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entertainment & connectivity

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entertainment & connectivity

brought to you by


Julie Baxter WRITERS

Richard Williams Benjamin Coren PUBLISHER



Louisa Horton Monica Notarnicola PRODUCTION MANAGER

Clare Hunter


his year's AIX in Hamburg is going to be big. With 18 new companies joining 100 exhibitors in the IFEC Zone, this is now the world's largest event dedicated to onboard technology, content and services. It is a fastmoving sector with lots to talk about, from the rapidly-evolving global infrastructure and high-spec hardware innovations to customer focused applications and smart new ways to enhance the passenger experience. In this, our latest review of the onboard entertainment and connectivity world, written primarily by Richard Williams, we aim to keep you up to date with commentary and insights from those in the know. We've taken a closer look at just what passengers are watching, with insights from a range of content providers, and we've cast an eye over the plethora of IFE apps now making their way News onboard via passengers' own devices. We've Latest deals and looked beyond the headlines to understand developments more about developments at Delta Air Lines, Intelsat and Gogo and have spent time getting to know a rising star in the onboard wifi market, FTS. Whether you're delivering Trends content, working to inspire engagement or Innovations and insights launching satellites into space we hope you find time to take a read!

04 06 08



David Clare



Julie Baxter, EDITOR

Richard Williams, WRITER


Just who is watching what onboard?


Focus on


App update

GETTING CONNECTED According to IATA’s 2016 survey, under 24s' concern about a lack of connectivity while travelling is fuelling a surge in the inflight connectivity market. The good news is that the tipping-point has now been reached: airlines are investing in high-quality IFE and highspeed connectivity with around 39% of available seat miles (ASM) worldwide now offering wifi. Some airlines are offering it free, and while cynics will ask how long that can last once the promotional benefits wear off, service providers continue to acquire capacity on new satellites to make mobile connectivity and entertainment ever more accessible to all. What next? We’ll be at AIX in Hamburg to find out. See you there!

Content is king

Rising star, FTS

Airlines up their IFE app options


Case study


In conversation


Focus On

Delta Air Lines' IFE offer under the spotlight

Mark Richman, Intelsat

Gogo goes for growth 3

news update


News update



 CAPACITY BOOST Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) has acquired Ku-band payload on an SES communication satellite to boost capacity in North America, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. GEE will rebrand the satellite as Eagle-1. “Our strategic plan calls for us to own critical elements of our infrastructure, especially in areas where we have the greatest users," said Dave Davis, ceo of GEE. geemedia.com; ses.com

VIASAT AND ARCONICS Broadband services and technology provider ViaSat has acquired aviation software company Arconics, giving it access to software and mobile applications for pilots, cabin crew and flight operations teams as well as for passenger entertainment offerings. Arconics’ connected aircraft software platform includes wireless In-flight Entertainment (IFE), Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), Airline Document Management and Cabin Management solutions. Arconics customers include Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Philippine Airlines, Tigerair Australia, and SpiceJet. viasat.com



New York-based fibre-optic manufacturer The ViaSat-2 satellite Amphenol has bought Phitek, the New is complete and set to Zealand-based supplier of noiselaunch on April 25, 2017 from cancellation and audio-enhancement the Arianespace launch site. It will equipment. The price is estimated at be operational at the end of 2017 around $60 million. Amphenol says it will and promises to deliver much more keep Phitek’s New Zealand operations in capacity and better coverage to place and adopt the Phitek brand. airline partners JetBlue, United, Amphenol president and ceo, Richard and American Airlines. Adam Norwitt, commented: “This acquisition viasat.com strengthens the company’s global capabilities and enhances our product offering in this important end market.” phitek.com


PANASONIC DEAL Panasonic is to install its eX1 system and supply its Global Communications Services to Turkish Airlines' new fleet of narrowbody aircraft. The system will include Panasonic’s Passenger Data Integration service, which works with a custom companion app that enables passengers to pair mobile devices to the IFEC system. panasonic.aero


GOGO GETS HTS FROM INTELSAT Intelsat has signed an agreement with broadband connectivity supplier Gogo for services on its Intelsat 29e satellite. Gogo will use high-throughput services (HTS) from this first satellite in the global Intelsat EpicNG network to deliver inflight wifi to aircraft on North Atlantic routes. gogoair.com; intelsat.com

news update


SAFRAN TIE TO ZODIAC International equipment, engine and systems supplier, Safran, expects to merge with aerosafety, aircraft systems, seats and cabins specialist Zodiac Aerospace in early 2018. When completed, the deal will make Safran the world’s thirdlargest ‘Tier 1’ supplier (after United Technologies and GE Aviation) to major aerospace manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing. safran-group.com

