O C T O B E R / N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 6 | V O L . 2 3 , N O . 5 | w w w. p a x . i n t l . c o m
IFEC, INTERIORS & MRO
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lot is riding on this year’s APEX/ FTE/AIX event in Singapore. It is the first year in many that APEX is meeting outside North America. And in a location like Singapore, delegates devote considerable time and expense to making the trip. It is also the first time that two partner organizers, the Future Travel Experience and the Aircraft Interiors Team, have joined them. However, over the history of PAX International and its sister publications, the Lion City has become a stop that is well known and frequently visited and always worth the long trip. The International Flight Services Association has hosted two events over the years, one with the former International Travel Catering Association. Each year, staff from the company’s sister publication Asia Duty Free and Travel Retailing also make the trip for the annual Tax Free World Association Asia gathering. And each year, it is fair to say that the balmy Southeast Asian city has something new to see and something new to offer. “I think both Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines place customer experience at the epicentre of everything they do,” said Daniel Coleman Founder
of the Future Travel Experience, and the subject of this issue’s Industry Q and A on page 14. “And when you take that approach you won’t go too far wrong.” Over the next few years, there will be more customers to experience the city. Singapore is one of the hubs of a growing middle class in Asia that will one day push passenger movements over the 130 million mark per year, placing Changi Airport into the pantheon of travel hubs. SATS is readying for growth with additional airline catering production lines and automated equipment to quickly handle airline meal demand. SATS President and CEO Alex Hungate’s comments can be found on page 22. “Asia is, of course, an extremely exciting and fast-growing market and I think between us the overall event offer will be incredibly dynamic, comprehensive and diverse,” said Coleman. In few other places is that diversity so obvious as it is in Singapore. With a melting pot of religions and cultures, we hope that the conference rewards its visitors and the city beckons them back.
Rick Lundstrom Editor-in-Chief, PAX International
magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher or editor. October/ November 2016, Vol. 23, No. 5. Printed in Canada. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. © PAX International magazine
ISSN 1206-5714 Key title: Pax International
CORRECTION On page 38 of the September IFSA issue the person quoted from En Route International is incorrect. The individual that should have been quoted is: Michael O’Donnell, Head of Sales & NPD. In the same issue on page 40 – the image captions were accidentally transposed during production. These have since been changed to the digital version of the issue on the website, but are still showing incorrectly in the print version. PAX International apologizes for these errors and any confusion they have caused.
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Contents O C T O B E R / N O V E M E B E R 2 0 1 6 | V O L . 2 3 , N O . 5 | w w w. p a x . i n t l . c o m
14 TRACKING PASSENGER EXPERIENCE
Using a hybrid model for organizing events, the Future Travel Experience seeks to document and influence what future travelers will see and encounter while they are on the move. FTE Founder Daniel Coleman talks with PAX International
16 HAVING FUN, YET?
Virgin America nears its 10th year in operation with a new partner waiting in the wings and a number of cabin features found under the wings
22 SINGAPORE IN FOCUS
Airline services provider SATS is working a major expansion of its catering and ground handling operations as Changi Airport grows and evolves as an important Asian hub
WELLNESS IN THE CABIN 27 CABIN ZEN
With air travel experienced as stressful by many, two airlines are taking the initiative to help passengers unwind with wellness-oriented IFE offerings designed to help even the most nervous flyer rest and relax
30 THE SECURE PASSENGER EXPERIENCE
Onboard ancillary revenue is becoming more sophisticated and attractive to the consumer each year. Growing with it is the need for airlines and their suppliers to provide a secure home for credit card information and personal data
34 EXPANDING THE OFFERING
Industrial Neotex is introducing a new textile called Neo4Wall, adding to its portfolio of carpets and upholstery products for airlines
36 HEAR ALL ABOUT IT
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IFEC, INTERIORS & MRO
ON THE COVER: Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore. Photo courtesy of Marina Bay Sands
From larger noise-cancelling headsets to smaller compact earbuds, airlines are seeking headphone solutions that vary as much as the needs of their passengers
38 IMMERSED IN ENTERTAINMENT
Companies will be attending this year’s APEX Expo armed with the latest, lightest and most high-techiest of virtual reality products
42 WATCHING THE WINDOW
Blockbuster films are still form the backbone of AVOD systems, but with evolving technology, how will they be managed? Two companies give their views on the subject of early window releases for handheld passenger technology
CONNECTIVITY UPDATE APEX/FTE/AIX Singapore
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47 CHANGING THE FACE OF INFLIGHT INTERNET Gogo is set to unveil exciting new technology that will offer a ground-like internet performance, including the ability to stream videos, within the United States and Canada
49 MAKING CONNECTIONS
Three companies show how they are shaping the in-seat power sector, where developments are moving fast in response to airline and passenger demand
53 WINNING THE WINDY CITY
On its own for the first time in several years, the International Flight Services Association ended its 50th year and its 51st yearly gathering with two days of networking in America’s Heartland, but looking beyond
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Connectivity installations, top 1,000 in 2015 Inflight connectivity (IFC) equipment manufacturers and service providers are in line for a multi-billion-dollar windfall over the next 10 years according research from Valour Consultancy, released in in August. The market intelligence firm’s latest forecast calls for the installed base of connected aircraft to top 19,500 by 2025 – up from 5,233 at the end of 2015. The report — “The Future of In-Flight Connectivity” — shows net new installations broke past the 1,000 mark for the first time last year and the company predicts the milestone will continue to be breached in subsequent years. Report author, Craig Foster, says that despite the large number of installations that have taken place recently, penetration of IFEC into the global commercial fleet is still below 30% as of the end of this summer. “There are plenty of existing and on-order aircraft to be fitted with connectivity in different parts of the world – especially outside of North America. IFC service providers now have a combined backlog somewhere in the region of 4,500 aircraft and that’s without taking into account the huge interest
we are sure to see in the forthcoming European Aviation Network,” said Foster. He adds there is a growing opportunity to replace aging components on already equipped aircraft. “The first installations were carried out eight or nine years ago and in that time, technology has progressed massively. We’re now seeing service providers introduce improved modems, wireless access points, servers and of course, antennas, that will reduce so-called choke points in the cabin and maximize the increased bandwidth coming from new high capacity satellites and future air-to-ground networks. Airlines are all too keen to take advantage of any solution that can offer the on-ground experience their passengers demand.” The report also zeros in on operational efficiencies that can be achieved with IFEC with the results of an airline survey showing increased awareness of connected aircraft applications. “Cost saving opportunities are beginning to resonate with operators keen to implement a wider e-Enablement strategy” Foster concluded.
Chart 1 Global Total Number of Aircraft with Inflight Connectivity Systems Installed Installed Based - 2015 v 2025 25,000
Source: Valour Consultancy
Panasonic Avionics partners with Plug and Play Tech Center Plug and Play announced at the end of August collaboration with Panasonic Avionics Corporation that will help select the most promising startups working on the next generation of travel and hospitality products and services. Using Panasonic Avionic’s travel experience, Plug and Play will accept 20 to 30 startups in each of its two Travel and Hospitality classes of 2016. Startups accepted into the three-month program will receive mentor opportunities with leaders in the travel and hospitality space across all verticals including hotels, airlines, online travel agencies, cruise lines, and global distribution systems. “At Panasonic Avionics, we are constantly looking for new ways in which we can improve the passenger experience,” said Chris Lundquist, Vice President of Corporate
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Strategy, Business Development and OEM Management at Panasonic Avionics in the August 30 announcement of the partnership. “Being part of this strategic venture with Plug and Play will help us quickly identify new opportunities to bring future innovations to the travel experience.” “Our mission is to source innovative technologies that will complement Panasonic Avionics’ existing products and services as they relate to IFE. Ultimately Panasonic’s market reach gives them a huge influence over the passenger experience on almost every commercial aircraft around the world. We hope to play a positive role in enhancing their offering and strengthening their position as a market leader in the IFE space.” said Amir Amidi, Managing Partner and Director of the Travel and Hospitality Vertical.
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Lufthansa Group A320s to get Ka-band technology Lufthansa Technik AG has begun installing the latest Ka-band satellite technology as standard equipment for the Lufthansa Group’s entire A320 aircraft family. Approximately 300 aircraft will be fitted with the antennae and routers in parallel in up to 10 production lines by spring 2018 at various Lufthansa Technik locations. “The engineers at Lufthansa Technik have optimized the system installation procedure and minimized the required intervention in the aircraft structure,” said September’s release from Lufthansa Technik. “This allows the fastest possible integration even in large fleets - generally in four days per layover. Subsequent modifications and even complete dismantling of the installation to cater for any future as yet unknown technology developments are feasible without costly replacement of large structural elements.”
Lufthansa Technik holds Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) for the A320 and the Airbus A340 for installing the system. It is planned to include the 737 family and the A330 in the short term in order to provide full support for customers in particular in the Asian market for equipping their fleets with broadband communication technology. With partners Inmarsat and Lufthansa Systems, the Kaband satellite technology will allow seamless, reliable coverage on short and medium-haul flights with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) Internet via WLAN. In addition to simple e-mail services, more demanding applications and even streaming will therefore also be possible. Moreover, at a later point in time passengers will be able to transfer data using their mobile phones based on their own mobile phone contract, assuming this feature is approved by the respective airline.
