keep up-to-date and connected in real-time even when in the air,” said Nimrod Borovitz, director, strategy and business development at EL AL Israel Airlines. “We invested in the most advanced in-flight Wi-Fi product from Viasat so that we could best respond to our customers’ interests, from surfing sites, connecting to emails, using apps, viewing social-media networks, listening to music and streaming movies and live sports during flights.”

When flying on transatlantic routes, the system will connect to the ViaSat-2 satellite, which provides an internet connection from across North America and the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. On European flights the Viasat service will connect to the KA-SAT satellite through its European joint venture with Eutelsat.

“EL AL’s high-speed connected fleet continues to raise the bar in passenger engagement, pilot and crew service quality and airline technology innovation,” said Don Buchman, vice-president and general manager, Commercial Aviation at Viasat. “Our in-flight internet service gives EL AL passengers an enriched flight experience—with access to online capabilities that matter most to them—just about anywhere EL AL flies.”

EL AL will offer three internet service packages: Basic, Social and Business. Packages will begin with Basic, where passengers can use their smartphones and tablets for instant messaging applications, emails and to browse EL AL’s free sites. The package is free during the launch period.

The Social package builds on the Basic plan, but also allows passengers free site browsing and the ability to view short videos of up to three minutes. The package costs $9.99 per passenger per flight, with discounted rates for Matmid Frequent Flyers and FLYCARD holders.

The Business plan goes further, also allowing users to stream movies, music and more as well as VPN access. The package costs $19.99 per passenger per flight, with discounted rates for Matmid Frequent Flyers and FLYCARD holders.

During the introductory trial period for international flights from Europe to North America, EL AL will offer the service free until the fourth quarter of 2018.

EL AL was Viasat’s European launch customer and since first announcing their relationship, both companies undertook market studies on in-flight Wi-Fi passenger demand, engagement and service offerings, including a customer beta phase to determine internet package types. EL AL also took on new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, a recent addition to Viasat’s certified platforms.

Currently, 15 EL AL aircraft have been outfitted with Viasat’s latest equipment, providing high-speed connectivity to EL AL’s fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Boeing 737-900 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The airline expects to have the majority of its fleet connected with the Viasat service by mid-2020.

Image: An EL AL Israel Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Written by: Kimberley Young

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British Airways encourages a spot of stand up with new comedy content

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Ahead of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August, British Airways is screening new comedy content on its long-haul in-flight entertainment system.

Five stand up shows filmed at the Soho Theatre, and featuring the comedians Nish Kumar, Mae Martin, Joel Dommett, Rhys James (pictured) and Dane Baptiste, who are all performing in Scotland’s capital, will be available.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, said, “We are always improving our service to give customers more choice and quality, and the introduction of new comedy content on board is a great example of this. With the world descending on Edinburgh for the Fringe next month, customers coming in to London on our long-haul network, before connecting on to one of our many flights up to Edinburgh, will have the perfect opportunity to get the laughter started early on.”

Mark Godfrey, Soho Theatre’s executive director added, “Alongside our year-round programme of theatre, comedy and cabaret, Soho Theatre regularly brings some of the most talented comedians’ work to the Edinburgh Fringe, and more recently, further afield to audiences across India and Australia. We’re delighted to now be working with British Airways, bringing comedy to the skies and giving customers the opportunity to enjoy shows filmed in our intimate and iconic space in the heart of London’s West End.”

Written by: Alexander Preston

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Southwest unveils Shark Week fleet

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Southwest Airlines has launched a Shark Week Fleet in partnership with the Discovery Channel, with five aircraft entering the airline’s network to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Shark Week.

Each aircraft features custom artwork featuring a species of shark often showcased in Shark Week. The Great White Shark and Hammerhead Shark aircraft launched from the airline’s home base in Dallas Love Field, the Tiger Shark aircraft launched from Chicago, the Bull Shark aircraft launched from Houston, and the Mako Shark aircraft launched from Phoenix Sky Harbor.

The Shark Week Fleet can be tracked on with custom-created shark icons, replacing the traditional aircraft icons and the information page for each shark-themed aircraft will showcase a Shark Week logo.

“Entering our fifth consecutive year of partnership with the Discovery Channel, we are thrilled to celebrate Shark Week’s 30th anniversary in an even bigger way by launching an entire fleet of Shark Week aircraft and premiering a Shark Week episode on-board our flights, letting our customers have the first view of Shark Week content,” said Brandy King, director of external communications who oversees the airline’s Brand Partnerships and Entertainment Public Relations initiative.