BLUEBOX & AVILT MERGE AviIT and Bluebox Avionics have combined as a new company: Bluebox Aviation Systems Ltd. Kevin Clark, who has been appointed ceo, said: "This structure will help us meet our ambitious growth plans over the coming years, building upon Bluebox's 10 years of IFE market success and AviIT's rich history of airline industry software innovation." blueboxavionics.com

CLOUD COVER Wireless platform Immfly has been winning plaudits – and contracts – for its entertainment and connectivity services. Now onboard Iberia Express and XL Airways among others, the product gives passengers access to movies, TV, news and magazines, kids' channels and travel guides. immfly.com ROCKWELL COLLINS JOINS FORCES WITH B/E AEROSPACE

Rockwell Collins' successful $6.4bn cash and shares bid for B/E Aerospace has given new breadth and scope to the companies' operations. Rockwell Collins’ capabilities in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications and information management systems now sit alongside B/E Aerospace's range of cabin interior products, including seating, food and beverage preparation and storage equipment, lighting and oxygen systems, and modular galley and lavatory systems for commercial airliners and business jets. rockwellcollins.com


EVENT IN FOCUS AIX Hamburg 2017 & Passenger Experience Conference • WHEN? April 4-6, 2017 • WHERE? The Messe, Hamburg, Germany • WHAT’S THE BUZZ? Aircraft Interiors Hamburg is co-located with the World Travel Catering Expo (WTCE) and preceded by the Passenger Experience Conference with more than 50 industry speakers. • WHO'S EXHIBITING? More than 500 exhibitors including 55 new companies will showcase every type of product for aircraft interiors, IFEC and passenger comfort. • WHO’S GOING? A record 20,000 attendees are expected during the Passenger Experience Week from across the aviation industry and some 1,000-plus airline buyers will attend. • WHAT'S AAT'S NEW? CabinSpace Live, a theatre-style series of seminars within the exhibition,will be bigger this year, offering an opportunity to discuss key topics and gain inspiration from industry leaders within the IFEC and MRO sectors. • WHA WHAT'S ON THE AGENDA? The Passenger Experience Conference will include speakers on passenger experience design, inflight services for connected passengers, Li-Fi technology for onboard connectivity and new revenue models for connectivity. • WHAT ELSE? Aircraft Interiors Expo is the world’s leading event for airlines and the supply chain to source the latest innovations, technologies and products for the cabin interiors, inflight entertainment and passenger comfort industries. Get involved at: aircraftinteriorsexpo.com "I look forward to seeing you at AIX Hamburg 2017." Sue Williams, Publisher, Onboard Entertainment & Connectivity


trends update




New York-based JetBlue claims to be the first and only airline to offer free, high-speed wifi, live TV and movies for all customers on every plane. The airline has equipped its whole fleet of 227 aircraft with inflight wifi and now offers 12-15 Mbps, enough to check emails, surf and stream media, through a partnership with Amazon Video. JetBlue’s FlyFi system has been installed on all its A320, A321 and E190 aircraft by suppliers Thales and ViaSat. jetblue.com


Airlines need to bring passengers content they don't see on the ground that will entertain, inform and wow them Jovita Toh, ceo Encore Inflight


Wearable technology is getting onboard. Carnival Corporation has developed the Ocean Medallion, a device which pairs with the Ocean Compass, a personal digital concierge which makes reservations, provides info and supports F&B ordering. The medallion is part of a network of sensors using nearfield communication (NFC) and Bluetooth technologies. Beacon and sensor technology is also being used at airports to push products and help passengers navigate the terminal and airlines are using it to tag bags and supply flight info. carnivalcorp.com

Over 40 jurisdictions, including the European Union and Australia, now allow airline passengers to send texts and data during flights, according to the US Department of Transportation. Some 24 airlines, mostly in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, allow voice calls inflight although these are banned on flights in the US. The DOT has a proposal to allow voice calls if passengers are notified in advance but there is serious opposition to lifting the US ban, particularly among flight attendants. transportation.gov

INFLIGHT MOBILE USAGE ON THE UP Inflight connectivity provider AeroMobile reports growing usage of mobile devices to text, make calls and access the internet inflight. In 2016, call minutes doubled, mobile data was up 50% and text messaging up 5%. To use the service, customers switch on their phones, connect to the network and are billed by their own mobile operator. Aircraft equipped with the service now fly to 110 countries, with 40 million users to date. Over half the equipped airlines use the faster 3G service. aeromobile.net



trends update




 OFFER INFLIGHT WIFI, More than 70 airlines now

with 11 more adding wifi in the last year. Around 39% of available seat miles (ASM) worldwide now OFFER WIFI. Around 83% of ASM in the US now OFFER WIFI, up 8.7% on last year.