Antennas and routers will be outfitted on the A320 fleet between now and the spring of 2018
Thales launches FlytLIVE with satellite operator SES Thales will offer airlines FlytLIVE, inflight connectivity experience over the Americas starting in mid 2017 as a result of an agreement between the company and satellite operator SES. SES will procure a new satellite designed specifically for the needs of FlytLIVE and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space to be launched in 2020. The satellite’s architecture is based on Thales Alenia Space’s all-electric version of the Spacebus NEO platform, the highest performing satellite in the global connectivity market. FlytLIVE by Thales, connectivity solution for airlines that provides passengers with full Internet services including video streaming, games, social media and live television. Airlines can take advantage of Thales’s full end-to-end solutions including the modular antenna and multi-frequency radome, in-cabin Wi-Fi and portal platform. The offering also provides bandwidth and session management, content delivery, operational support tools, line maintenance and turnkey service and support with high Service Level Agreements. FlytLIVE services will use the SES unsurpassed connectivity network of Ka-band High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) services optimized for airlines seeking the best connection speeds. Thales InFlyt Experience, Thales Alenia Space and SES specifically developed the network and satellite architecture for the unique connectivity requirements of commercial aviation customers resulting in better services, more efficient operations and cost savings. SES will operate the satellites and the ground network. The services will be ready for airline and passenger use by summer 2017 and will be 8 | PAX INTERNATIONAL | OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016
provided by two satellites that are currently in-orbit. The third satellite in the network to be launched, SES-17, will be optimized for the fast-moving aviation and mobility market over the Americas. It will provide new Ka-HTS bandwidth to meet current and future speed, coverage and quality expectations of crowded skies and increasing passenger service demands as regional airline passenger traffic is forecasted to nearly double by 2030. The satellite will be equipped nearly 200 spot beams of mixed size for more flexible allocation of capacity over high-traffic airline routes and field-of-view beams to enable the most efficient delivery of Internet, live broadcast television and real-time content delivery. SES-17 will cover North America, South America, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. The network will provide substantial gains over today’s broadband connections, ensuring ultra-high speeds, capacity, coverage and quality. The collaboration between Thales and SES will be launched in 2020
SAS rolling out Wi-Fi on A320s SAS will be partnering with ViaSat, for onboard Wi-Fi on its new A320s and for retrofit of 70 existing cabins, the airline announced last month. The first aircraft with the refreshed cabin interior will be SAS’s A320neo. The 70 retrofits will take place between 2017 and mid-2019. With the ViaSat installation, SAS says it will offer Wi-Fi speeds of 12 Mbps and higher to each passenger. “Many of our customers are frequent fliers and we play an important part in the lives of many people. The upgrade we implemented on our long haul aircraft gained a very positive reception and we are now upgrading our short and medium haul fleet, which will also include high-speed WiFi with speeds that enable time on board to be utilized for work or to relax and enjoy a streamed movie or TV series. As both passengers and crew on board are now connected, we can take our personal service to greater heights while continuing to develop our digital, smart solutions that make life easier,” said Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of SAS. In addition to streaming, social media and traditional workplace applications cabin crew have been recently equipped with iPad Minis that will be connected to the Wi-Fi system. With new high-speed Wi-Fi capabilities SAS crew will be able to access flight and passenger information — before takeoff, during the flight and after the flight lands. This includes helping passengers check if their flight is on time to the status of connecting flights, check their EuroBonus account or even book a EuroBonus flight, shop in the EuroBonus store, rent a car, book a taxi to
meet them at the airport or supply feedback to SAS crew members. The first aircraft with the new Wi-Fi system will enter service in the second half of 2017. Onboard Wi-Fi will be free on short haul flights for all SAS EuroBonus members and SAS Plus ticket holders. “In working with SAS, we are making the internet accessible, fast and easy-to-use at 35,000 feet. Only by coupling the ViaSat end-to-end service platform with Eutelsat’s European satellite connectivity, can we enable airlines, like SAS, to offer a best-inclass onboard Wi-Fi service in Europe for free to EuroBonus-members and SAS Plus passengers,” says Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO, ViaSat. Onboard Wi-Fi will be free on short haul flights for all SAS EuroBonus members and SAS Plus ticket holders
Saudi Arabian to line-fit SKYfi from Kid-Systeme KID-Systeme’s SKYfi Club — a wireless streaming onboard platform for passenger and corporate aircraft — has been selected by Saudi Arabian Airlines as line-fit on its fleet of 20 A330 and 30 A320s. The airline will present premium content streaming service under the brand SAUDIA SKYfi. SKYfi Club streams content to passengers’ personal electronic devices. Movies, e-books and magazines will be part of the content. The technology is based on the trusted ALNA (Airline Network Architecture) connectivity platform, which flies on more than 650 aircraft. The system provides a scalable and modular architecture adaptable to customer need. It enables a wide range of additional services such as GSM telephony, Internet access and data services. SKYfi can also Wireless, streaming content will be on 50 Saudi Arabian Airlines aircraft in a program call Saudia SKYfi
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be complemented by SKYpower, KID-Systeme’s inseat power and cabin power management system. “We are pleased to announce Saudia as our launch customer for SKYfi. This is a groundbreaking milestone and proof of success for KID-Systeme,” says Peter Schetschine, General Manager KID-Systeme GmbH this past summer’s announcement. “Equipped with an advanced inflight-mediatainment system, Saudia will underline their high technical standards and enrich passengers travel comfort and satisfaction with a unique and individual entertainment experience.” Saudi Arabian Airlines operates one of the largest aircraft fleets in the Middle East. First aircraft delivery to Saudia Arabian Airlines was set for mid-August. All aircraft will be line fit equipped with SKYfi™ lounge solution, starting with the A330. “Offering wireless content streaming is the next step paving the way to an improved inflight experience and satisfy passenger’s needs,” says Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser, Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines. “Therefore we are very excited to cooperate with KID-Systeme to enlarge our inflight entertainment selection. This opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the connected passenger on board.”
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Motschenbacher new CEO of Lufthansa Technik Malta Graduate industrial engineer Marcus Motschenbacher is the new CEO of Lufthansa Technik Malta. Motschenbacher replaces Stephan Drewes, who is now heading up the production network aircraft base maintenance for Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg. Motschenbacher was previously Director Network Sales and Customer Service for Lufthansa Technik AG in Hamburg The Aircraft Overhaul division at Lufthansa Technik is responsible for the overhaul and cabin modification of commercial customers’ Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The division has sites in Germany, Ireland, Malta, Hungary, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, and carries out more than 600 overhaul operations on the C-Check scale or higher every year. In winter, the busiest period for overhauls, the workforce of around 5,500 is at work on up to 40 overhaul lines.
digEcor appoints director for sales and marketing in Americas Jorge Mompo has joined the digEcor team as the new Director North, Latin America and Caribbean Sales. Mompo will be based in the America’s office in Springville, Utah and will be handling all sales and marketing activities in the Americas’ region. With more than 30 years in the aviation industry, Mompo began his aviation career in the areas of business aviation technical and support, later moving into IFE where he held diverse engineering and sales and marketing positions in companies including Sony Trans Com, Panasonic and Lumexis, serving mainly the Americas. “We are excited to welcome Jorge to the digEcor team and to Utah. Jorge’s appointment signifies our commitment to the airline customers in this region and to our extended team in The Americas where Jorge will provide great leadership,” said Paul Thorpe, digEcor’s Vice President Global Sales.
GuestLogix Inc. has a new CEO Guestlogix announced recently that Mike Abramsky will be the company’s new CEO. Abramsky held leadership positions at Argus Software, Delrina Corp, Xerox and other organizations. He was also Managing Director for RBC Capital Markets. “This is a very exciting time for GuestLogix,” said Abramsky. “With a solid and engaged team, and many of the largest and most diverse set of airline and travel partners as loyal customers – along with the most comprehensive onboard retail solution in the industry – GuestLogix remains the global leader in the in-flight ancillary revenue space.” Under Abramsky’s leadership, GuestLogix plans to continue to bring to market innovative, value-added solutions that power the travel industry’s most popular onboard retail offerings – whether in use by thousands of Flight Attendants or via self-service systems such as in-flight entertainment seat back screens and onboard streaming solutions.
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Wade named EVP and COO at Gogo Gogo announced in late August that it has promoted John Wade to the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Wade has more than 30 years of experience in the aviation industry. For the past eight years, he has served as the John Wade general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division where he built the division into a market leader. Before joining Gogo, John served as the CTO at OnAir and also worked at Tenzing and GEC Marconi on their IFE and IFC products. Wade will be responsible for Gogo’s operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales. He will maintain oversight over Gogo’s business aviation division, but Gogo veteran Sergio Aguirre is being promoted to serve as Senior Vice President and general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division.
