Tail fins of Kenyan regional low-cost carrier Jambojet

Jambojet introduces IFE onboard

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Tail fins of Kenyan regional low-cost carrier Jambojet

Kenyan regional low-cost carrier Jambojet has partnered with Global Onboard Partners to introduce in-flight entertainment (IFE) services.

“Passengers spend an average one hour on the flight. The in-flight entertainment system will feature Jambojet Destination Explorer and also have videos, games, and reading material to keep them entertained, informed and engaged during the flight,” said Karanja Ndegwa, Managing Director and CEO, Jambojet.

“The in-flight entertainment service also offers an opportunity for corporates and other potential advertisers to promote their goods and services on the platform through video or static image placement,” he added.

Features include exclusive offers, rewards, and dynamic maps to help passengers find the best places to stay, food to eat and attractions to visit, across Jambojet’s network.

Global Onboard Partners CEO Kirk Adams commented: “Our innovative platform has been designed to provide a win-win for everyone through the delivery of destination experiences and special offers to passengers, through important new revenue streams to airlines and at the same time, providing greater access to tourism and hospitality partners to participate at affordable prices and receive direct contact with passengers.”

Jambojet currently flies to seven local destinations: Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu, Malindi, Lamu and Ukunda (Diani) from its hub in Nairobi. The airline also flies to Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Viasat and Inmarsat

Viasat to acquire Inmarsat

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Viasat and Inmarsat

Viasat is to acquire Inmarsat in transaction valued at US$7.3 billion subject to regulatory approval.

The definitive agreement, which Rick Baldridge, Viasat’s President and CEO called “a major moment for in-flight connectivity and the satellite industry as a whole” during a conference call, is expected to close in the second half of calendar year 2022.

Both companies are nearing the end of unusually capital investment cycle within the next 24-6 months. Inmarsat has recently launched its OneFi, ELERA and ORCHESTRA solutions while Viasat has invested in its business aviation services and is preparing for the launch of ViaSat-3 (Americas) which is expected to launch early calendar year 2022.

The combined company will make use of the interoperability opportunities offered by their respective network to offer customers greater choice, greater customer service through higher speeds, more bandwidth, greater density of bandwidth at high demand locations like airport hubs and lower latency at lower cost.

An advanced architecture will make use of multi-band, multi-orbit satellites and terrestrial air-to-ground systems through the fusion of complementary spectrum, satellite and terrestrial assets of both companies into a “global high-capacity hybrid space and terrestrial network, capable of delivering superior services in fast-growing commercial and government sectors.”

The combined company will have a fleet of 19 satellites (10 Ka-, 8 L- and 1-S band) in service with an additional 10 spacecraft under construction and planned for launch within the next three years, including eight GEOs. The global Ka-band footprint, including Inmarsat’s planned polar coverage, will be augmented by a revitalisation of L-band assets that support all-weather resilience and highly reliable, narrowband and IoT connectivity.

“This is a transformative combination that advances our common ambitions to connect the world. The unique fusion of teams, technologies and resources provides the ingredients and scale needed for profitable growth through the creation and delivery of innovative broadband and IoT services in new and existing fast-growing segments and geographies,” said Viasat’s Executive Chairman Mark Dankberg. “Inmarsat’s dual-band global mobile network, unique L-band resources, skills and capabilities in the UK and excellent technical and operational talent worldwide, are powerful complements to Viasat’s business. Together, we can advance broadband communications and create new hybrid space and terrestrial networks that drive greater performance, coverage, speed, reliability and value for customers. We look forward to welcoming the Inmarsat team into the Viasat family.”

“Joining with Viasat is the right combination for Inmarsat at the right time,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO of Inmarsat. “Viasat is a terrific innovator and Inmarsat brings some powerful additions: global reach, a broad distribution channel, robust business momentum and a presence in highly attractive global mobility segments. Together, the two companies will create a new global player with the scale and scope to help shape the future of a dynamic and growing industry.”

During the period prior to the closing of the transaction, Viasat expects members of Inmarsat’s management team to continue to execute its strategy and provide leadership, in-depth industry knowledge and customer relationship support. Decisions regarding management of the combined company following the closing of the transaction will be made as part of the integration planning process.