Of all airlines worldwide, Emirates, United and Lufthansa are the TOP 3 to offer wifi on long haul routes by ASM.

'BEST' QUALITY wifi (Routehappy's rating) was available on 7.2% of flights, up from 6% last year and rising.


Business insights specialist Mercator predicts big data developments in the coming year will increasingly help airlines tailor offers to customers in real-time. It says: "While airlines have always been excellent at obtaining data, they are just now getting good at using it to benefit themselves and the customer." It cites United Airlines' data-focused mantra: “Collect, detect, act” as industry leading. mercator.com



Technology research company, Smart Insights warns businesses Gartner, estimates there will be trying to sell product online to think 25 billion connected devices by twice before opting for a mobile first 2020. This will increasingly drive strategy. It quotes stats that show while innovations using the Internet of smartphone use is overwhelmingly popular for Things (IoT) - the connection of activities such as social media, messaging and physical objects via a network. catching up with news and gossip, the majority of The IoT is already helping consumers in western markets also have desktop airlines make passenger flights (and tablet) which they tend to use for more more efficient and safe, tracking detailed review and purchasing. Mobile customer luggage and catering conversion rates are much lower in retail, trolleys. Expect it to increasingly make with smartphone/desktop sales an impact on the passenger experience almost equal. too. gartner.com smartinsights.com



Futurists, analysts, and consultants in Frost & Sullivan’s Visionary Innovation Group are predicting an explosion in the use of augmented reality (AR) - the integration of digital information with the user's environment in real time. AR made its mark most obviously last year in the Pokémon GO mania. Now expect growth in off-the-shelf AR products and new capabilities as the experience of early adopters begins to filter through. WW2.frost.com

By 2020 mobile apps are forecast to generate around $189 BILLION IN REVENUES This year, download figures for MOBILE APPS are projected to reach 268,692 MILLION worldwide 3.8% of Apple Store app downloads were for TRAVEL APPS. Most downloads were GAMES at 24% and BUSINESS apps at 9.9%



content systems


content is king

An entertainment system is only as good as its content and providing that content is a job for specialists. Richard Williams speaks to four leading companies about how they bring tech systems to life.



content systems



Let’s get acquainted. What IFE content do you offer?

BF BARRY FLYNN: Inflight Dublin provides a turnkey IFE service to airlines. With over 30 years of industry experience, it is a rapidly growing digital media provider which customises and delivers movies, TV shows, audio, games, digital publications, retail and revenue generating services to suit any IFE hardware platform. We also offer a range of software solutions that enable airlines to deliver entertainment and information to passenger devices and our Everhub service is an innovative wireless solution that offers a streaming platform, and a range of exclusive revenue generating services. as ALEXIS STEINMAN: Global Eagle provides a rich portfolio of inflight entertainment, content, connectivity and digital media services. It delivers IFE content through seatback screens and directly to passengers’ own mobile devices. Content includes movies, live and recorded TV shows, music and games, as well as digital newspapers, books and magazines. We also offer options for advertising, duty-free shopping and food/drinks selections. our worldwide satellite network and ground infrastructure combine with curated content and patented technologies

such as Speednet to provide a unique quality of experience to passengers and multiple revenuegenerating streams. eg EMMA GUNN Spafax's core services include entertainment, content marketing and media sales but can be adapted depending on the client’s needs. We programme, license and deliver content to clients but also sell their ad inventory (print and digital) to third parties, driving revenue and brand loyalty. We also provide technical services including editing, subtitling, closed-captioning and encoding of feature films. jt JOVITA TOH: A content distributor, Encore Inflight sells content to airlines mostly via content service providers (CSP) such as Spafax, Global Eagle, Stellar, etc. It distributes movies and TV content in more than 30 languages.


How are apps and one-stop digital marketplaces changing the IFE content market?