Industry bids Happy Trails to Chef Bob Rosar Gate Gourmet Senior Executive Chef Bob Rosar ended 40 plus years as an educator, a mentor, and a champion of culinary innovation and excellence, with retirement on September. He started with Marriott Corp.’s Inflite Services, shortly before joining Gate Gourmet in 1996 – he is well known and well respected in the industry. Chef Bob Rosar “For 40 years, he has creatively kept us smiling,” said an announcement from Gate Gourmet. “He once planted a couple of chefs in the audience of a culinary demonstration he was hosting and had them later jump on stage with mini fire extinguishers, just for a laugh. Another time, as the emcee for IFSA’s culinary competition, he had competing chefs walk a red carpet and sign glossy 8x10 photos for their ‘adoring fans’ in the audience. The list goes on.” As Corporate Executive Chef at Gate Gourmet for many years, Chef Bob was responsible for menu design across North America. Most recently, he channeled energy into American Airlines as Senior Executive Chef for that account. To bid adios to his friends and colleagues, Chef Bob hosted a barbecue on his Texas ranch where he plans to spend his days looking back on his career, spending time with family and tending to livestock and parrots. More than 100 people had one final chance to taste Chef Bob Rosar’s cooking at his retirement party in Texas
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Tracking passenger experience
Daniel Coleman, Founder, Future Travel Experience
Using a hybrid model for organizing events, the Future Travel Experience seeks to document and influence what future travelers will see and encounter while they are on the move
he Future Travel Experience is into its second decade of existence and is riding the crest of the fast moving efforts by airlines and airports to change the way people move from one part of the world to another. This year, in Singapore, the group’s FTE Asia event will be held for the first time alongside the Airline Passenger Experience Association and Aircraft Interiors Asia. To update those who may be encounter FTE for the first time, PAX International spoke with its founder, Daniel Coleman for this issue’s Industry Q and A. PAX International: Can you tell us a bit about the organization and history of Future Travel Experience? Daniel Coleman: Future Travel Experience (FTE) was established in 2006 and is an independent events and online media business dedicated to improving the endto-end passenger experience. Having started with a standalone show in North America, FTE now hosts four annual events around the world – FTE Global, FTE Asia EXPO, FTE Europe and FTE Ancillary. Every FTE event includes ‘Up in the Air’ and ‘On the Ground’ conference streams, an exhibition of the latest solutions and services, and a unique social and networking agenda. The ‘Up in the Air’ stream is all about the in-flight experience, covering key topics including the future of IFE, connectivity, cabin design, passenger and crew empowerment, and personalisation. The ‘On the Ground’ stream explores how new and emerging technologies
can be used to optimise operations and enhance the passenger experience at every passenger touch-point on the ground, and the ‘Terminal Design and Delivery Summit’ was recently launched to help those designing the terminals of the future get customer experiences right. The new FTE Ancillary event will empower the airline sector to profit from collaborative digital retailing opportunities at every step of the journey. PAX: For those attending for the first time, what can they expect to find at a Future Travel Experience event? Coleman: Our shows are at the heart of our efforts and each one takes a completely different approach to other events in the marketplace, which are often accused of simply doing the same thing year after year.
Networking, learning and a desire to shape the travel experience can be found on the trade floor and sessions at FTE
14 | PAX INTERNATIONAL | OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016
FTE events are based on a hybrid model, combining inspirational learning, extensive networking, dynamic exhibitors and collaboration opportunities to help shape the future of the sector. We always take a forward thinking, industry change mind set to create an offer that really appeals to airlines and other stakeholders. PAX: How did it come to pass that you were able to team up with APEX and Aircraft Interiors Asia? Coleman: It all started just over a year ago. On his first day in his role as the CEO of APEX, Joe Leader called me and suggested that we work together, as it was clear to him that we are truly passionate about enhancing the passenger experience and driving industry change, which are his core goals too. I agreed and he made his first speech
as APEX CEO at FTE Global just days later. From there we agreed to co-locate their APEX Asia regional conference with FTE Asia EXPO 2015 in Singapore. The co-location for this year’s event was agreed soon after, with AIX brought into the fold, too. It has been great to work together and the decision to colocate represents a closer collaboration that benefits the industry as a whole. Asia is, of course, an extremely exciting and fast-growing market and I think between us the overall event offer will be incredibly dynamic, comprehensive and diverse. It will give airline executives, and industry providers from across the continent and beyond, so many good reasons to get on a plane to Singapore. I think to have a gathering of such scale for the region with a core focus on enhancing passenger experiences is very powerful. We look forward to carrying this momentum forward as APEX and Aircraft Interiors head back to the U.S. in 2017, while we continue to build FTE Asia EXPO at the Marina Bay Sands in 2017 and 2018, making it the home of Asia’s biggest passenger experience expo going forward. PAX: What are the FTE Awards and what activities do they recognize? Coleman: The FTE Asia Awards build on the popularity of our long established FTE Global Awards. A total of 14 airlines and airports from across Asia-Pacific will be rewarded by region for their customer experience achievements. The awards will be presented to the winners in the presence
of their industry peers at FTE Asia EXPO. The ceremony, which is free to attend, will take place on the EXPO Seminar Stage on the evening of Tuesday 25 October. PA X : Your organization seems to concentrate heavily on the experience in the airport. What are some of the trends and demands that are shaping the airport experience? Coleman: We started off more focused on the airport experience, but we value every part of the travel experience equally and our portfolio certainly reflects that now, with a major focus on in-flight experiences. In answer to your question, I would say that in the past the only way to deal with passenger growth was by building new airport terminals, which is very expensive. Thanks to technological developments, facilities can now be used much more efficiently and major efforts are being made to move airport processes such as check-in and bag drop away from the airport terminal. PAX: In a general sense, how well do you think airlines and airports cooperate to improve and guide the passenger experience? Any examples of a way such cooperation has been successful? Coleman: I think in the past there has been too much of an “us and them” mind set, but there is a growing acceptance now that nobody “owns” the passenger. The bigger threat perhaps comes from the likes of Google and Apple, who could take control of the relationship with the passenger. This development has helped to drive more cus-
Winners of last year’s FTE Awards event
tomer-focused thinking and collaboration, which are helping to deliver innovations that create real added value for passengers. One of the best examples of this that I’ve seen is a data sharing effort led by Gatwick Airport, which has enabled easyJet to do some really cool things through its app, such as providing personalised and real-time information to help passengers as they move through the airport. PAX: In the past year what has been some of the most interesting trends that are taking shape in the travel experience? Coleman: Augmented reality, the Internet of Things and biometrics have been steadily gaining traction, but artificial intelligence is coming online very fast now. I know many airlines were already looking at this, but the recent announcements by the likes of Microsoft and Facebook in this space are sure to accelerate their interest. Digital assistants on mobile devices are the future, and AI will power this. PAX: This location seems to be at the cutting edge of the travel experience: an amazing airport and a world-class airline. What do you think Singapore has done right to give it the reputation it has? Coleman: I think both Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines place customer experience at the epicentre of everything they do, and when you take that approach you won’t go too far wrong. As an industry overall, there is perhaps a bit too much of a focus on aircraft turnarounds, rather than how to provide the passenger – who is the whole reason this industry exists – with a more comfortable and seamless experience. Singapore is a definite exception, and while they invest heavily in technology and product, both of them, including the partners they choose to work with, put the human touch at the centre of their service delivery. This is a wise strategy because staff members are the most important factor when it comes to delivering a memorable customer experience. PAX: As a frequent traveller yourself, what are some of the steps you take from home to the aircraft to improve your travel experience? Coleman: Headphones – they are the most effective way to get yourself into your own world, and minimise any unwanted distractions from those sitting around you!
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 15
AIRLINE PROFILE after certification, much of the world was plunged into recession further trying Virgin America’s, and the commercial aviation industry’s resilience. Still, the airline weathered the hard times, and last year carried more than 7 million passengers, an 8.1% increase from 2014. Through August of this year Virgin America has carried more than 5.3 million passengers, which is a 16% increase from the first eight months of last year. The Red system, then an industry innovation, was still in the learning curve stage eight years ago with food service being tracked closely to reduce wastage. But the fun philosophy that started the airline was there, nonetheless. Victoria’s Secret models took to the cabin to show the latest in pajama fashions and Wednesday evening flights to Las Vegas were mood lit with complementary drinks as singles chatted through text message on Red’s screens. A year later, Virgin America became the first, and today still the only U.S. airline to offer Wi-Fi fleet wide, with Internet surfing supported by power outlets in every seat for what Harris called, “a host of tech-forward flyers.” “We have received lots of positive feedback from our frequent fliers who love the service and are using it to stream contend to their devices in addition to using the seatback IFE as well,” he added. Few people in the world are more “tech-forward” than subscribers to Netflix. With the new ViaSat satellitebased Wi-Fi service, binge viewers of the subscriber entertainment platform can make use of their personal electronic devices to stream hit series’ like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. While the 10 aircraft are performing well, Virgin America is on the verge of adding the ViaSat service on its mainland service to Hawaii. This fall, Wi-Fi service was in beta testing in anticipation on the Panasonic system. Virgin America’s demands were unique when the service was first launched, said Don Buchman ViaSat’s director of mobile broadband. With both a streaming Wi-Fi service and a live television feature, the airline wanted to be able to receive the data for both operations separately onto a single antenna, which ViaSat installed on the A320s. The airline started its first routes to Hawaii with flights from San Francisco to Honolulu in November of last year.