King adds: “Each year, our customers and employees share our Shark Week enthusiasm and look forward to joining the fun with our airport and on-board activations!”

The onboard entertainment portal will host a custom Shark Week TV Series Channel which will house a library of Shark Week episodes until Shark Week airs on Discovery Channel beginning 22 July.

Shark Week will continue through 29 July and can be viewed via Live TV on-board a Southwest flight. Beginning 11 July, Shark Week premieres a new ‘never-been-seen before’ episode of ‘Great White Abyss’ for Southwest passengers via the in-flight entertainment, two weeks ahead of its worldwide release.

The aircraft will fly throughout the Southwest system through August 31 2018.

Written by: Kimberley Young

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African first for JetWave

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In a first of its kind in Africa, ExecuJet South Africa has installed Honeywell’s JetWave hardware on-board a Global Express and Challenger 604 aircraft at its Johannesburg base.

“ExecuJet South Africa is committed to delivering best-in-class aviation services, and we recognise the importance of reliable in-flight connectivity to heighten the passenger experience and modernize flight operations,” said Warwick Stone, MRO business development manager, ExecuJet South Africa. “We look forward to continuing to work with Honeywell to provide our customers with the benefits of reliable, global, high-speed, in-flight Wi-Fi.”

ExecuJet South Africa is also among the first to offer “Fly Away” installations of the JetWave hardware on select aircraft platforms. By offering turnkey installations in fewer than 15 days, aircraft downtime is reduced to install this next-generation connectivity solution and passengers can benefit from increased productivity and seamless in-flight Wi-Fi in the air.

“As Africa’s aviation industry expands, we are welcoming a growing number of business aviation users, and with them comes a greater need for reliable, high-speed in-flight connectivity,” said Rudolph Louw, aerospace leader – Africa, Honeywell. “As an industry leader in Connected Aircraft technologies, our JetWave hardware is designed to significantly upgrade the connectivity on-board these jets, enhancing the experience of passengers, pilots, flight crews and aircraft operators. These installations in South Africa illustrate the truly global nature and reach of our connectivity solution and satellite network.”

Written by: Alexander Preston

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easyJet launches children’s in-flight library service

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In an initiative supported by the National Literacy Trust, easyJet is teaming up with Bloomsbury Children’s Books and Alma Books to put books including Kid Normal, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, Dr Dolittle and The Secret Garden, in passenger seat-pockets to create the world’s largest in-flight holiday lending library.

The project is a response to new research showing reading is on the decline amongst British children, with almost four in ten parents (38%) saying that their child owned fewer than 10 books at home and over a fifth (22%) of parents saying their child had not visited a library in over a year

According to Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, “Books have the power to transform children’s lives, which is why it is so alarming that more than three-quarters of a million children in the UK don’t have a single book to call their own, and one in five haven’t been to a library in the past year. Getting books into the hands of children, and helping them discover a love of reading, can set them on the path to a more successful future. easyJet’s Flybrary initiative is a fantastic way of getting thousands of children into reading this summer.”

Tina Milton, director of Cabin Crew at easyJet said, “This summer we will fly approximately five million families across Europe on their summer holidays and our in-flight lending library is stocked with over 17,500 books ready for children to pick up, read and then leave behind for the next passenger. Reading is so important for fuelling a child’s development, vocabulary and imagination and a flight provides the perfect opportunity for them to get stuck into a book. We are passionate about creating family friendly initiatives that make flying with us fun and easier for parents.”

Campaign ambassadors and best-selling children’s authors Greg James and Chris Smith said, “One of the main reasons we wanted to write Kid Normal was to de-mystify the role of ‘the author’ as serious and impenetrable figures, and to show that reading and writing stories is not only one of the most amazing uses of your imagination but to show that it is something that is for everyone.

It’s an incredibly rewarding and fun activity and when easyJet told us their plans to get books into the hands of kids and to encourage them to write their own, we couldn’t have been more keen to get involved. Writing our series of books has been one of the most enjoyable things we’ve ever done and we want to encourage as many people as possible to give it a go.”

Nearly half of the children (42.5%) surveyed by the National Literacy Trust said that they rarely read outside of the classroom with three in ten (30%) admitting that they never pick up a book past school hours. The charity’s statistics also show that the average child (aged 8-18) spends just 26 minutes per day reading physical books.

