AIX 2018: Kuwait Airways activates next-gen in-flight connectivity

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Forging ahead with its commitment to bring next-generation, high-speed, in-flight broadband connectivity to passengers, Kuwait Airways has extended its partnership with SITAONAIR.

The aircraft service expert will deploy its ONAIR portal and Mobile ONAIR services line-fit on board the airline’s new A320 and A321neo aircraft fleet. The award-winning in-flight connectivity portal, ONAIR, will enable passengers to seamlessly maintain their digital lives as they fly – to stream, surf, message, consume digital content, shop and stay connected with their loved ones.

Commenting on the partnership, Stephan Egli, SITAONAIR’s regional vice president of the Middle East, Africa and Europe, said:

This is a fantastic moment for SITAONAIR as we deliver our rich, value-added in-flight connectivity services, and the promise of the connected aircraft experience to our valued customer, Kuwait Airways. With our leading internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR solutions, harnessing the power of GX Aviation, passengers will have access to the latest connectivity technologies, so their digital lives continue uninterrupted in the air, just as on the ground.

With the new service planned for early 2019, Kuwait’s flag-carrying airline will become the Middle East’s first airline to offer in-flight connectivity services over Inmarsat’s GX Aviation in a single-aisle aircraft fleet.

The pairing marks the evolution of SITAONAIR and Kuwait Airway’s long-running partnership delivering SwiftBroadband to its A330 and A320 fleets.

AIX 2018: ATR outlines PAX commitment in Hamburg

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ATR is showcasing a new in-flight entertainment system and new seats at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg this week, as well as unveiling the launch customer for its new Cabinstream system.

The manufacturer says its presence at the show represents its “strong commitment to passenger comfort and wellness. Improving the ATR cabin is at the heart of ATR’s philosophy of continuous development.”

The company’s new ‘Neo Classic’ and ‘Neo Prestige’ seats, launched at last year’s show, are due to become standard on its aircraft this year. It is also demonstrating the new Cabinstream IFE system, which it says will give operators the option of introducing wireless connectivity into the ATR cabin, allowing passengers to download multimedia content to their personal devices.

A signing ceremony to announce the launch customer of the Cabinstream system is due to take place on the afternoon of Day 1 at AIX.


AIX 2018: Loftleidir Icelandic picks Bluebox IFE solution for VIPs

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Loftleidir Icelandic, the charter and leasing arm of Icelandair, is to deploy Bluebox’s portable wireless IFE platform on its exclusive Boeing 757-200 for VIP charter.

The interior of the Loftleidir VIP charter is in a 50-seat configuration with lie-flat sleeper seats from Avio interiors (Zeus), although for longer-term assignments other configurations are available, says the carrier.

Arni Hermannson, managing director of Loftleidir Icelandic, said: “We take pride in delivering the best of the best to our VIP customers. What we found in Bluebox’s solution is an IFE platform that will deliver not just the best IFE service for them, but a solution that will work best for us – we just needed a system that works for everyone, and we’ve found that with Bluebox.”

“By selecting Bluebox for its VIP charter aircraft, Loftleidir Icelandic has validated the quality and innovation of our platform on behalf of the most discriminating of customers – the VIP passenger,” said Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox. “The technology embedded in it – the Moving Map, app-free DRM content delivery, automatic updates via 3G/4G cellular – ensures Loftleidir can deliver the most engaging and current IFE service to their customers.”

Bluebox’s portable wireless streaming platform provides content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, providing the capability of storing up to 1.6 terabytes of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content, accessed through any web browser, including DRM content. The small, portable, lunchbox-sized unit can be stowed securely in overhead bins, with each having single, swappable rechargeable batteries delivering up to 15 hours of streamed video content to 50 passengers simultaneously.


AIX 2018: digEcor partners with HAECO Cabin Solutions

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digEcor has teamed up with HAECO Cabin Solutions to offer an innovative approach to airlines wanting to enhance the passenger experience with in-seat power.

Its In-Seat Power Solution is now compatible with HAECO Cabin Solutions Vector seat platform, via either a pre-integrated installation or retrofit solution.

“HAECO Cabin Solutions, as part of HAECO Americas, provides interiors design engineering, certification, and retrofit project integration, as well as the manufacture of a full line of interiors products,” said David Kelly, VP marketing and strategy for HAECO.