The islands were a natural choice as the destination was the number one spot in demand from the West Coast and among the airline’s Elevate loyalty program. At the launch, Virgin America offered the three-class service with touch-screen personal entertainment and on-demand food and cocktails. More destinations in Hawaii were added and in February, Virgin America launched service to the islands from Los Angeles. By the end of this year, Harris said the airline will be able to launch Wi-Fi service over the Pacific with a combination of Ku and Ka band satellite hybrid service that was certified by the FAA in April of this year. It has been said that the backbone to any inflight entertainment is the audio, and Virgin America has given its passengers access to Spotify, a streaming music service with a catalog of 30 million songs. To help passengers make their selections the airline has curated a group of city/destination inspired playlists that can include selections with titles like Empire State of Mind for New York and “Welcome to the Windy City” for Chicago. Rounding out the entertainment offering on Red is a platform of touch-screen television that includes a selection of more than 25 movies, live television, Google maps, video games and a 3,000-library. A Poached egg breakfast served in First Class
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Healthy fare at the touch of a button
Virgin America is proud of its selection and choice of partners for its inflight food service that can be ordered directly off of Red in the Economy Class cabin. One of the newest features can be found on the aforementioned flights to Hawaii, where the airlines had developed a line of specialty cocktails that include a POG (Passion-Orange-Guava) mimosa that is served in First Class, and rum cocktail named after Makena beach on the island of Maui. Virgin America is teaming the drinks in First Class with a Hawaiian inspired meal selection that adds a mango-radicchio Caprese salad appetizer, Calamansi chicken entrée and Roseelani Pauwela Sunrise Ice Cream dessert that resembles a Dreamsicle ice cream bar with pineapple chunks grown in Maui. Other improvements were added to the first class menu last summer. Virgin America launched its partnership with grocer Dean & Deluca bringing aboard a selection of products that includes caramel popcorn, a Cajun snack mix, raw almonds and gummi bears. Popcorn is also available in the main cabin in a sea salt and vanilla bean flavor from a company called 479. Rounding out the snack selection in the main cabin are several brand names well known to people in the Bay area: Hail Merry brownie bites,
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One of Virgin America’s longtime partners for complimentary snacks is Dean & Deluca
Duke’s Original Shorty Smoked Sausages and Daily Crave vegetable chips. Over-caffeinated San Francisco urbanites can appreciate the airlines selection of Philz Coffee. “Philz has cultivated a committed following due the their unique, fresh way of serving coffee,” said a release from the airline. “Currently, Virgin America serves the company’s Tesora blend — a brew that Phil himself refers to as his ‘first true love.’” Since no airline in the United States can have aircraft leave the runway without at least one craft beer to offer, Virgin America has picked another San Francisco name, Anchor Steam for its inflight beer selection. Virgin America updates its menus quarterly and concentrates on a selection made with sustainable and fresh ingredients and local fruits and vegetables. The current selection in the airline’s main cabin available for purchase on the Red system includes: Vegetable wrap with arugula lettuce, roasted golden beets, red quinoa, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese crumbles and a carrot sriracha hummus all wrapped in a cucumber tortilla and served with fruit salad; a cheese
plate with white cheddar, muenster and camembert cheeses, served along green grapes, fresh gala apple slices and gluten-free sea salt and olive oil crackers; a protein plate that includes a cage- free hard-boiled egg, brie, mild cheddar and muenster cheeses, sliced turkey breast, red grape tomatoes, green grapes, carrots, celery, cucumber and wheat mini pita rounds with edamame hummus. Rounding out the selection is a Jetset Kids Pack Musselman’s apple-
sauce, Old Wisconsin’s turkey snack stick, Yum Earth Fruit Snacks and Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar. With the Alaska Airlines merger expected to clear in the near future, there seems to be little uncertainty that the two partners will forge ahead on the west coast of the United States and maintain a stronger operating structure, while maintaining distinctive personalities that made each carrier a wellknown brand in commercial aviation. “Of course, the point isn’t to just get a look our aircraft — the campaign is about transparency and to showcase the consistency of our product and service,” said Abby Lunardini, Vice President of Brand Marketing and Communications at Virgin America. “Most airlines promote new products and services that may in reality only be available on a small portion of their fleet so travelers may see a flashy looking product in an advertisement, only to board their flight from Newark to California and discover they’re now stuck eating peanuts and staring at an antiquated cloth seatback and overhead CRT television for the next five and a half hours.”
Healthy, sustainable fare is found for sale on the ordering system on Red
Regulatory review continues in Virgin/Alaska merger At around the time of last year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines agreed to a merger deal that set in motion a process that continued, but was not concluded as PAX International went to press. At the end of September, the airlines announced that they had agreed to a further review that would not complete the acquisition of Virgin America by Alaska Airlines before October 17, “unless the Department of Justice provides written concurrence to close within a shorter period,” said a release from Virgin America.
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The two airlines stated that they are confident that they will be able to address any concerns and obtain regulatory approval to complete what they called a “pro-competition, pro-consumer transaction.” With the two carriers operating together, the goal of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America will be to provide lower fares and another airline that can compete with four dominate airlines in the United States: American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines.
SATS grows with
A burgeoning middle class of travelers and an airport primed for expansion is part of the stage of this year’s APEX/FTE/AIX Expo, and the facility’s support companies are prime examples
A an automated cutlery sorting and packing machine at the SATS kitchen
by RICK LUNDSTROM
ingapore, the city that seems to be in a constant state of growing and evolution, is on verge of another chapter in its story; the largest airport support company is getting prepared. SATS, which has divested itself from the republic’s flag carrier, has been moving in new directions, particularly in the food service end of its operation. Over the years, the company’s Food
Alex Hungate, President and CEO of SATS
Solutions group has branched out into institutional and remote catering, adding cruise port management and foodservice supply to the Singapore military. However, the latest expansion is bringing it back the company’s roots. On August 1, SATS announced that it would be spending and estimated SGD18 million (US$13.2 million) on automated processes and an expansion that would increase the airline catering capacity at Changi International Airport to 115,000 meals per day. The investment includes a new production line and a host of new equipment. Among the new equipment planned for the SATS SICC2 catering unit will be automated sauce and ingredient dispensers. Robotic wok paddles will speed up soup, sauce and rice production. The new equipment is expected to improve taste and consistency and cut back on the amount of labor-intensive processes. The new production line at SATS will expand SICC2 by 5,000 square meters, bringing the total unit size to 60,000 square meters. The unit expansion will be completed in the second quarter of next year. The move is designed to meet demand of an affluent Asia, much of it in Singapore’s back yard, said SATS President and CEO Alex Hungate. “The middle class population is growing, and reports show that by 2020, Asia
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Pacific will form 75% of the population growth in the global middle class,” Hungate tells PAX International. “More than two-thirds of this increase will come from China, India and Indonesia.” It will be the first major expansion at SATS’ catering operations since 2011 when SATS expanded its inbound and tray assembly areas at its SICC1 unit. After improvements, SATS had in place a system to handle the transport of clean carts to the assembly area through the installation of a conveyor cart washer and transporter. “On our Gateway Services’ side, we have already announced the construction of the SATS eCommerce AirHub which is underway,” said Hungate. “When completed, it will enhance operational efficiency, including shorter cycle and connection times, and increase productivity by more than 30%.” At 115,000 meals per day, Hungate said the expansion should be sufficient to handle the additional volume created by the opening of Changi Airport Terminal 4, which is set for next year. With the additional gate and concourse space set to open in the second half of 2017, Changi’s passenger handling capacity will increase to 82 million per year. Plans are already moving ahead for a Terminal 5 near the new third runway that is now planned and tendered. Once that is completed, the
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SATS plans to automate many manual tasks, freeing up employees for other jobs
The AISATS Coolport in Bengaluru was developed to meet the needs of pharmaceutical products and other goods requiring cold storage
airport’s passenger handling ability will expand to 135 million per year. Three trends are driving the aggressive growth track for SATS, said Hungate: the increase in the Asian middle class and thus, more travelers, demand for high-quality safe food and the growth of e-commerce. Recently, SATS formed a catering joint venture with Brahim’s Berhad in Malaysia to supply airline and institutional catering. SATS has also acquired a 20% share of Purantara Mitra Angkasa Dua, the inflight-catering subsidiary of PT Cardig Aero Services in Indonesia. Other activities outside the airlinecatering sector include a joint venture agreement with Oman Air for cargo handling service at Muscat International Airport. SATS was also awarded a license to handle cargo in Saudi Arabia. Two other projects are tapping SATS experience in assembly and food service. Singapore’s national postal agency SingPost has tapped the company to build an automated mail sorting facility that will be called the SATS eCommerce AirHub. The other is the opening of the company’s second “Coolport” this one at Kemegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. The Coolport meets an increasing demand for temperature sensitive cargo, among them pharmaceuticals and perishables. Bengaluru has seen a steady increase in perishable cargo volume, said Hungate, with demand growing 15% in recent years. “These activities will help SATS to build connected corridors across Asia and the Middle East,” said Hungate. “We are able to provide our aviation clients the benefit of seamless connectivity and value-added services through our network.”
dnata adds customers and capabilities at SIN Changi Airport has two airline catering and ground services providers, and in September, Dubai-based dnata announced that it had been awarded a multi-year contract with Malaysia Airlines and its subsidiary, Firefly to handle ground services that include passenger, ramp and cargo handling. The company has been a catering supplier for Malaysia at SIN since 1996. Other dnata investments at SIN are for its operations in the airport terminal. The company recently invested nearly SGD$2 million (US$1.5 million) in a new Terminal 1 transit lounge, featuring a Pan-
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Asian themed lounge space that can house more than 200 passengers. There, baristas serving up freshly brewed Hudson coffee in a lounge equipped WI-FI and international power sockets. “dnata Singapore is always on the look-out for growth and expansion opportunities in the Singapore market and Asia,” said the company. “While operating in a highly competitive market, we still see positive growth opportunities in Singapore as airlines continue to see dnata as a differentiated service partner offering superior customer service and safety performance at Changi Airport.”
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Delivering IFE innovation to aviation standards
Duty Free operator highlights whiskey at Changi T2
ing tailored tastings from the brands inside the boutiques. Richard Gilliam, International Brand Ambassador In September, the duty free operator DFS invited customers to its for Bruichladdich Single Malt Scotch Whisky, demonT2 Wines and Spirits Duplex at Changi Airport to learn more about strated the versatility of the company’s products. He also its wide-ranging whiskey offering as part of its Whiskey Festival. talked about the benefits of being at the new duplex. A series of brand ambassadors enticed shoppers into the “For us it is a great opportunity to have a showcase in the store with whiskey master classes. largest DFS arena in the region, amongst the leading global In addition to the Whiskey House, the upper level hosted brands and offer an unconventional and alternative choice,” seven individually branded boutiques from Glenfiddich, GlenGilliam told PAX International’s sister publication, Asia Duty livet, Hennessy, Johnnie Walker, Remy Martin, The Dalmore Free and Travel Retailing magazine. “With our appearance we and The Macallan. Throughout the year, there will be visits by will really stand out from the usual suspects on the shelf. Also master distillers, blenders and brand ambassadors conductwith our unique whisky production methods and approach conveyed to the retail visitors by the educated and highly knowledgeable staff, we hope to see a significant boost in sales based on our whiskey manifesto.” Also at the event was Brooke Supernaw, Senior Vice President, Wine and Tobacco at DFS Group who added: “Particularly exciting for travelers visiting the DFS duplex at Terminal 2 is the experiential approach we’ve taken to shopping for whiskey. At The Whiskey House, located on the second floor of the duplex, guests have an opportunity to discover rare and exclusive-to-DFS whiskies and enjoy a complimentary tasting. We are offering tasting of over 100 whiskies. The Whiskey House bartenders are all certified Whiskey Ambassadors, which allows them to easAll things whiskey was highlighted at Changi’s ily design a tasting experience for customers tailored Terminal 2 last month to their palette and level of whiskey knowledge.