Access to these will certainly enhance a passenger’s journey, blurring the lines between off-board and onboard digital activities, but only where and when a consistent and cost-effective connectivity service is available to airlines. For airlines without such access, pre-loaded servers delivering large volumes of media, inflight retail and services to in-seat and passenger devices are the cost-effective alternative. as Consumers increasingly expect instant access to content in their homes and on the move. The proliferation of high-speed wireless networks and online streaming services continues to feed their appetites for virtually unlimited choices. This is increasing demand for IFE in the air too. Passengers will expect the latest Hollywood blockbusters, popular TV shows and their favourite sports teams inflight. The challenge is how to deliver with the limited bandwidth available, especially on long- and


BARRY FLYNN CCo, Inflight Dublin

ALEXIS STEINMAN Senior vice president, Digital media Solutions, Global Eagle Entertainment


For all your content needs, we’ve got you covered!

EMMA GUNN Senior manager content acquisition, Spafax

JOVITA TOH CEo, Encore Inflight

www.inflightdublin.com 9

content systems



above: Store and forward models of consuming content from streaming services are increasing

medium-haul flights. It would be impractical and forbiddingly expensive to stream unlimited volumes of content to the aircraft. As an IFE provider, the key is ‘curation’ – creating the right mix of programming and putting it in front of the consumer in an intelligent and efficient way. eg From a market perspective, we’re definitely seeing an increase in the ‘store-and-forward’ model of consuming content from streaming services such as netflix and Amazon. Airlines represent great opportunities to convert new subscribers to these platforms and Spafax will be framing such agreements across a range of exciting content partnerships. From a product perspective, we’ve adapted to this trend with the launch of our ICon suite of digital products. our VoyAGE product, for example, is a lightweight downloadable IFE app that requires no onboard hardware. jt Content apps and one-stop digital marketplaces are providing a more efficient and larger platform for non-mainstream content to be presented to airlines. The ability to extract information on any content provides a larger selection for airlines and CSPs to evaluate for their monthly programming.

How can the traditional IFE content provider continue to add value?

BF by providing tailored, multi-channel media services, Inflight Dublin has become more than just a trusted IFE provider. We add value by offering innovative and flexible digital solutions that meet the ever-growing needs of our clients. as Consumers want a fresh menu of the latest movies and live TV programming. That means constantly negotiating with the studios to get the best deal for early-window releases. We’re adding the hottest new films to our inventory every week. Given the demographic and geographical considerations of a global marketplace, this means acquiring licensing rights to content that is regionally and culturally relevant to the airline’s passengers, offering new movies from bollywood to Hollywood. This year, we’re expanding our offering of live sporting events – including soccer, cricket, rugby, golf, basketball and tennis. eg The increase of passenger connectivity in the aircraft has opened up a world of possibilities for content service providers (CSPs). It will be key for traditional CSPs to adapt to the way passengers consume content on the ground and apply those trends to the aircraft cabin. At Spafax, we’re in a unique position to leverage these opportunities as we sit at the intersection of airlines, brands and passengers and have a deep understanding of their needs. jt Traditional IFE content service providers (such as Spafax and Global Eagle) will need to play a bigger role

media partners allow us to provide bespoke inflight entertainment. Great content, every day.

onboard entertainment & connectivity

content systems

in creative programming and curation. With so much content out there and available to most passengers on the ground, airlines need to bring to their passengers content they don't see on the ground, content that will inform, entertain and wow them, content that makes the airline stand apart from their peers – unique programming. This is how traditional IFE content service providers can continue to add value – curate.


How are onboard content demands and requirements changing?

BF Content and service diversity is a key requirement for many airlines. Passengers are always going to measure IFE quality through content volume but airlines which offer a balanced mix of traditional IFE content, popular online video channels and engaging travel services, across in-seat and mobile opportunities for our clients. It will be interesting to channels, will align themselves with today’s multisee how airlines choose to adapt when presented with tasking and infotainment-hungry passengers. as Every airline is unique – in its fleet composition, its new tech and functionality such as HDR, VR/AR, AI and region of operation and its passenger demographics, use of data and algorithms – all technologies that are and it’s necessary for IFE providers to have the already transforming the way we experience content. jt While airlines still want technology, content mix early window periods for and agility to meet all “The key is ‘curation’ – blockbusters, they are also needs. Fresh, popular IFE creating the right mix beginning to request alternative offerings can give an airline of programming and content to add to their mix. a competitive edge. So can While usage data currently the delivery mechanism. We putting it in front of the are constantly looking at consumer in an intelligent shows that the most popular content is the Hollywood better graphic user interface and efficient way” blockbusters, airlines are (GUI) techniques to provide aware that frequent and more modern, sleeker, easier Alexis steinman, gee savvy travellers are looking interfaces for browsing and out for alternative content such as international accessing the content inventory. eg We have seen a shift in demand for original digital festival award-winning gems not often accessible content and shows that appeal to a youth audience – on the ground. In the past, ensuring you have the unsurprising when you consider the monumental shift same blockbuster as everyone else seemed to be in digital consumption on the ground over the last enough; there is now the aspiration to have unique few years. Elsewhere, there has been more demand programming, to offer a little more, be a little for local titles with global appeal and we’ve seen different and a little earlier than the exciting brand partnerships create impressive content competitors.