Commenting on the partnership with digEcor, Kelly added: “These products make use of innovative materials and lower part count to reduce weight. Through their efficient design, these products also offer greater durability and lower lifetime maintenance cost.”

The two companies have worked together closely to create a custom design for the HAECO Vector Seat Series using the digEcor seat mod kit, designing the solution onto the seat leg and adapting the seat design. The components included in the custom design fit into two spar-mounted boxes (housing either single or double USB jacks) with a USP (USB Seat Power Box) that powers both boxes.

Describing the In-Seat Power Solution as a “lightweight and affordable installation of passenger power”, digEcor’s CEO, David Withers, stated that the “solution offers installation modularity, resulting in the best fitting solution for airlines. With such an innovative solution, airlines can essentially introduce passenger power to their cabin with an overnight install.”

AIX 2018: Honeywell unveils new satcom system

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Honeywell has launched its latest satellite communications system, Aspire 400, to provide aircraft cabin crew and passengers with access to worldwide voice and data connectivity, as well as critical cockpit safety services for pilots.

“As pilot and passenger demand for data and services continues to grow, our latest satellite communications system delivers superior call quality, videoconferencing and the ability to stream content in a single system,” said Mark Goodman, product director, Honeywell Aerospace.

Designed for business jets and commercial or military aircraft, the compact and lightweight system – it’s 45 kg lighter than comparable products – provides connectivity to both the cockpit and cabin simultaneously, which in turn results in safer, more efficient and more comfortable flights than previously possible.

The system, which comes with two antenna options – an intermediate-gain and a high-gain version – offers connectivity through two independent SwiftBroadband channels and Inmarsat’s I-4 network. It enables pilots to have access to a separate, secure data channel for essential safety communications in the cockpit – such as text messaging with air traffic control or in-flight tracking – as well as electronic flight bag applications. Meanwhile, passengers can use the second channel for SwiftBroadband voice and data connectivity in the cabin.

A quick and easy upgrade for legacy satcom systems, Aspire 400 can be installed alongside different Aspire satcom systems on the same aircraft in “dual satcom” mode. It also enables pilots, flight crews and passengers to access Honeywell’s suite of GoDirect software and apps, including GoDirect Cabin Connectivity. This application controls connectivity services and usage, and is credited with helping operators save up to US$100,000 per year.


AIX 2018: Air Canada goes for Gogo for CSeries

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Air Canada has chosen Gogo’s 2Ku in-flight connectivity solution for its new Bombardier CS300 aircraft.

The technology will be installed as a line-fit option at Canada’s Bombardier factory. “Air Canada was the first in Canada to deploy the service on their entire mainline fleet of aircraft. They have been at the forefront of technology adoption and we are excited to deploy 2Ku on additional aircraft,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s president and CEO. “We also are excited to work with Bombardier to have this technology installed at the factory.”

“At Air Canada, we continually seek to elevate the travel experience. By combining Gogo’s 2Ku in-flight connectivity, giving customers the ability to work, be entertained and communicate in-flight, and Bombardier’s next generation aircraft, we will be able to offer our customers a superlative level of onboard service,” said Andrew Yiu, vice-president of product at Air Canada.

The airline has 45 CS300 aircraft on order with an option for an additional 30. It also has over 170 narrow and widebody aircraft committed to the technology.

More than 2,000 aircraft are slated to be installed with Gogo’s 2Ku technology, says the company, with more than 650 aircraft flying with the technology at present.

AIX 2018: Immfly and FOX showcase latest in digital IFE security

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In its latest alliance with FOX, Immfly has become the first company to ensure that content is 100% secure and protected on its digital platform, by using web-based Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology that is now available on Android and IOS systems.

The technology enables passengers the chance to view protected entertainment content via web-browsers on their personal devices. It eliminates the need to download an app in advance, and enables providers such as FOX to ensure their content is fully protected and secure.

Commenting on the partnership, Vincent Tomasoni, chief customer and content officer, Immfly said: “We are proud to be the first company that ensures a high-quality platform with secure web-based content, which we are able to do thanks to FOX’s innovative mindset to meet market and consumer trends and demands.”