Runway expansion continues at SIN Changi Airport Group announced at the end of September the award of an S$1.107 billion (US$810 million) contract to a joint venture formed by Hock Lian Seng Infrastructure and Sembcorp Design and Construction for a second package of work relating to the development of a three-runway system at Singapore Changi Airport. As part of Changi Airport’s capacity expansion plans, several projects will be undertaken for a three-runway system at the airport by the early 2020s. They include pavement works, drainage works, mechanical and electrical works, security fencing, perimeter roads, ancillary buildings, as well as other supporting works such as services and road diversions.
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The first package of projects for the three-runway system were awarded in October 2015. They covered the proposed Runway 3 extension and its vicinity and are underway. Two runways currently serve Changi Airport’s terminals. As part of the airport’s development plans, CAG is expanding both Changi’s terminal capacity — through the building of Terminals 4 and 5, and the expansion of Terminal 1 — as well as its runway and airfield capacity through the development of the three-runway system. A third runway previously used by the military, is being extended to handle larger aircraft and connected to the rest of Changi Airport through a network of supporting taxiways. The extension of the runway, together with the new taxiway system, will be 40 kilometers long. Supporting infrastructure and systems will also be built to support three-runway operations. “The development of a three-runway system is an important part of Changi Airport’s expansion plans which will take the Singapore air hub into its next phase of growth,” said Yam Kum Weng, CAG’s Executive Vice President, Development. “The project, which takes place amid ongoing airport operations, is complex and requires meticulous planning and excellent execution across different phases. We look forward to partnering the Hock Lian Seng and Sembcorp Design and Construction JV in this journey, as we work together to ensure the highest quality and standards in carrying out this project.”
WELLNESS IN THE CABIN
With air travel experienced as stressful by many, two airlines are taking the initiative to help passengers unwind with wellness-oriented IFE offerings designed to help even the most nervous flyer rest and relax by
raveling can be one of the most stressful experiences for some, if not many, travelers. From the chaos that is airport security, with its long queues and intimidating customs procedures, to the fear of flying that accompanies a considerable number of passengers boarding an aircraft, to the post-flight unease experienced at the baggage carousel, where travelers anxiously await their luggage in hopes it has made that tight connection, traveling can be taxing. Luckily, some airlines have decided to take measures to reduce the level of anxiety many passengers experience. For these airlines, just because travelers are 30,000 feet in the air, is not to say the opportunity for its customers to temporarily unwind is out of reach. As part of its health and wellness initiatives, British Airways offers tips on its website to help passengers ease their way through their journey, from tips on preparing before the flight, to sleep and exercise tips and even how to unwind after landing. In its cabins, by way of its IFE programming, the airline offers passengers a wellbeing video, designed to help them unwind while in the air. “Our current wellbeing video has been onboard since 2013, and features beautiful countryside scenery, soothing music, and demonstrations of unique, health-focused exercises designed to enhance our customer’s experience onboard with us,” says Richard D’Cruze,
Inflight Entertainment & Technology Manager for British Airways. “It’s available in all cabins, on-demand at any point in the customer’s journey on our long-haul aircraft. The wellbeing video itself has been on board BA flights since the 1990s.” In addition to the video, British Airways also offers passengers wellbeing audio programming, featuring a wide range of content that complements the airline’s wellbeing video and onboard exercise program. “Our exclusive British Airways Wellbeing Show focuses on a range of subjects including long-haul travel advice regarding deep vein thrombosis (DVT), combatting jet lag, visual meditations, deep-breathing exercises and more,” explains D’Cruze. Both the video and audio programming have been available to British Airways customers since February 2012 on all longhaul inflight entertainment systems. As part of its wellbeing audio programming category, British Airways features a series by Anna Rowe that offers several sessions, including: How to Relax on Long Haul Flights, Sleep Better on Long Haul Flights, Sleeping for Children on Long Haul Flights and Sleep.... for Babies. In addition, the programming features a collection of wellbeing music CDs, natural sounds (including Dolphins and Whales, English Country Dawn Sounds, Forest Raindrops, Ocean Sounds and more), as well as a bespoke program called, “Flying with Confi-
British Airways’ current wellbeing video has been onboard since 2013, and features beautiful countryside scenery, soothing music, and demonstrations of unique, health-focused exercises
dence”, designed to help nervous flyers. With the passenger experience top of mind, British Airways understands the importance of having such wellness-oriented resources available to its customers, which is why the video and audio programs were designed to be used either together, or separately, depending on the passenger’s specific needs. “We know that the wellbeing video is popular with customers, and has been an integral part of the British Airways onboard experience for years,” adds D’Cruze. Earlier this year, British Airways announced a partnership with Headspace, a course of guided meditation, delivered via an app or online that has been labelled, “a gym membership for the mind.” This partnership will see the airline feature some of the app’s meditation videos via a bespoke Headspace Channel, tailored specifically for air passengers.
Another wellness app called OMG. I Can Meditate! has found its way onboard with Delta Air Lines. At the end of last year, in the midst of the busy, heavy-travel holiday season, the Atlanta-based airline set a goal to add more health and wellness content to its IFE offering for its customers. “With [the holidays] in mind, we emerged with an opportunity to give our customers a great tool to remind them to breathe, de-stress and reconwww.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 27
WELLNESS IN THE CABIN
Wellness app OMG. I Can Meditate! is offered on all of Delta Air Lines’ two-cabin aircraft, equipped with seatback entertainment systems or streaming inflight entertainment
nect,” says Stefan Talman, Manager of Onboard Entertainment and Wi-Fi. “OMG. offers something for everyone, and the app makes it even more simple.” Designed for people without a lot of time, the app has a progressive dayby-day approach that makes learning to meditate effortless and enjoyable. In addition to time-based guided meditation series, OMG. I Can Meditate! also offers specialty meditations for various complex situations that may arise, which can be done anywhere — even when seated on an aircraft. OMG. I Can Meditate! is offered on all two-cabin aircraft, equipped with seatback entertainment systems or streaming inflight entertainment, which covers 90% of Delta’s fleet. Like all Delta Studio content, OMG. I Can Meditate! is free for all passengers. In use now for just under a year, Talman says the app has received positive feedback from customers. “They enjoy the mindful break that OMG. provides,” he adds. “Our usage metrics support this.” Since having the app added to its IFE content roster, Delta Studio has amassed an impressive library of OMG. I Can Meditate! meditations, which include
seven sessions totaling 1 hour and 50 minutes. Curated to be short and engaging, the current list of the OMG. sessions available on Delta Studio includes: Attracting Abundance, Blanket of Love, Dealing with Anxiety, Finding Inner
Peace, Floating on a Cloud, Learn to Meditate (Part 1) and Peaceful Meadow. For Delta, having an app like OMG. I Can Meditate! available to its passengers, is an important step towards further enhancing the passenger experience on board its aircraft. With the many benefits offered to passengers just by having such a resource readily available on every flight, it does not seem like this enhancement is far off. “Delta has a great opportunity to make the travel experience more enriching, productive and relaxing every time a passenger engages with Delta Studio,” says Talman. “In this respect, giving people access to mindfulness content like OMG. is a thoughtful step in improving travel for all our passengers.” When it comes to additional wellnessrelated apps or IFE programming in the future, Delta plans — as always — to continue to listen to customer feedback, which currently reveals a demand for more content in the wellness category. As such, the airline plans to launch an additional meditation course through Headspace next year.