CommAgility software selected by SmartSky for air-to-ground network

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SmartSky Networks has selected the CommAgility high-performance telecommunications systems software as a key part of its next-generation air-to-ground (ATG) network.

CommAgility has supplied a comprehensive set of customised software and tools to SmartSky for in-flight connectivity, providing a full protocol stack and physical layer (PHY) for SmartSky’s Aircraft Base Radio (ABR), which is the user equipment (UE) on board the aircraft. The ABR connects to a ground base station and provides broadband in-flight connectivity for the operational needs of the aircraft, passengers, and crew.

“We’re combining the best telecoms technologies to deliver the optimal airborne communications network. We enhance standards-based 4G LTE and 5G technologies in an integrated system designed to provide high-bandwidth and reliable performance at close and long-range, in the most challenging mobility use-case – aviation. CommAgility has been able to tailor its world-class software to meet our unique needs,” said David Claassen, Chief Technology Officer at SmartSky Networks. “We’ve built up trust and a strong relationship with CommAgility. They have provided an amazing set of technologies which helped us to deliver our solution to the market.”

“SmartSky has built an innovative network that transforms the in-flight experience, as well as providing invaluable data services for the aviation industry,” said Edward Young, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at CommAgility. “We’re proud that our software is playing an important role in the network.”

For SmartSky’s UE, CommAgility has provided its MobilePHY-TI and MobileSTACK software. It has also provided development tools and test software.

Saudia is promoting the historical and archaeological charms of Al Ula

Museum in the sky highlights treasures of AlUla

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Saudia is promoting the historical and archaeological charms of Al Ula

Saudia has introduced a new in-flight entertainment system (IFE) channel, Discover Saudi Arabia, as part of a relationship with the Royal Commission for AlUia (RCU).

The channel launched with documentary movie, Architects of Ancient Arabia, a 2021 release full-length documentary movie produced by PowderHouse revealing that some of human civilization’s first building blocks were set in place in AlUla, a historic city in the Medina Region in north-western Saudi Arabia.

Khaled Tash, Vice President of Corporate Communication at Saudia Group said: “As the national flag carrier and Wings of Vision 2030, it is a privilege to showcase heritage sites and hidden gems of the Kingdom. We have created a dedicated channel in our in-flight entertainment system to do just that and to display this beautifully produced documentary by the Discovery Channel.”

Passengers have also been treated to a unique in-flight experience as Saudia and AlUla highlighted one of the world’s biggest archaeological programme on a special Museum in the Sky flight.

A joint collaboration between Saudia and AlUla, the flight took off from Riyadh to AlUla on the 4 November 2021. Onboard the flying museum, a replica collection of artefacts discovered in AlUla during excavations by archaeologists revealed some of the mysteries of AlUla’s ancient civilizations.

Kerrie McEvoy, Channel Director, Discovery Channel, Europe, Middle East & Africa said: “We are delighted that Architects of Ancient Arabia is displayed onboard Saudi IFE system, we aim to serve our passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. This was a special project for Discovery, and AlUla is a special place with untouched desert and some of the most stunningly well-preserved evidence of ancient civilizations. We hope that all Saudia passengers will enjoy the movie during their flight times.”

Said Phillip Jones, Chief Destination Management and Marketing Officer at RCU added: “Museum in the Sky provided a true connection back to AlUla as a living museum and the significance of the archaeological work we do in AlUla, which we believe is the biggest archaeological program in the world right now. We are honoured to work with Saudia and to welcome these passengers and all those who are planning visits over the next few months to discover more of AlUla’s living history.”

ElitAvia will optimise SD connectivity in the flightdeck and cabin: Photo credit Daryl Cauchi

Elit’Avia selects Satcom Direct as preferred connectivity provider

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ElitAvia will optimise SD connectivity in the flightdeck and cabin: Photo credit Daryl Cauchi

Slovenia-headquartered aviation services company Elit’Avia has selected Satcom Direct (SD) to become its preferred supplier for the provision of voice, data, connectivity, and flight deck communication functionality, along with customer support and training.

The three-year agreement enables Elit’Avia to tailor SD services to meet individual aircraft requirements across its mixed fleet.