Additionally, almost all respondents (94%) agreed that the breadth of electronic entertainment devices available today, has led to the decline in children reading for pleasure.

easyJet’s fleet of Flybraries will enable children to start reading books on a flight and then when they land download free samples of books at – the website will also host the airline’s summer writing competition to help children spread their creative writing wings.

Written by: Alexander Preston

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Telesat and Gilat to develop modem technology for LEO satellites

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Gilat Satellite Networks is to collaborate with Telesat to develop broadband communication technology using low earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) will invest to facilitate faster and more secure data transmission.

The joint Canada-Israel innovation project will combine Telesat’s and Gilat’s engineering capabilities to do live testing, using Gilat modem technology, over the Telesat Phase-1 LEO satellite launched earlier this year. The adaptation of Gilat’s leading-edge modem technology to support advanced LEO constellations, such as the system Telesat is developing, will highlight the benefits that a high-quality satellite broadband experience can deliver to applications including in-flight connectivity.

“Telesat is pleased to join forces with Gilat in the development of modem technology that we will use to deliver high-speed broadband communications over the Telesat Phase-1 LEO satellite already in orbit,” said Dave Wendling, Telesat’s chief technical officer. “This project will allow us to demonstrate the high performance and low latency advantages of Telesat’s LEO constellation to our tier-1 aeronautical, maritime and enterprise customers.”

Global Eagle is among those companies committed to collaborate in live, over-the-air trials on Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite.

Written by: Alexander Preston

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British Airways makes flying child’s play

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New research from British Airways has shown that children today take their first flight three times earlier than their parents did, and by the age of ten will have travelled to four different countries.

One in 10 babies take to the skies before they have even turned a year old – and a tenth of under-17s are even signed up to airline loyalty programmes. This is in stark comparison to their parents, as a fifth of those surveyed, didn’t get on a plane until they were 18.

Claire Bentley, managing director for British Airways Holidays, who commissioned the research, said, “Air travel has become much more accessible to people over the last few decades. We now live in a connected world, where new destinations are opening up all the time and as a result, children are not seen as restrictive to travel, but essential travel companions, with rich experiences and new cultures to discover. Many family holidays are now taking place abroad allowing children to experience a flight at a very young age.

“To make travelling with little ones easier; this summer we’ve introduced a number of new initiatives at our home at Heathrow; including family boarding passes, a dedicated check-in area and fast-track security exclusively for travellers with children under 12.”

Despite this wanderlust, one in ten parents admitted to being unprepared for their first flight as parents. A third confessed to forgetting to take their child’s favourite toys (34%), while one in five (21%) even forgot to pack their child’s medication. A quarter (27%) failed to plan their child’s sleep around the flight times.

As a result, four in 10 parents find travelling with children – from newborns all the way to 17 – stressful and the biggest fear when flying with kids is how to keep them entertained for the duration of the flight. This is followed by worries about disturbing other passengers and the pressure in the cabin causing their kids pain. Their fears may not be justified though as only 16% said they have been left embarrassed by their child’s behaviour on a flight.

Written by: Alexander Preston

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New first class suites debut on Oman Air’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

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Oman Air’s first new 787-9 Dreamliner to feature first class private suites has entered into commercial service.

The new aircraft is one of three 787-9 Dreamliners due to be received this year as part of the airline’s strategic and dynamic programme of fleet and network expansion.

The Dreamliner features eight fully enclosed private suites in first class with 55 inch extra tall doors to ensure complete privacy, one of the longest 180 degrees flat-bed seats available on any commercial airliner.

All classes feature seating designed by Rockwell Collins (formerly B/E Aerospace) and state-of-the-art Thales Integrated In-Flight Entertainment System with a passenger experience interface developed specifically for Oman Air.

Kelpesh Patel, Interim Country Manager UK & Ireland, Oman Air, said, “We are delighted to offer guests travelling from London to Muscat such an exceptional product. With its new private suites the Dreamliner offers the best possible experience and will be invaluable to us in growing the market and attracting new premium passengers. Launching on the London to Muscat route confirms our investment in travellers from the UK.”

With the addition of the Dreamliner, Oman Air’s fleet currently consists of four Boeing 787-8, three 787-9 Dreamliners, six Airbus 330-300s, four Airbus 330-200s, five Boeing 737-900s, 21 Boeing 737-800, four Embraer 175s, and three Boeing 737 MAX. By the end of 2018 Oman Air will have taken delivery of five new MAX aircraft and three 787-9s. By 2022, Oman Air’s total fleet size is expected to be around 70.

Written by: Alexander Preston

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