A new sleep meditation series from OMG. I Can Meditate! (left) helps users stress less and have more quality sleep, while the 7-Day Challenge (right) teaches users how to meditate and builds upon the previous lesson, making meditation effortless and enjoyable
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The secure passenger experience
Simon de Montfort Walker, President and Managing Director of eGate Solutions
Onboard ancillary revenue is becoming more sophisticated and attractive to the consumer each year. Growing with it is the need for airlines and their suppliers to provide a secure home for credit card information and personal data by RICK LUNDSTROM
he spending habits of the airline passenger on the move has become an increased focus of commercial aviation, with planners and marketing people engaged in a never-ending quest to place purchase opportunities in the hands and in front of their faces of customers from the time they book the flight online to the moment they deplane. A major aviation event does not go by where high-ranking officials from airlines talk about the revenue potential of the travel experience and making use of the oceans of data regarding passenger behavior — and for good reason. By 2019, companies like eMarketer estimate that digital travel revenue will reach an estimated US$762 billion. In a recent report, eMarketer expects digital travel retail sales will climb by more than US$75 billion over the next three years and by 2018, Asia-Pacific will surpass North America as the largest digital travel market in the world. A smaller piece of that immense pie can be found in estimates of airline ancillary revenue that indus-
try watcher IdeaworksCompany and CarTrawler say will bring in US$40.5 billion for 67 airlines covered in the partners’ annual survey. Of the billions spent, opportunity exists for solid sales in the inflight environment. Companies like gategroup and LSG Group have spent a considerable amount of time, effort and money to develop products that they contend will sell well for airlines, with the right crew motivation and the technology and sophistication behind it. At this year’s International Flight Services Association Expo in Chicago, visitors to the gategroup stand were treated to the launch of the company’s new boutique inflight revenue program, called uqonic. One of the important aspects of the company’s uqonic line will be a technological backbone designed to cover all aspects of the sale, from inventory management, smart trolleys, duty and tax management and the all- important “data driven personalized offerings.” Airlines are making it a mission to learn more and more about their passenger base. But with the new information,
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and the multitude of devices that are flooding the aircraft cabin, who are looking out for the important information that the traveler supplies to cabin crew? Turns out, many people are, from regulators in the European Union and device repair stations that operate badge-in, badge-out security, to airlines and handheld product manufacturers like Engenico, a French company that is one of the reliable partners for gategroup. One of the company’s data management products was in the hands of Simon de Montfort Walker, President and Managing Director of eGate Solutions, when he spoke with PAX International at the IFSA Expo in Chicago. When working with customers and suppliers, security of data can take up 10 to 20% of the planning process, said de Montfort Walker. “Certainly right now it is a really big piece of our day-to-day process and there are a bunch of reasons,” he said. Looming in the future, are regulations in the European Union about the movement and storage of personal data that carry the teeth of possible fines for its
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ONBOARD SECURITY Ciaran McGowan, IT Director at RetailinMotion
misuse. There are also changes in the cabin that place more devices in the hands of crew. Not only are handled iPads and iPhones being used, but secondary devices to handle payments. With years of experience handling credit cards, and the sophisticated encryption technology needed to process card payments well in place on the ground and in the air, the risk is not as much that a data thief can obtain access to bank accounts and lines of credit. Where companies like eGate Solutions and others are looking for more solutions is in guarding the type of information that passengers themselves share readily. “It tends not to be that some kind of brilliant Russian hacker has broken into your device software. It tends to be where someone has set up a scenario for you to give them access,” said de Montfort Walker. Crew are now equipped with more devices that spot subtle buying habits and other personal information about
the traveler. It is that data that airlines are only now beginning to consider as an important part of shaping the travel experience. Ancillary revenue providers like eGate Solutions are looking to make it as secure as possible. “It is what brings a whole new series of challenges and opportunities,” de Montfort Walker added. To help customers develop a sales platform LSG Group took on as a partner and this year purchased in full Retail inMotion, an Irish company. This fall, Retail inMotion was continuing its association with a Security Assessor company and was in the process of obtaining an important certification known as PCE DSS P2PE that Ciaran McGowan, the IT Director of Retail inMotion, says would give it a unique position among suppliers. “Significant time and budget is being invested into this project to ensure that credit card data is handled appropriately at every point in the payment process,” said McGowan. “We are quite confi-
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dent that we will be the first technology company that is specializing in onboard retail to obtain this certification.” While the designation is an important selling tool, McGowan tells PAX International that the purchase process aboard an aircraft carries no more of an essential risk than similar transactions made on the ground. Information taken inflight is wrapped in layers of protection that are built into Retail inMotion’s systems. The company’s electronic point of sale systems capture credit card details that are immediately encrypted after being read by company machines. Cabin crew cannot access any passenger’s personal information from any of the company’s devices. “Onboard an aircraft, very little information is exchanged between the passenger and crew,” he said. “Generally, the bulk of information that is gathered on passengers is done so by the airline itself before the passenger even boards the aircraft. “Therefore, the new regulations will
require a greater increase in responsibility on the part of an airline’s IT Security team and their data protection officers.” Recently, CellPoint Mobile, a Danish company secured an important customer in Emirates. wCellPoint Mobile’s full integration of Android Pay supporting the “Buy with Android Pay” option is now on the airline’s mobile app. The company touted it as a first of its kind with an airline. The integration allows passengers to easily and securely purchases tickets and travel products directly from the Emirates mobile app using their Android devices. CellPoint Mobile’s CEO, Kristian Gjerding agreed that options such as Android Pay and other purchasing platforms have already proven themselves a secure home in the Earthbound retail environment. Other security questions will be solved, he said as inflight Wi-Fi becomes more sophisticated and foolproof. CellPoint also employs a number of well-known and accepted processes to secure transaction: including PCI and DSS compliance, device fingerprinting and a process called “whitelisting” for IP addressees. Whitelisting is the use of anti-spam filtering software to allow only specified e-mail addresses to get through. “CellPoint Mobile’s payment solutions help airlines accept payments securely and seamlessly, regardless of the mobile device, operating system or payment method,” said the company.
Panasonic Avionics puts hacker team to the test Panasonic Avionics Corporation in August, joined several other large companies at a five-star Las Vegas hotel to match their systems against a team of elite “white hat” hackers and leading “bug bounty” provider HackerOne to secure its inflight entertainment systems. HackerOne has helped major companies such as General Motors, Uber, Twitter, Airbnb, DropBox and Adobe identify and fix security vulnerabilities as part of authorized bug bounty and vulnerability coordination programs. The bug bounty program began by inviting a select group of hackers to participate at the launch August DefCon Conference. In addition to Panasonic Avionics, HackerOne reported that other online providers like Snapchat and Zenefits participated. “Panasonic Avionics has always taken a proactive approach to security,” said Michael Dierickx, Director of Security Engineering and Information Security Officer at Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “We have extensive processes in place to identify potential and emerging vulnerabilities, and we also engage with security consultation firms who provide penetration testing and other services.” HackerOne partnered with the Department of Defense earlier this year for the U.S. Federal Government’s first ever bug bounty program called Hack the Pentagon, which helped resolve 138 valid vulnerabilities identified by the ethical hackers. “With the HackerOne platform Panasonic Avionics has access to the world’s most powerful external security team, the global hacker community, to continue enhancing the security of their internet-connected systems,” said HackerOne CEO Marten Mickos at the time of the event. “Inviting white hat or ethical hackers to hunt for bugs is a powerful method for making connected technology safer for everyone.” From the results, it appeared the bug hunt was effective for both the players and the participating companies alike. HackerOne reported two weeks after the event that over the two nights at the MGM Grand Skylofts, the more than 30 hackers discovered 225 security vulnerabilities from the participating companies, earning them a bounty of US$150,000. HackerOne reported that of 80 individual bounties that were paid, more than 70% were for valid security issues that were discovered during the three nights, Though the group was not specific, the HackerOne website reported that on the final night of the three-night hackathon, the security team from Panasonic Avionics “surprised hacker with a once in a lifetime challenge designed exclusively for the H1-702 competition.”
The IT department at Retail inMotion in Dublin
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 33
offering by MARY JANE PITTILLA
Industrial Neotex is introducing a new textile called Neo4Wall, adding to its portfolio of carpets and upholstery products for airlines
Upholstery: Using the best materials
Industrial Neotex manufactures any type of upholstery in Jacquard or Dobby looms using the best materials, such as Australian and New Zealand wools. It also offers synthetic materials such as Trevira CS and all-natural viscose-derived products. The technical treatments offered include: anti-stain, anti-vandalism, anti-bacterial, cleaning with water or anti-shrink, and aromatherapy.
Leather: Protective finish
The Neo4Wall is the latest development from Industrial Neotex in Spain
ndustrial Neotex, in collaboration with Japanese fiber specialist Kuraray Co Ltd, is launching to the market its new Neo4Wall textile, manufactured with a newly developed fiber that complies with heat release tests with optimum results and can be used for vertical surfaces in aircraft decoration. Neo4Wall is weaved as a standard fabric, and can be Jacquard, allowing designers to create an extended variety of designs and colors. In addition, Neo4Wall weights from 350 grams per square meter. This will help designers to save weight on the aircraft while increasing the final quality of the design created. Using Neo4Wall, design teams will be able to create a new aircraft interior look without limits on vertical surfaces, Neotex said. Industrial Neotex is always looking to create new products based on its customers’ comments and desires. With Neo4Wall, the company seeks to eliminate the problems of using fibers such as Nomex, that are difficult to dye and weave and have design limitations. Marketed as Couture for the Cabin, Neo4Wall’s bespoke production aims to push the boundaries of aircraft textiles. The high-performance product reinvents tweed for the modern interior and is available in a varied color palette, according to the Spanish firm.
Industrial Neotex specializes in the manufacture of textiles, both carpets and upholstery. The company also complements its product portfolio with products such as cushions, fire barriers and galley equipment.
Carpets: Highly resistant
In order to meet the requirements of its clients, Neotex manufactures different types of carpets. One hundred percent wool is traditionally used in aircraft and currently used as a luxury option. Neotex makes carpets from 1,500 grams per square meter to heavy and luxurious options for First Class cabins. These can be in loop, cut pile or a combination of both. One hundred percent nylon responds to the requirement of most airlines for high-performance carpets, and only Nylon PA 6.6 makes it possible to provide long-lasting products. Neotex’s nylon carpets comply with the smoke emission and toxicity specifications of all aircraft manufacturers, and have been certified for 787. In addition, Neotex manufactures LongLife carpets made with a nylon and wool blend. This type of carpet mix ensures resistance similar to nylon carpets and resilience properties similar to wool carpets. All Neotex carpets comply with both Airbus and Boeing specifications.
