The first day of this year’s Inflight Middle East Workshop has concluded with senior airline representative from major Middle Eastern and North African carriers, joining personnel from across the cabin technology fields to hear and discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the cabin interior and IFEC market today.

After a brief welcome address from HMG Aerospace director, Mark Howells, Valour Consultancy’s Craig Foster took moderating duties for the opening workshop session.

A well-attended satellite communications panel saw SES’ Pragyan Acharya, Eutelsat’s Jags Burhm, Tina Ghataore of Yahsat and Inmarsat’s Neale Faulkner cover a range of issues from a perceived slow-down of in-flight connectivity installations, the emerging markets of Asia and Africa to ATG and the merits of the various LEO, MEO and GEO constellations.

With all companies positioned to support the market and their airline customer base, the competing operators agreed that collaboration between all stakeholders was key to securing a consistent and quality in-flight connectivity service and experience.

A change in gear was provided by Alain Bicque, CEO of Detalytics who described the physiological challenges and innovations for crew and passengers posed by frequent long-haul travel. Using AI and algorithms, Detalytics opens up the human black box to provide real-time reporting of health issues.

With crew fatigue a growing and serious issue, ‘to measure is to know’ he urged.

The moderating chalice was handed to Inflight editor Alexander Preston for the afternoon sessions.

The popularity of live TV was discussed by an intimate panel of Oleg Knut of Axinom, Nigel Rhodes from Gogo and Rachelle Peterson from CNN. Clarifying that live means ‘live’ and not near real-time broadcasts, there is a growing appetite for both news and sports from airlines and their passengers, with improvements in technology such as antennas and radommes helping overcome bandwidth constraints.

The final session looked at digitalisation – a topic that is set to dominate discussions for the foreseeable future. Thierry Carmes of Display Interactive was joined by Jean-Marc Chevassus of IMM and Partel-Peeter Kruuv of Magnetic MRO. The three spoke about the opportunities and challenges posed by digital technologies for both the passenger experience and MRO activities.

Join us tomorrow for Day 2 for insights into connectivity, IFE and sustainability as well as innovation and market intelligence from Valour Consultancy.

The day ends with our coveted Inflight Middle East Awards.

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