Arralis unveils flat beam-steering antenna capabilities

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Arralis has released its new high-frequency analogue phase shifter MMIC products which allow >360 degree analogue phase variation with low insertion loss covering two satellite Ka-bands, 17-21 GHz and 25.5-32.5 GHz.

According to Mike Gleaves, the Arralis Group CTO, “We have in essence developed the technology that allows users to continuously track and communicate with Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) satellites in a form that can be easily placed within, or on the roof of a vehicle, aircraft, satellite or just about anywhere.”

The extended frequency range of the upper band chip is also suitable for the proposed 5G band and will be ideal for beam steering base stations. In addition, the added benefit of simplified assembly is possible as these chips are available with an integrated power amplifier.

This release completes the most extensive range of Ka band chips, aimed at the 17-21 GHz and 27-31 GHz mega-constellation frequency bands on the market. The full range, fabricated on a space qualified process, includes an integrated LO amplifier, IQ mixers and PAs and LNAs.

Southwest brings iHeartRadio on-board

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iHeartRadio is to be exclusive music provider for Southwest Airlines following a newly announced partnership.

The free all-in-one digital music and live streaming radio service will allow passengers to choose their favourite live radio station or pick from hundreds of artists to curate their very own custom artist radio station featuring music from that artist and those similar. In addition, iHeartRadio will also curate dedicated station themes such as Pass the Time and Kids Zone.

“Our customers and employees are passionate about music,” said Ryan Green, vice president and chief marketing officer at Southwest Airlines. “And for Southwest, music is a part of a larger story—it’s an ongoing investment in enhancing our customers’ travel experiences. Through this partnership with iHeartRadio, we will create the soundtrack to our customers’ journeys as we connect them to what is important in their lives.”

iHeartRadio can be accessed free of charge through the on-board entertainment portal on personal devices – once activated, the music will continue play as long as the entertainment portal is open in a tab, allowing passengers to browse the rest of the portal, check the flight tracker or browse the web if they have purchased Wi-Fi access.

Passengers with the iHeartRadio app already installed on their devices will be able to play their personalised music and favourite podcasts directly from the app while on-board Southwest flights. Those who already subscribe to iHeartRadio’s All Access on demand subscription service will also have access to their entire music library and saved playlists.

The free service is available on the more than 690 Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft serviced by Global Eagle.

Due to licensing restrictions, iHeartRadio may not be available on-board Wi-Fi-enabled international flights. The iHeart Radio product is available only on Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft.

Honeywell to offer Viasat’s Ka-band connectivity for business jets

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Viasat and Honeywell have announced an expanded agreement where Honeywell, as part of its GoDirect Cabin Connectivity suite of services, will offer Viasat’s high-speed Ka-band in-flight internet service to large and mid-cabin business jet customers.

Viasat said the Ka-band service is “proven to support more passengers and more devices simultaneously through all phases of flight, when performing bandwidth-intensive applications, including accessing virtual private networks, or streaming high definition (HD) video calls, cloud content or live TV entertainment.”

Through Viasat’s service, GoDirect customers can conduct business or be entertained in-air as they are on the ground and watch live streaming TV with minimal-to-no impact on the data plan and without the need for a separate antenna.

For business jet travellers interested in global primary and backup connectivity service, Viasat’s Ku-band service, available via GoDirect, includes global Ku-band data on all Ka-band plans 40GB and larger, at no additional service cost. The service will be available for aircraft properly equipped with Viasat’s dual-band Ka-/Ku-band shipset.

Viasat’s business aviation in-flight internet service will tap into a Ka-band satellite communications network and will also use Viasat’s most robust business-class shipset, the Global Aero Terminal 5510.

“Whether connecting for business or pleasure, we’re proving on more than 2,000 Viasat Ka-band equipped flights daily that internet speeds and performance can be comparable in the air and the ground,” said Jerry Goodwin, vice-president, Global Network Services, Viasat. “By expanding our partnership with GoDirect we’re bringing a new internet service quality to the business aviation market. We’re enabling more business jet owners to be productive and access the applications they need and want in densely populated airspace, at the speeds and reliability they expect.”

GoDirect will offer the Viasat Ka-band and dual-band service to new Viasat customers, as well as their current Viasat Ku-band customers interested in migrating to or adding the service. Certified units of the Viasat Ka-band shipset will be available for several business jet airframes in the second half of 2018.

Keshet International inks first in-flight entertainment deal

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Global content and media producer and distributor Keshet International (KI) has signed an in-flight deal with Contentino Media, a subsidiary of Shemaroo Entertainment, as it continues its expansion in the Asian market.