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Neotex boasts one of the most sophisticated leathers developed exclusively for the aviation industry. Neoleather is chrome-tanned cowhide, made with Spanish raw materials and immersion-dyed. This top-grain leather has a thickness of 1.0mm to 1.2mm and an average hide size of 48 square feet. The protective finish allows the leather to expand and contract, ensuring passenger comfort. FCLeather is a type of chrometanned bovine leather, which has also been developed exclusively for the aviation industry. This top-grain leather is made with European raw material and features a breathable finish. FCLeather comes with a small, round embossed pattern, a thickness of 1.0mm to 1.1mm and an average hide size of 55 square feet.
Seat Cushions: Cut and molded
Neotex offers cut and molded cushions for various types of seats. All its cushions meet Boeing and Airbus as well as FAA/EASA guidelines. The company provides different density foam as well as the possibility of combining them, so that the result is maximum comfort for the passenger. The foams are all lined with proprietary fire barriers to ensure protection and safety. With the aim of offering a comprehensive service, Neotex is also an EASA 145 authorized repair center. As a value-added service, it also provides aircraft modification services, thanks to the fact that its design office is EASA Part-21 certified. Neotex has full capacity to modify aircraft cabins for all kinds of minor changes, and is in the process of obtaining EASA approval for major changes (STC).
Hear all about it
Developed in response to an increasing demand for a midrange headset, Phitek’s Business Lite headset delivers premium audio, but at a lower price point
From larger noise-cancelling headsets to smaller compact earbuds, airlines are seeking headphone solutions that vary as much as the needs of their passengers by
or many passengers today, remembering to bring a pair of high-quality headphones for traveling is just as important as making their flight. On long-haul flights, a passenger may watch one or two films, listen to music and perhaps a podcast. These activities have rendered the headset not only a priority, but also a growing necessity for airlines, especially when improving the passenger experience is top of mind. Phitek, global supplier of electronic innovations in noise cancellation, audio enhancement and other electronic touch points in the aircraft cabin, aims to minimize the discomfort of long-haul travel by presenting airlines with apt solutions, including quality headsets. “It is an uncomfortable experience for anybody engaging in long-haul travel,” says Chris van der Loo, Product and Marketing Director for Phitek. “We have to do our best to make it as comfortable as possible, and headphones are an important part of that effort. Therefore, we ensure the headphone touch points are made of high quality materials and that the noise cancellation technology effectively blocks out engine noise.” With airlines adding more Premium Economy cabins, Phitek is seeing an increasing demand for a mid-range headphone option. This demand inspired
the development of Phitek’s Business Lite headset. “It still delivers the premium audio that you would expect from Phitek, but at a lower price point,” explains van der Loo. “The product is designed to last for 100 sectors, compared to our premium models at designed for 450; however, this is still miles ahead of competing offerings, as it delivers an
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exceptional cost of ownership.” The Business Lite headset is available with or without noise cancellation and with the option for customization. For Business Class passengers, van der Loo says premier carriers are now expected to provide noise cancellation headphones, which for many, is a critical tool for arriving at their destination feeling rested. By supplying both headphones and audio connectors Linstol’s new high-end noisecancelling headset is an attractive option for airlines looking to differentiate or upgrade their current offering in their premium cabins
and ensuring -18dB noise cancellation performance is offered with all of its premium headphones — the Cirrus, the Stratus, and the Cumulus — Phitek is well positioned to meet this need. The Cirrus carries the noise cancellation technology inside the headphone, is battery operated and works with any passive audio connector. The Stratus looks for the noise cancellation and power from the audio jack itself. And finally, the Cumulus includes noise cancellation in the headphone, but receives its power from the jack. “The advantage of placing the technology in the connector is to ensure the expensive circuitry remains in the aircraft, and not be displaced by passengers or get broken,” explains van der Loo. “It also minimizes headphone cost, which contributes to a more attractive overall cost of ownership for the airline.”
Although the number of passengers that bring their own headphones on board is steadily increasing, van der Loo feels it is still critical for an airline to deliver a fully working IFE system of which headsets are an important part. “We’ve also noticed that many passengers prefer to leave their headphones at home out of fear of damage or loss,” he adds. “This is likely because many of these passengers expect to find a set of premium headphones on their seat when they board the aircraft.” It is no secret that Economy Class headphones create a lot of plastic waste. In 2015, Phitek was a finalist in the Crystal Cabin Awards for its economy headset, which was designed to last significantly longer than the traditional inexpensively manufactured economy headsets. “Additionally, like our premium range of headphones, it has been designed to be repaired — a unique offering in our industry,” says van der Loo. Linstol, provider of cabin-related passenger products, has developed a new high-end noise-cancelling headset for premium cabins, which will be unveiled at this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Expo (APEX) in Singapore. The new headset promises to offer the same customization options and a variety of finishes that Linstol has become known for, making it an attractive option for airlines looking to differentiate or upgrade their current offering for passengers in their premium cabins.
Sound performance, passenger comfort, affordability and designing specifically for the airline cabin environment have always been important characteristics of Linstol’s headset development process, none of which were spared when it came to developing its latest model. “The new premium headset remains true to our design principles and is onpoint with the trend of airlines’ desire to enhance all aspects of the service offering in their premium cabins,” says Mark Russell, CEO of Linstol.
Earbuds are one of the most common headset styles used by travelers. Small, compact and lightweight, earbuds can be easily carried in a number of different areas, from carryon luggage to a coat pocket, making them ideal for travel. InflightDirect, provider of a range of inflight service products, recently announced three new earbud styles. The first of the new models features a sleek, modern and unique design that offers great sound quality and comfort for long-haul flights. The second incorporates several plastic components, rendering it an excellent marketing tool for airlines, while also providing a snug, comfortable fit that significantly reduces surrounding noise and focuses on sound quality. The third model also provides comfort and quality, and offers a design that allows for a multitude of colored parts, as well as great marketing potential. InflightDirect has found that rubber-tipped earbuds continue to be the most popular style of airline headphone, which makes sense, as it offers users low-cost sound reduction, good sound quality and requires minimal storage on board. “With the new models we are introducing, we see more of a marketing potential with customers and/or sponsors to ‘brand’ the earbud for those models that are taken by the passengers after the flight,” says Thomas Mockler, President and CEO of InflightDirect. Mockler has also noticed a continued improvement in speaker elements. He has found that customers are more frequently selecting neodymium speaker elements, which are better quality and greatly improve
both sound quality and sensitivity. “We have also improved the quality of the plugs to increase strength, thus reducing breakage,” he adds. “For the higher-end models, we are seeing continued quality improvements with internal materials — speakers, microphones — to increase performance while keeping costs to a minimum. The headset needs of passengers tend to vary per class, says Mockler. Passengers in the back of the aircraft, or in Economy Class, will typically look for a headphone that is comfortable and can be used to enjoy the audio and video options for the duration of the flight. Many times, these same passengers will take the headphones with them to use after the flight at home. “This is why you will see more reusable packaging that includes paper bags, foil zip top pouches and other containers that are large enough to hold personal music players,” he explains. “So even if the headphones become lost, the passenger will use the container again and again.”
One of InflightDirect’s three new earbud models allows for a multitude of colored parts and great marketing potential
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 37
Immersed in ENTERTAINMENT Companies will be attending this year’s APEX Expo armed with the latest, lightest and high-techiest of virtual reality products by RICK LUNDSTROM
tep behind the scenes and away from the dazzling images and superior sound, and what you find in the efforts by airlines to enhance the passengers experience with the latest in immersive headsets are a group of mainly small- and mediumsized companies, such as the FrenchAmerican supplier SkyLights, that have done considerable legwork to make the product available to customers. Protective movie studios need to be assured that content stored within the headset is safe from pirating. Partners in and around the airport have to be secure and reliable. Certifications that the product does not produce electromagnetic interference need to be obtained. Then, business models for airlines that offer the product complementary or as a rental need to be presented and discussed. Like so many items that find their way into the airline cabin, the logistics involved in getting them there are half the battle. “What everyone sees on the outside is these headsets,” said David Dicko, CEO at SkyLights. “But what people do not see and do not realize is that we have worked a lot on the content management software that is running in the background and at the airports.” SkyLights is a startup company that has gained customers in currently two charter airlines and has spent the last year developing the Bravo version of its headset. The company is not the first to break into this segment of inflight entertainment. That distinction belongs to electronics giant Samsung when its virtual reality technology gave passengers on Qantas Airways a 360-degree
With licensing and logistics in place, the Bravo version of SkyLights new immersive headset will be in more aircraft cabins this year
experience of the spectacular view of an the immersive headset is handed out Australian North Territory national park complimentary to passengers in the and other entertainment in an interacfront cabin, and rented to passengers in tive format at the beginning of 2015. Economy Class. Dicko said historically SkyLights has secured important the take rate for the SkyLights headset is licensing rights for three-dimensional generally 50% in the front cabin, while and two-dimensional content from approximately 10% of the passengers 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks in economy class will opt to rent the earlier this year. With that major hurdle product. Airlines can use the rental cleared, the company began seeking out revenue to offset the costs of purchasairport partners to do the important ing and maintaining the headsets. logistics of keeping the units charged Maintenance typically takes two to and updated with the content so three hours and should be conducted SkyLights can offer airlines a turnkey when the aircraft touches base at its hub, solution should they select the prodsaid Dicko. The headsets are plugged uct. SkyLights works with an integrainto devices that update the content and tor and duty-free supplier in Paris and recharge the batteries. Parts of the headcaterer LSG Sky Chefs in Istanbul. sets that make contact with passengers’ While all that was happening, skin need to be cleaned and treated. SkyLights was also developing the Bravo So far, two charter airlines, Onur version of the immersive headset, which Air and XL Airways have selected the is sleeker and easier to deliver in a First Skylights headset for service. In the near Class and Business Class environment. An airline selecting the headset can now fit 26 of them into a half-size trolley and 52 into a full-sized unit. What the airline does with the units once boarded depends entirely Specialized animation for VR technology is available on its goals, said from West Coast companies like Baobab Dicko. Typically
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The Glyph, by Avegant is a consumer headset being evaluated for the airline market
future, Dicko said the headset would be flying on a major European airline. Content can be obtained from a number of sources. Blockbuster 3D and 2D films can be supplemented with a wide variety of content that is now being developed specifically for immersive virtual reality by a number of companies up and down the U.S. West Coast. SkyLights is working with a company called Baobab Studios that develops virtual reality animation; however, Dicko said several other firms are now starting up and growing with the technology. What the headsets offer can be dazzling. The 3D in the sets offer a depth of field that allows passengers to immerse themselves in a virtual world that they can scan realistically with head movement. The sets can be controlled with a few simple commands on the graphic user interface found on the headset. But while the original Samsung headset found on Qantas can scan in a 360-degree field, Skylights is taking another approach that Dicko says is more practical with a field of vision at 180 degrees or slightly less, which works better in an airline environment. SkyLights is moving ahead in other
areas of IFEC. It has begun working with the Spanish company IMMFly, which is one of the first to develop a streaming IFE solution for the airline cabin. In the future, SkyLights hopes to be able to offer not only local content within the headset, but also streaming content that is available through wireless IFE in the cabin.