The Elit’Avia flight department already uses the digital flight operations system SD Pro to synchronise flight operations, access the SD Cyber Security Threat Monitoring module, and to track and monitor flights.

Elit’Avia is also benefiting from 24/7/365 customer support for any troubleshooting or real-time expertise as needed. The global network of SD offices, the speed of response to queries and the ease of access to technical experts, as well as ongoing training, were all factors that supported Elit’Avia’s decision to extend the existing SD agreement.

“We are a dynamic global business that puts safety and quality first to create a best-in-class customer experience. We wanted to work with a connectivity company that values partnership, and mirrors our operating philosophy, which is why we selected SD as our preferred connectivity partner. The SD team has already demonstrated the value they bring with their expert technical support, their genuine focus on customer service and the ability to deliver seamless connectivity across a range of aircraft types. Access to the growing cybersecurity offering is also an important factor for Elit’Avia’s operations team. We are excited to develop our connectivity services further with SD,” said Michel Coulomb, CEO & Accountable Manager of Elit’Avia.

Cabin router upgrades for aircraft that are not currently using SD connectivity solutions are also in discussion. The addition of the SDR Series supports customisation of aircraft connectivity needs, distributes cabin Wi-Fi for increased functionality and data capacity for passengers and crew, as well as interfacing with avionics systems to deliver validated, operational data to the Elit’Avia flight department.

“Being a preferred supplier to an operator of Elit’Avia’s size and quality highlights that our customer-centric approach of creating tailored connectivity solutions adds real value to an operator’s business. The ability to package connectivity services through our eco-system of hardware, software, and terrestrial infrastructure, to deliver powerful cyber threat monitoring services, and to support the differing requirements of a mixed fleet, highlights the value the SD Xperience portfolio brings to business aviation. With the expanded, long-term deal we are able to better serve their customers, crew, and operations teams by providing flexible, customisable connectivity solutions. We look forward to working with the Elit’Avia team to support their evolving needs,” said Michael Skou Christensen, SD VP International.

Image: Photo credit Daryl Cauchi.

Duncan Aviation is providing engineering and certification services to Gogo Business Aviation for completion of the first-article Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the Gogo 5G system

Duncan Aviation partners with Gogo on 5G STC portfolio

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Duncan Aviation is providing engineering and certification services to Gogo Business Aviation for completion of the first-article Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the Gogo 5G system

Duncan Aviation is providing engineering and certification services to Gogo Business Aviation for completion of the first-article Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the Gogo 5G system.

Duncan Aviation will use the experience and data from certifying the first article to modify all of its full-equipment AVANCE L5 STCs to include Gogo 5G, which will cover more than 30 aircraft models.

“The STC portfolio we’re partnering with Duncan Aviation on for Gogo 5G is extensive and will ensure that we can provide a significantly enhanced in-flight connectivity experience for passengers,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation.

The amended STCs for Gogo 5G will cover the following in-service aircraft:

Bombardier Global Express, 5000, XRS, 5500, 6000, 6500
Bombardier Challenger CL-650, CL-605, CL-604, CL-601-3A, CL-601-3R
Bombardier Challenger 300, 350
Gulfstream GIV, G300, G400
Gulfstream GIV-X, G350, G450
Gulfstream Aerospace LP Galaxy, Gulfstream 200
Dassault Falcon 900
Dassault Falcon 900EX (EX, EASy, LX, DX)
Dassault Falcon 2000
Dassault Falcon 2000EX (EX, EASy, LX, DX)
Textron Aviation Inc. 680, 680+Textron Aviation Inc. 750
Textron Aviation Inc. 560XL, 560XLS, 560XLS+ (Currently in development)
Additional aircraft models to add to the program are also being evaluated by Duncan Aviation and Gogo.

“The AVANCE L5 system has been so popular with our customers that we are focusing our ATG certification and sales efforts on Gogo systems,” said Jeff Lake, president of Duncan Aviation. “Our experience in the initial certification and having partnered in that installation allows us to provide more comprehensive details to operators so they can best schedule and budget for 5G for 2022 and beyond.”

Operators who already have the AVANCE L5 Wi-Fi system installed have the foundation required to allow them to upgrade to Gogo’s 5G network. Gogo 5G has been designed to deliver high throughput with very low latency to address the increased demand in data-heavy services and applications in use today, such as video conferencing and social media, as well as emerging technologies in the future.