Brokered by Keshet India, this distribution deal will see Contentino Media exclusively represent KI’s finished tape catalogue to its client-base of more than 50 airlines operating across the Asian and Middle Eastern regions, including Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Jet Airways.

Keshet International’s flagship shows, including NBC’s military drama The Brave; BBC One’s family drama The A Word; international hit drama Prisoners of War will be available for in-flight viewing for the first time.

Gary Pudney, head of Asia, Keshet International, said, “This deal with Contentino Media demonstrates our strategic approach to audience building. The Asia Pacific market is predicted to be the fastest growing region for global in-flight entertainment, and we hope this deal leads to other opportunities elsewhere.”

Kranti Gada, chief operating officer, Shemaroo Entertainment Limited added, “With this partnership with Keshet International, we are excited to broaden our offering and add premium international content to further strengthen our content library in this space. What is exciting is that we will now offer customers hundreds of hours of international programming to enjoy during their travels, which will include critically acclaimed shows like Brave and top rated European show Holloway Prison – Women Behind Bars. Our foundation in content will help us cross sell our propositions to all airlines.”

Bombardier and LHT unveil dialled up flight experience

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Bombardier has unveiled a preview of the nice Touch cabin management system, which will make its worldwide debut at the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition 2018.

The Bombardier-designed platform developed in collaboration with Lufthansa Technik and found exclusively on the Global 7000 aircraft, allows passengers to connect with the cabin through the Bombardier Touch dial, featuring business aviation’s first application of an OLED display.

Always within reach of the passenger’s seat, it discreetly rises from the side ledge with the touch of a finger to provide rapid control of entertainment and cabin settings.

The Global 7000 aircraft also introduces Suite controllers throughout the aircraft’s full-sized living spaces allowing for intuitive and home-like control of the cabin environment.

“The Global 7000 jet’s nice Touch CMS sets a new standard in the industry by further elevating the cabin experience,” said Brad Nolen, vice president, marketing and product strategy, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “Bombardier is renowned in the industry for its impeccable design and leading-edge technology – and the Global 7000 aircraft’s nice Touch CMS perfectly combines those two elements to bring ultimate comfort and effortless control to the customer’s fingertips.”

The Touch dial and Suite controllers are complemented by the nice Touch application, available on iOS and Android devices.

“With a 10-gigabit fibre-optic architecture and dual wireless access points for redundancy, the nice Touch CMS provides an easy and reliable way to control all cabin functions so that passengers can easily transition between productivity and relaxation,” said Andrew Muirhead, vice president, product division original equipment innovation, Lufthansa Technik.

Gogo opens European logistics facility

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Gogo has opened a logistics hub based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to stock and ship Gogo 2Ku parts directly to airline and OEM customers. This hub will offer the same capabilities as the existing Gogo facility located outside of Chicago.

The Amsterdam logistics hub is already in operation and is being managed in partnership with global transport and logistics company Kuehne and Nagel

“We believe that expanding these capabilities closer to our airline customers as well as our OEM partners will provide them with the support and flexibility they need during the ramp-up of installing and operating the 2Ku in-flight connectivity solution,” said John Wade, president of Gogo’s commercial aviation division. “Partnering with Kuehne + Nagel will strengthen our global supply chain to meet the needs of our customers as we continue to grow internationally.”

More in-flight entertainment coming to Qantas

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Qantas is to progressively introduce new entertainment partner offers from June 2018, including in-flight meditation.

The airline’s first meditation video series has been specially designed to bring a sense of calm and help customers unwind in the air. The 10-minute guided meditation is set to aerial footage of some of the most beautiful landscapes around Australia. Customers can choose from five different scenes including Australian deserts, bushlands, coasts, forests and locations at twilight as they listen to the meditation.

The meditation video series is available now to view on YouTube  and an immersive virtual reality (VR) version can be downloaded before travelling via the Qantas VR App .

Qantas has also signed up with Apple Music and Audible, and extended its existing partner content with Stan to give customers free access to more TV programs, movies, songs and digital audiobooks both inflight and on the ground.

According to Qantas chief customer officer Vanessa Hudson the expanded in-flight entertainment offering opened up more opportunities for customers to enjoy some “me time” during their flight.

“Customers tell us they value being able to take time for themselves in-flight and watch a movie or read a book, and now we can help them find a little extra relaxation with guided meditation,” said Hudson.

While Apple Music, Audible and Stan are all paid subscription services, they will offer free access to Qantas customers on and off the aircraft.