Above: Airlines are increasingly looking for unique programming as a point of difference


content systems



above: Barriers to dynamic IFE experiences are disappearing as a truly connected entertainment experience becomes possible

What will this market look like in five years’ time?

BF The onboard IFE experience will most likely be a lot more synergised with the current off-board digital environment. The unwavering growth of digital devices in the consumer market and the continued uptake of inflight connectivity and wireless IFE mean airlines will be in touch with their passengers at every stage of their journey - booking, airport, inflight and destination. This will create service efficiencies and increased revenue generation opportunities. as It’s interesting that IFE has so far penetrated less than half of the fleet of approximately 24,000 passenger airliners. That will change rapidly as new aircraft join the fleet. In the meantime, Global Eagle offers a range of solutions that will enable airlines to offerings to include VIP lounges. deliver IFE content to their passengers’ mobile phones To a certain extent, the future is already here. Global or tablets on legacy aircraft Eagle, for instance, is offering a which are not equipped service that allows passengers with seatback screens. to log into a mobile app, which “It is a big melting pot; We will certainly see is tied into the airline’s ticketing in five years’ time the more personalisation of technology will merge and and reservation systems. IFE – whether on seatbacks, Passengers use it to preview ground and air will have mobile or through pairing – the IFE selections available similar access to content” with options for presenting and download their choices movies, TV shows, sporting before going to the airport. JOVitA tOH, enCORe inFligHt events, books, magazines The content then automatically and games on passengers’ activates in the airport lounge mobile devices in flight. We expect to see more and deactivates at the end of the flight. eg In future many of the barriers to a more dynamic international content IFE experience will disappear. A truly connected to meet the worldwide entertainment experience is now possible in many customer base. areas of the world with content updated in real or The demand for near real time. This allows airlines, content brands, live real-time TV advertisers and consumers to benefit from an offerings will grow, and experience much closer to that in the home. our job is passengers will expect to act as a facilitator between stakeholders to ensure to be able to watch the specific needs of the individual traveller are met. their favourite sports. jt It is a big melting pot; in five years’ time, the Wifi service will become technology will merge and ground and air will have commonplace. Airlines similar access to content.  will expand their IFE

For all your content needs, we’ve got you covered!


focus on



Rising star Based in China, Singapore and California, FTS is a new kid on the block as far as IFEC goes and is causing a stir with its cabin wifi system. Richard Williams discovers why


TS is on a roll. Last October it had equipped a China Southern Airlines B737-800 with its Cabin Wireless System and received CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) MDA (Modification Design Approval) certification. Within days it announced a further two airline customers had been secured, one in southeast Asia and one in North America. The company is also on track to receive FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) issues of respective STC (Supplemental Type Certification) in early 2017 which will pave the way for its expansion into international markets. MAKING CONNECTIONS The FTS Cabin Wireless Solution is designed and manufactured in-house. It features a high performance 2-MCU embedded file server, two wireless access points that support the latest 802.11ac standard and a 3G/4G cellular modem taking up to four sim cards. Passengers can connect to the onboard wireless network through their own devices and stream HD-quality video and audio, play games, read news, view flight maps and destination guides and shop and order food or drinks. Based on equipment

weighing just under 10kg – including the onboard server, modem and cabin Wireless Access Points (WAPs) – a single WAP can service up to 180 concurrent passenger streams, although typically two are used on a narrow body aircraft. Ben Fuller, director of marketing for the Americas, says: "Among our first customers is First Air based in Ottawa, Canada. We are initially installing on four of the airline's B737s and anticipating additional planes as the airline expands. FTS Asia is installing our system on Myanmar Airways too and we have a live system in China as well.” USER FRIENDLY The FTS system is fully certified and integrated onto the aircraft as this is felt


to enhance safety and cuts out the need for daily charging or servicing. Passengers can use it through a downloadable app or through a web-based portal onboard so they don’t have to download the app prior to the flight. A solid cloud back end allows big data capture. Fuller adds: “There is no daily provisioning or need to charge batteries or replace onboard units. Content can be updated from the ground through the 3G/4G wireless modem as well as transaction data and system updates. The flight attendants also have the ability during the flight to manage the system in terms of usage and what modules to activate if necessary.” fts.aero 