The Duncan Aviation STCs have been used for more than 265 installations of the AVANCE L5 system. Once the 5G STCs are complete, Duncan Aviation will perform the installations at its full-service facilities in Battle Creek, Michigan, Lincoln, Nebraska, and Provo, Utah, as well as many of the company’s 26+ Satellites.

Delta has announced new Delta Studio collections and premium content for its in-flight entertainment library.

Delta partners with Peloton as part of Autumn IFE refresh

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Delta has announced new Delta Studio collections and premium content for its in-flight entertainment library.

Delta has announced new Delta Studio collections and premium content for its in-flight entertainment library.

“A fresh selection of entertainment means customers can catch the latest box-office hits, rediscover an old favourite or stream their favourite tunes when they fly on Delta this holiday season,” said Katie Stuart, Product Manager, Delta Studio.

In recent years, Delta has continued to invest in its in-flight entertainment experience. Only the airline’s Boeing 717 fleet are not equipped with seatback screens, meaning new content introduced this month is available on nearly all routes.

Passengers travelling in November and December will have access to over 100 films with 56 new releases, and more than 500 TV episodes from top Hollywood studios on Delta. Highly anticipated new releases featured include Stillwater, Free Guy and No Sudden Move.

For the first time, HBO Max selections will be available exclusively to Delta passengers. These include a new feature collection with HBO Max favourites Friends: The Reunion, Love Life, Raised by Wolves and more.

New content is hand-selected by teams at Delta after reviewing historical performance data to better understand the content customers want more of. Content and collections on Delta Studio are refreshed monthly.

In addition, Delta also has partnered with interactive fitness platform Peloton to offer a new Classes in the Clouds collection of wellbeing-focused content exclusively for Delta customers. This is the first time that Peloton content will be offered on a non-Peloton platform and is the latest step the company is taking to create content that is accessible to help its members stay active.

The 5-to-20-minute stretching and meditation classes are taught by Peloton Yoga and Meditation Instructors Anna Greenberg, Chelsea Jackson Roberts and Ross Rayburn, as well as Tread and Strength Instructors Matty Maggiacomo and Adrian Williams.

More than 200 Delta aircraft are now equipped with fast-streaming Viasat Wi-Fi, with the airline on track to complete more than 300 installations by year end. Customers on these aircraft can stream and browse their favourite sites at fast speeds for a simple, flat rate of US$5 per device no matter the length of the flight. Free messaging is also available, ensuring customers can stay connected to friends and family on the ground. Delta plans to equip nearly all its domestic mainline fleet with enhanced connectivity by the end of 2022.

SES MEO + GEO constellation

Isotropic Systems and SES complete first-ever multi-orbit field tests

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SES MEO + GEO constellation

Isotropic Systems and SES have completed the first-ever simultaneous multi-orbit antenna field tests.

Isotropic Systems’ UK-built multi-link antenna underwent a series of field tests at SES’s Manassas, Virginia teleport. The terminal established multiple simultaneous, full-performance link connections with SES satellites – linking to a geostationary (GEO) satellite while simultaneously connected with an O3b satellite in medium earth orbit (MEO).

Currently, users are reliant on legacy ground antennas which only connect to a single network at a time. However, the tests prove that satellite end-users will be able to combine the best attributes of all available networks achieving superior network uptime and application performance. Isotropic’s deep tech solution multiplies the performance of single antenna solutions to transform the global appeal of satellite connectivity, ensuring critical defence communications infrastructure and delivering multiple broadband that are highly reliable:

For aviation, pilots will be able to connect to the optimal satellites for navigation and ground communications, while passengers in the cabin can connect to entirely separate satellites in different orbits to access live television, super-fast broadband, and enhanced entertainment options with streaming and gaming.

“We have removed the major bottleneck holding back the expansion of the satellite sector for both commercial and defence communications. Users can finally connect to as many satellites as they want, when they want, wherever they want and that’s a game-changer for enterprise, aero, maritime, government and defence,” said John Finney, founder and CEO of Isotropic Systems. “This test proves space is now open, as we mesh networks together in a way that is unparalleled, without compromise. We have delivered on our vision to combine the full performance of multiple antennas into one multi-link, solid state, software defined terminal without any restrictions.”