The offers include up to four months free subscription to Apple Music, one free audiobook per month for the first three months from the full library of downloadable audiobooks for new Audible customers, while Stan, which is currently available on Qantas Wi-Fi enabled aircraft, will now offer three months of unlimited access to TV shows and movies to new Stan customers on all Qantas flights.

Telesat and Global Eagle to collaborate on LEO capabilities

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Following a review of planned non-geostationary-orbit (NGSO) constellations, Global Eagle is to collaborate with satellite operator Telesat to optimise the capabilities of Telesat’s LEO system to serve growing broadband requirements of maritime and aeronautical markets.

The collaboration will include user terminal development, service-offering design, marketing, in-flight testing and at-sea performance testing.

Telesat and Global Eagle will work together on design and testing activities for Telesat’s planned LEO constellation using Telesat’s recently launched Phase 1 LEO satellite. The parties will focus on airline and large cruise ship applications in polar and high-latitude regions, and passenger use-cases globally that leverage sub-50 millisecond latency for data-intensive applications. For aviation, Global Eagle will be testing its newly developed Ka-band antenna.

“Global Eagle uses Telesat geostationary satellites today to deliver high-performing wireless broadband to millions of airline and cruise passengers,” said Josh Marks, CEO of Global Eagle. “We believe advanced LEO systems like Telesat’s can offer important advantages for aviation and cruise markets, including consistent global coverage, very low latency, and gigabit connections. Telesat’s open architecture can provide Global Eagle’s customers with an easy upgrade path to add LEO capacity to existing GEO systems, avoiding technological or economic lock-in to legacy technologies. We can also bring new technologies to our customers more quickly building on our open architecture. Global Eagle is very excited about this collaboration and eager to begin testing on Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite.”

“Mobility has long been a key sector for Telesat and we are very pleased that Global Eagle, a recognized leader in mobile broadband, has decided to collaborate on serving aviation and cruise markets beginning with live testing on Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite,” said Dan Goldberg, President and CEO of Telesat. “Telesat’s LEO system is designed to deliver low latency, high speed broadband with the ability to instantly allocate bandwidth where it’s most needed – a key benefit for mobility customers. Our collaboration with Global Eagle is further confirmation that the innovative design of Telesat’s LEO system offers many advantages to aeronautical and maritime markets. We look forward to benefiting from Global Eagle’s expertise as Telesat works to optimise the service offerings and network capabilities of our LEO system.”

Astronics CSC receives STCs for EmPower flight deck installs

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Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC), a subsidiary of Astronics, has received Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for retrofit installations of its EmPower in the flight deck on multiple Boeing aircraft types.

Astronics CSC completed the STCs in conjunction with retrofit projects for multiple airlines, in which more than 600 aircraft will provide the EmPower outlets for pilot use.

The STCs are for installations of 110 VAC and USB outlet combinations, plus power supplies and associated wiring kits, on Boeing 737, 757, 767, and 777 aircraft, with additional STCs for more Boeing and Airbus aircraft expected later this year in conjunction with additional airline retrofit programs.

Astronics’ EmPower products are already a standard line-fit option on Boeing and Airbus, and these new STCs represent an additional retrofit opportunity for airlines to provide consistency within their fleets.

“We were honoured to be selected by several airlines to create this retrofit solution for flight deck power,” said Michael Kuehn, president of Astronics CSC. “Our global experience in certification services is helping these airlines quickly provide a unified flight deck power experience across their entire fleets, which offers seamless convenience for their crews.”

SAS launches Wi-Fi for short and medium haul routes

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SAS has launched new high speed Wi-Fi service on its short and medium haul routes between Scandinavia and Europe.

“We have made a big investment that will ensure that our customers enjoy the best in-flight experience. Together with our recent fleet order, this will strengthen SAS’ competitiveness even further and maintain our strong position in the Scandinavian market,” said Rickard Gustafson, president and CEO of SAS.

SAS WiFi, based on the system supplied by Viasat, has already been installed in 28 aircraft, and by September, around 40 aircraft will have the new high speed Wi-Fi installed. SAS expects the vast majority of its fleet to be Wi-Fi enabled by the first quarter of 2020.

“Fast and stable Wi-Fi connection is a service passengers ask for today. Regardless if you want to watch a movie, stay connected with friends and family or work on-board, you require a reliable highspeed connection. By this investment we continue to deliver on our promise to make life easier for our customers” added Gustafson.

Travellers in SAS Plus, EuroBonus Diamond and Gold members enjoy free Wi-Fi all the way. Passengers in Go pay €4.90 (or the equivalent in other currencies). Silver members will be offered free Wi-Fi in the launch campaign period from May to 19 August.