Onboard apps



at altitude Benjamin Coren takes a look at the growing range of onboard entertainment available via downloadable apps

Lufthansa LUFTHANSA’S companion app can be used on the airline's A350-900 aircraft. Passengers can make their onboard entertainment selections before leaving home up to six weeks in advance and then sync their playlist with the screen when onboard, using their own mobile device as a second screen. There is currently a choice of 100 movies, 200 TV programmes, audio, gaming and children’s channel options. 

Monarch MONARCH’S MPlayer app is free to download and for a charge of £3.99 customers can access a catalogue of TV programmes, movies and music. Free content includes magazines and destination/restaurant reviews. The app connects to onboard wifi and a media server enabling passengers to stream entertainment content. 

Singapore Airlines SINGAPORE AIRLINES' companion app enables customers to review the inflight video and audio content that will be available onboard, create a pre-selected favourites lists and control the seat-back IFE system. Developed for Singapore Airlines by MTT with Panasonic Avionics, the app links passenger devices to the aircraft’s IFE system using the inflight wifi to access to the airline’s KrisWorld system. The app enables the personal device to be used as a remote control with the system and additionally provides real-time information on the flight progress and flight path without interrupting content viewing. 




Onboard apps


Virgin America

WESTJET’S inflight entertainment and connectivity system, WestJet Connect allows users access to more than 650 hours of free streaming content to their personal electronic device. The free app can be downloaded prior to flying and the system is gradually being rolled out across the entire fleet. Content is refreshed on a monthly basis. Tablet rentals are also available on flights longer than three hours and 20 minutes. Additionally the app allows customers to connect to the internet onboard, and various time-constrained passes are available at different prices. 

VIRGIN AMERICA'S mobile app inludes flight booking, check-in and electronic boarding pass functions but also features curated Spotify music playlists for each city the carrier flies to. Gogo inflight wifi subscription service is available and ViaSat provide high-speed wifi onboard so passengers can stream from platforms such as Netflix to their personal devices. ViaSat also provides free LinkedIn Learning video learning content. 

Delta DELTA uses the Gogo Entertainment app, which is also used by United, American Airlines, Japan Airlines, Alaska Airlines and AeroMexico. Once the app is downloaded passengers can connect to the inflight Gogo network and stream entertainment direct to their personal devices. Gogo also provides inflight wifi on Delta flights with various payment plans available to access this service. 

Qantas THE QANTAS entertainment app allows passengers to access Q Streaming for movies, television programmes and music on their personal devices and is available the moment they step onboard. This on-demand entertainment is currently available to passengers' own devices on all two-class B717 and selected B737 aircraft. On A330-200 aircraft the system can be accessed using the airline's onboard iPads. Q Streaming is being continually rolled out on more of the fleet. Passengers can connect wirelessly to the streaming system. 



case study


Thinking big Delta Air Lines claims to be operating the world’s largest IFE-equipped fleet. Joe Kiely, md product and customer experience, tells Richard Williams why it's so key


elta has more than 1,000 aircraft offering Delta Studio via streaming through laptops, mobile devices and tablets, alongside over 450 aircraft equipped with seatback entertainment systems. It is also the only US airline to offer wifi on its entire long-haul international fleet, and operates one of the world’s largest wifi-equipped fleets, with more than 1,100 aircraft operating more than 3,500 connected flights every day. Explaining the commitment, Joe Kiely says: “Our customers tell us that staying connected and being entertained are among their top needs when they fly so we have been, and will continue to make significant investments in our IFEC – faster wifi, richer content – in order to be the airline of choice for our customers and lead our competitive set.” The Delta Studio offers more than 1,000 hours of entertainment, including up to 300 movies, 750 TV shows, 100 foreign film titles, 2,400 songs, 18 channels of live satellite TV on select aircraft and a selection of games, podcasts and audiobooks. The airline partners with Gogo to provide high-speed wifi, and Panasonic to supply the IFE technology. Later this year, when the Delta One Suite is introduced on Delta’s new A350 fleet, each will feature an 18-inch highresolution IFE monitor, the largest among US carriers. Delta Premium Select seats will have a 13.3-inch high resolution screen - among the largest in its class. CONTENT & CONNECTIVITY On the content side, Delta works with studios around the world to source