“The success of these multi-orbit antenna trials opens the door to a new level of multi-orbit service delivery, as we integrate our geostationary satellites with our second-generation low-latency, high-throughput O3b mPOWER system to provide seamless services for our customers,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “Isotropic’s unique architecture enables our customers to be connected to multiple simultaneous beams from both GEO and MEO satellites, enabling us to deliver industry-defining performance and orbital resilience services. It is a game changer for resilient, secure, global networks built on SES’s state-of-the-art fleet.”

Air Belgium A330

Air Belgium selects Anuvu for in-flight entertainment provision

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Air Belgium A330

Anuvu has signed a three-year contract with Air Belgium to become its in-flight entertainment (IFE) provider.

Under the partnership, Anuvu will incorporate its Iris platform into the carrier’s IFE system.

Estibaliz Asiain, Anuvu’s SVP, Commercial Media & Content said: “Air Belgium’s main priority is to provide its customers with efficient, modern and high-quality services. Iris enables the airline to choose from a variety of core and add-on channels curated to suit global tastes and budgets while delivering a superior passenger experience.

“In addition to Iris’ core channels, we will be providing the airline with French movies and destination documentaries from Belgium to Curaçao, Guadeloupe and Martinique and will soon be adding Mauritius and Reunion islands. We look forward to working with Air Belgium over the next three years and helping the airline extend its IFE offering to its passengers.”

Iris is a pay-monthly service for aviation clients that brings the best movies and entertainment onboard. It is an efficient and flexible solution that enables airlines to have a clear fixed monthly pricing structure, inclusive to airlines of all sizes. Passengers have access to Hollywood and international movies, award-winning TV and next-generation featured content.

STARS Air Ambulance

STARS and SKYTRAC trial in-flight medical data transfer

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STARS Air Ambulance

SKYTRAC Systems Ltd and STARS air ambulance, a Canadian provider of in emergency medical care and transportation for the critically ill and injured, have completed a first-of-its-kind in-flight Medical Data Transfer trial onboard STARS’ new five-blade Airbus H145-D3 aircraft.

The Medical Data Transfer capability enables air medical operators to transmit real-time patient medical data such as O2 and CO2 saturation, pulse rate, and blood pressure data directly to remote transport physicians and receiving centres from any point on the globe through SKYTRAC’s intelligent connectivity solution. This unique mix of satellite, cellular, and Wi-Fi connectivity is made possible by SKYTRAC’s ISAT-200A and DAL-200 avionics, which offer operators dynamic data routing through various channels for real-time medical data acquired from onboard medical devices. The capability enables transport physicians to view patient data remotely through secure servers in real-time.

Prior to STARS’ successful in-flight trial, SKYTRAC conducted on-ground testing with STAT MedEvac in February 2020, where engineers configured a ZOLL X Series monitor/defibrillator to transmit encrypted medical data successfully.

This expandable capability will enable healthcare practitioners to access data such as 12-lead reports before patients arrive at the receiving hospital, saving valuable seconds during one of the riskiest phases of care. Telemedicine applications may also be enabled, pending the availability of the required onboard equipment.

“STARS is very excited to see this capability successfully trialled on our aircraft,” commented Cindy Seidl, Chief Clinical Officer, STARS air ambulance. “The ability for our remote transport physicians to view real-time data enables us to be even more reactive when transporting patients to receiving centres.”

The Iridium-based ISAT-200A satellite communications terminal features powerful data acquisition capabilities and services such as voice and text communications, aircraft tracking, and satellite push-to-talk (PTT) through a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network for resilient low-latency narrowband bandwidth immune to natural disasters and catastrophic events. In regions where cellular connectivity is available, SKYTRAC’s DAL-200 can dynamically switch to utilise cellular data.

“SKYTRAC has worked closely with STARS and STAT MedEvac over the years to create a truly innovative capability that has far-reaching impact within the Emergency Medical Service sector,” mentions Mandi Skinner, Regional Business Manager, SKYTRAC. “We look forward to growing our partnership with STARS, and ultimately to a successful fleet-wide implementation.”