Last year, Immfly tripled the number of aircraft it is working with, having partnered with airlines including easyJet, Iberia Express and Volotea. This latest collaboration with FOX will serve to further enhance the inflight experience for passengers, enabling them to connect seamlessly once onboard an aircraft without having to download applications in advance. A larger audience connecting to the platform will also boost Immfly’s ability to generate ancillary revenue streams with its digital in-flight commerce and sponsorship opportunities.




Air Tanzania to deploy IFE from Inflight Dublin

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Air Tanzania has signed a five-year contract with Inflight Dublin to significantly improve its passenger experience by offering IFE.

In addition to providing additional audio services such as pre-recorded announcements and boarding music, Inflight Dublin will offer the latest Hollywood movies, international and local titles, classic TV shows, a broad audio selection and a range of broadcast shows. All content will be streamed via embedded Panasonic EX3 systems.

“This new content services agreement represents exciting inflight entertainment growth opportunities for Air Tanzania and a commitment to provide the best travel experience for our passengers,” said Ladislaus Matindi, Air Tanzania’s CEO and managing director. “We are delighted to launch these new services in our fleet, which is now poised to provide the very latest movies, television and audio programming on regional and international flights.”

“This new content services agreement represents exciting in-flight entertainment growth opportunities for Air Tanzania” John White, Infight’s Dublin CEO says. “Our cooperation with Air Tanzania improves how its passengers enjoy the airline’s in-flight service. As the flag carrier of Tanzania, the airline is committed to driving the nation’s aviation industry by adhering to the latest IFE trends. We are pleased to be part of their long-term plan.”

This new IFE offering will be available on-board Air Tanzania’s fleet from June 2018.

In early March, Inflight Dublin announced a strategic, multiyear content service agreement with Air Greenland, under which it is providing a suite of core IFE content services, including movies, TV and broadcasts on the in-cabin Cloud Lounge seatback system aboard the A330 fleet.

IFE content is provided in several languages including English and Danish.

Nina Tuxen, Air Greenland’s Inflight Service Manager commented, “Air Greenland is dedicated to providing a great in-flight passenger experience, and our collaborative partnership with Inflight Dublin will help to ensure our IFE content is relevant, enjoyable and a true differentiator our airline can count on for years to come.”

“We are delighted to partner with Air Greenland on their first inclusion of IFE,” said White, Inflight Dublin’s CEO. “Air Greenland is greatly enhancing its overall passenger experience by tapping Inflight Dublin’s unsurpassed IFE content in the sky. We look forward to launching these new services across the Air Greenland fleet.”

ZEE signs IFE content partnership with British Airways

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Global Content Hub By Zee, the content syndication arm of ZEE Entertainment Enterprise Limited (ZEEL) is to supply for in-flight programming for British Airways flights from India.

According to press reports in Indian media, the in-flight entertainment will include top-rated shows from the Zee bouquet of channels including Zee TV, Zee Café, Z Living, &TV, Living Foodz and Zee News.

British Airways head of sales, Asia Pacific and the Middle East Robert Williams commented, “We take pride in offering our customers a wide range of engaging, inspiring and above all, entertaining options in our in-flight entertainment. We are constantly on the lookout for programming that caters to the varied tastes and preferences of our customers, including regional content. Our introduction of Global Content Hub By Zee programming is a big step in this direction.”

Asia-Pacific carriers select EmPower in-seat power system

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Several major airlines in Asia will install Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems’ EmPower in-seat power systems from 2018 to 2025, including two Chinese low-cost carriers. These recent awards will place in-seat power within 500 additional narrow-body aircraft from both Boeing and Airbus, serving the Asia-Pacific region.

The systems include various EmPower configurations, including 110 V 60 Hz and high-power (2.1 A) USB for use with laptops and other personal electronic devices (PEDs), such as iPads and smartphones

“Airlines throughout the Asia-Pacific region continue to invest in upgrading and expanding their narrow-body fleets, incorporating a ‘bring-your-own-device’ entertainment strategy that requires convenient access to power,” said Peter J. Gundermann, president and CEO of Astronics Corporation. “Astronics is honoured that these airlines continue to select our EmPower system solutions to power the information devices used by crews in the cockpit plus the personal electronic devices used by passengers in the cabin.”