movies from Hollywood, Bollywood and now Nollywood. It also works with HBO and Showtime to show popular TV series, plus news services. Kiely says: “In the connectivity space, we’ve started equipping our domestic fleet with high-speed wifi that provides customers with the ability to surf and stream with speeds comparable to their home connection. Last year, we became the first US airline to offer completely free IFE on domestic US aircraft, adding to the already complimentary service on international flights. On the wifi side, we partner with Gogo, who provides 2Ku highspeed wifi connectivity for purchase onboard


or in advance for as little as $2. We intend to have this available fleetwide in 2018 allowing customers to use our wifi to work, surf, stream and play just like they can at home.” Delta predicts the future of connectivity onboard will closely mirror what’s happening on the ground. Passengers will demand ubiquitous, affordable and fast internet that works with all of their devices. Similarly, customers will demand an at-home experience from IFE, with highdefinition seatback systems that learn from their preferences to customise vast libraries of content to their exact tastes. delta.com  Pictured: Wired for sound, and vision, in Delta Premium cabin

Give your passengers what they crave Live and on-demand entertainment

‌from the comfort of their own devices

Premium content with global reach Ultra-fast internet service

To satisfy their craving, visit globaleagle.com

in conversation



Richard Williams learns the sky's the limit for Intelsat’s satellite ambition


ith a globalised network of around 50 satellites, Intelsat currently has 44% of the global aeronautical broadband market and 31% of the maritime sector. Its plans to launch seven new Epic HighThroughput satellites will energise the mobility connectivity sector further. Q. How much does it cost to launch a communications satellite? A. A lot! But the cost is secondary to quality. After all, what good is the satellite if you are unable to reach orbit safely and on time. That said, we work with a number of providers and cost varies greatly depending on the size of the satellite, the provider and the size of the rocket being used.

IntelsatOne Flex service provides another layer of flexibility for airlines with a global customer base. Q. How are Intelsat’s satellites distributed between the orbit profiles? A. Our satellites are geostationary (GEO), orbiting approximately 36,000km above the Earth, at the speed of the Earth's rotation. This is recognised as the orbit for high efficiency broadcast and the orbit with most resilience. Q. Which orbit profiles are of most use to the onboard mobility sector? A. There are benefits to each orbital profile. We believe the key is interoperability, which is why we invested in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) operator

The coverage and our ability to layer beam upon beam is what enables us to deliver high performance Q. How many satellites does Intelsat have in its network? A. We operate the world’s first globalised network with around 50 geostationary satellites – both traditional and Intelsat Epic – as well as a global fiber network and teleports. You can cover the entire world with just three satellites, so you can imagine the resilience and density of our coverage. The coverage and our ability to layer beam upon beam is what enables us to deliver high performance. Our


OneWeb. Both sides see the potential of having a fully interoperable Ku-band GEO/ LEO satellite network. By combining highly efficient GEO broadcast capabilities with high-elevation angle LEO solutions, we will have pole to pole coverage, better access to all user environments and the ability to deliver successfully in cities with skyscrapers. Q. What are the plans for the Epic High Throughput Satellites (HTS)?


A. We have seven Intelsat Epic satellites in our current plan. We are delivering on the promise of HTS today with Intelsat 29e and Intelsat 33e in orbit, and the balance of the satellites deployed between now and 2018. The flexibility of Intelsat Epic's open architecture and backwardcompatible design enables service providers to seamlessly transition to HTS services. Customers that have already integrated Intelsat EpicNG into their networks are experiencing up to 165% improvements in efficiency with their existing hardware. Using next-generation hardware, there are potential efficiency gains of 330%. Q. When will Intelsat achieve global coverage with its HTS network? A. The global footprint for Intelsat Epic will be complete in 2018 with the launch of Horizons 3e, which will bring HTS services to Asia Pacific. Q. Who are your key clients in the onboard mobility sector? A. We serve network operators and service providers, and market analysis suggests Intelsat’s current contracted capacity for commercial aeronautical broadband applications represents a 44% share of the current global aeronautical broadband market. Our leadership share in the maritime broadband sector is approximately 31%, with HTS services forecasted to have the most growth over the next decade. Among our customers in maritime are Global Eagle Entertainment,


in conversation

Speedcast and Marlink. Inflight entertainment and connectivity leaders include Gogo and Panasonic Avionics. Q. Does Intelsat provide both Ku- and Ka-band services? A. Our fleet includes services in C-, Kuand Ka-bands, although the vast majority of our commercially- and governmentoriented customers use services in the Cand Ku-bands. Our Intelsat Epic satellites also feature the most advanced digital

Industry forecasts show demand for broadband in the aircraft and maritime sectors is the fastestgrowing payload in the commercial sector today, providing unprecedented security and flexibility, with connectivity FROM any beam TO any beam.

PROFILE: Mark Richman

With a PhD in Engineering from Stanford and extensive experience in product line management and global business in diverse markets, including airline IFE systems, satellite global communication systems and mobility services for aeronautics and maritime, MarkRichman is well-qualified to direct Intelsat's strategy.

Q. How do you see the future? A. According to industry forecasts, the mobility opportunity – demand for broadband in the aircraft and maritime sectors – is the fastest-growing, but there are also opportunities in the enterprise, government and wireless infrastructure sectors. As the Internet of Things market develops, including new ground equipment such as electronically steerable antennas that will make it much easier to access satellites, we see a significant opportunity in connected car applications, where the need for secure connectivity and broadcast for software updates will give satellite an unmatched advantage. Our fleet is designed to service our customers, and we are positioned to address each of those segments, which have a potential incremental demand forecast of $3.3 billion by 2021. 


focus on



On the go Gogo has been in the news, enabling free wifi with JAL, and has a full order book of aircraft awaiting 2Ku installation. Richard Williams reviews the company’s progress


T'S been a busy year for Gogo. It has enabled JAL's free wifi on domestic flights and free messaging on Alaska Airlines. It has evolved its suite of products to cover everything from inflight wifi and entertainment to cabin and crew applications, and it has installed its technology on a growing number of commercial aircraft. John Wade, Gogo’s executive vp and coo, explains: “We currently have 16 commercial airline customers with more than 2,900 aircraft installed with a Gogo-enabled system. The bulk of these use our original ground network but will increasingly benefit from our global satellite network, including more than 100 aircraft installed with our nextgeneration satellite technology.” EXPANDING PORTFOLIO Gogo's services to airlines now include Gogo Vision for wireless IFE streamed to the passengers' own devices; Gogo TV delivering live television content to PEDs

time weather information for pilots and maintenance log books to follow. Gogo’s 2Ku satellite technology has been popular since its launch and according to Wade, it now has contracts to install 2Ku on 450 to 550 aircraft in

There is going to be a surge of connectivity in the future as the number of connected aircraft grows or seat-back system; and Gogo Messaging Pass which allows passengers to access WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, iMessage and other popular messaging services. For crew, the company has connected around 50,000 tablets, initially for realtime credit card processing but with real-


2017, rising to 1,200 by the end of 2018. Any system is only as good as the network that serves it and Gogo's primary satellite partners are Intelsat and SES. Wade says: “There is plenty of Ku bandwidth left to go around. Gogo has partnerships in place that include


high-throughput satellite capacity and low earth orbit (LEO) satellite capacity through OneWeb which will help ensure airlines are able to take advantage of advancements as they happen in space without touching their aircraft.” In terms of costs, Wade sees the industry moving to a multi-payer model with some airlines paying for the service wholesale (to create their own price or a free offer); some offering pay-to-use options, or alternatively a third-party entity offering the service. Looking ahead Wade is optimistic: “There is going to be a surge of connectivity in the future as the number of connected aircraft grows around the world and more airlines look to make decisions on connectivity.” 

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The Intelsat

Globalized Network High-speed connectivity in the skies. With the Intelsat Globalized Network, airline passengers and crew are guaranteed high-speed broad-band connectivity anywhere they fly – along busy air routes, over the ocean, from pole to pole. Increase aircraft efficiency, streamline operations and deploy value-added customer services that will not only improve the in-flight experience, but transform your business. The connected future has arrived.


Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

Onboard Entertainment & Connectivity March 2017  

Onboard Hospitality Magazine's Entertainment And Connectivity Supplement. This edition: Content is king • Trends • FTS • Travel Apps • Delta...

Onboard Entertainment & Connectivity March 2017  

Onboard Hospitality Magazine's Entertainment And Connectivity Supplement. This edition: Content is king • Trends • FTS • Travel Apps • Delta...