The Qantas test
By all indications, Qantas launched its VR Technology in an intentionally lowkey rollout in March of 2105 with the idea of conducting a three-month trial in the First Class section of its A380s. Initially, the headsets were offered for use on Qantas flights between Australia and Los Angeles. The headsets were also available in the airline’s First Class Lounge in Sydney and Melbourne. “From an inflight entertainment perspective, it is an industry first,” said Olivia Wirth, the airline’s Group Executive, Brand Marketing and Corporate Affairs in the January 2015 announcement of the trial. “Qantas is committed to being at the forefront of the innovation to give our passengers the very best and the latest in-flight
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experiences, like accessing the virtual worlds of their favorite Hollywood blockbusters from the comfort of their seat 40,000 feet above the ground.” At the time of the Qantas trial, the airline started working on promoting its home country. The airline worked with a production company called Jaunt to develop and produce the live-action content found on the Samsung Gear headset. It also worked with Tourism NT to give passengers a 360-degree view in full 3D of Kakadu National Park. Now, as airlines are starting to take notice and consider this as an enhancement to their IFE offering, other companies are also looking for potential customers. A company called Avegant is marketing a consumer product called the Glyph and is working with high-end headset provider Phitek from New Zealand to bring a new offering to the airlines. The company displayed the headset at the 2016 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. Pictures circulated around the Internet have drawings of an immersive headset for which Zodiac Seats is seeking a patent.
spiriant builds West Expansion of creative inflight solutions in the US Designing, creating and delivering smart and innovative inflight equipment solutions, combined with state-of-the art logistics, is at the heart of SPIRIANT. We know no bounds in developing tailor-made designs for you and are proud to further develop our presence in the US in our mission to go global.
Watching the window Blockbuster films still form the backbone of AVOD systems, but with evolving technology, how will they be managed? Two companies give their views on the subject of early window releases for handheld passenger technology by RICK LUNDSTROM
onsumer technology, in the form of handheld PEDs and smartphones may be finding their way into the airline environment, and the makers of streaming devices may be making inroads of their own, but when a passenger steps onto an intercontinental flight and hits the touchscreen or GUI on embedded inflight entertainment, they still expect to see a selection of current and near current movies at their fingertips. What other possibilities exist for the blockbuster genre is still the subject of debate and discussion at every event such as the yearly APEX Expo. But one thing that is certain: airlines will continue to want the hottest and biggest selling titles with the latest big name actors on the small (but certainly growing) airline screens.
One need only to witness the recent heavy promotion that occurred earlier this year with the spring release of Warner Bros. action blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Turkish Airlines announced its partnership with Warner Bros. this spring with a specially painted 777, while the iconic Batmobile took a drive over the Bosphorus that separates Europe and Asia. Movie-themed amenity kits and inflight menus were modified and Gotham City and Metropolis became official destinations for Turkish Airlines. “What made Turkish Airlines such an inspiring partner was their aspiration to dream up something more than just a promotional program, but an experience that would be as original and epic as the film,” said Gene Garlock, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Executive Vice President,
The Turkish Airlines 777 tricked out for the release of Batman v Superman last spring
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Worldwide Promotional Partnerships in the announcement of the exclusive debut aboard Turkish Airlines. Airlines operate in an environment that oftentimes could not be categorized as “inspiring.” But, occasionally, when they can offer a passenger something that is truly unique and entertaining, many of today’s legacy and low-cost carriers still leap at the chance. That chance to engage and entertain can usually be found in the selection of early-window content that fights its way through the din of hundreds or even thousands of hours of entertainment that can be stored on modern inflight audio and video on demand systems. The movies are featured in the inflight magazine and dominate the viewing roster on any inflight entertainment system The latest movies in early release are exclusively found in AVOD systems in the airline seatback or handed out in the form of pre-loaded tablets owned and handled by the airlines. However, there appears to still be many unanswered questions and development needed before movies from the early-release window will be available to passengers on their own handheld devices. “We believe this is an industry-wide discussion with service providers and inflight entertainment aggregators agreeing on terms,” said Mark Sgriccia, Vice President, Content Operations and Strategy at Lionsgate.
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Three of the most recent films from Lionsgate next on the list of early window content for airlines
What constitutes early-release is also something of a moving target. Commonly, movies that fall within a window of 60 to 90 days from theatrical release often fill the category. However, movie studios and those involved in distribution say that a definition of early-release can depend greatly on the film itself. To distribute the films to airlines, Lionsgate partners with Entertainment in Motion. Lionsgate currently licenses content for exhibition in more than 150 airlines, including but not limited to Air France, Air New Zealand, American Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Air, Southwest Airlines, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines. “For Lionsgate, the topic of early window tends to vary by title and the rights we have to those titles,” said Sgriccia. Sgriccia mentioned three films that will be among those highlighted by Lionsgate at this year’s APEX Expo. One of the most heavily promoted titles will be Deepwater Horizon starring Mark Wahlberg. In theaters at the end of last month, the movie tells the story of the explosion of the BP oilrig in the Gulf of Mexico and the subsequent oil spill that carried on for months. The second film, Hacksaw Ridge, is a war adventure film that marks the directorial return of Mel Gibson. To coincide with Halloween, Lionsgate is also releasing Boo! A Madea Halloween, a family comedy starring Tyler Perry. In a given year, Lionsgate releases anywhere from 15 to 20 films that
would fall into the category either of “blockbuster” or be could potentially be part of the main feature films that get marquee treatment in airline inflight entertainment systems. One of the companies that made the first inroads in what could one day lead to the possibility of early window content movies on passenger PED’s, was Lufthansa Systems. In 2012, Lufthansa Systems gained early window content approval for its BoardConnect wireless inflight entertainment system. At the time, the approval allowed the company to stream Hollywood movies to purpose built, in-seat display units and tablet devices that were provided to passengers by the airlines. Jan-Peter Gaense, Director Project and Certification at Lufthansa Systems said the approval was a major milestone in the IFEC industry. Getting that approval involved detailed negotiations with the movie studios. The company prepared a white paper describing the security of the platform and end-to-end process of how Lufthansa Systems would handle the content. In the end, it was enough to make the studio feel confident that the content they turned over to the company would be handled properly. The next step, the ability for passengers to access the same content for their own personal electronic devices, still appears to be some ways off. “Early window content is really attractive to passengers,” Gaense
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said. “It has a high commercial value, and no one wants it to see it get stolen and get lost, especially when you have airline branding on it.” Stateside, Lufthansa Systems has a full-time employee working with West Coast studios. Dirk Ottens, Senior Manager Content and Media Strategy, works closely with all the major studios that supply films to Lufthansa Systems customers. In his interactions with studio executives, Ottens agreed that many are still reluctant to take the next step toward allowing early window content on personal electronic devices. In the meantime, Lufthansa Systems is making inroads and finding success with its recently launched portable solution, the BoardConnect Portable, which it launched on 70 Eurowings aircraft in August. “The wireless BoardConnect IFE solution enables passengers to access a wide range of entertainment content during a flight, including movies, TV shows, music and games, by connecting to a Wi-Fi network through an app on their own tablets or smartphones. With BoardConnect Portable it is even easier for small airlines to provide a stateof-the-art IFE system without investing in costly installed hardware,” says Norbert Müller, Senior Vice President BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems. The portable version, which was launched last fall, is designed for carriers wishing to avoid high capital outlay in
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permanently installed hardware and install IFE mainly in smaller aircraft that are used for short- and medium-haul flights. The advantage of the new all-inone solution is that all of the technical
components needed for an IFE system — such as a server and access points — are combined in a single device, the Mobile Streaming Unit (MSU). An MSU can supply up to 50 passengers with content.
This means that in narrow-body aircraft, two to three MSUs are sufficient to provide all passengers with IFE content.
CLAR·I·TY clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.
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Changing the face of inflight Internet Gogo’s 2Ku antenna is now flying on upwards of 10 aircraft after a long period of testing
Gogo is set to unveil exciting new technology that will offer a ground-like internet performance, including the ability to stream videos, within the United States and Canada
t has been a super-busy summer this year for Gogo, the leading US-based supplier of inflight Internet and entertainment. By connecting aircraft with its future-facing solutions, Gogo Commercial Aviation aims to drive innovation across every aspect of the business. The company’s next-generation satellite solution, Gogo 2Ku, is delivering industry-leading speeds and global performance to keep aircraft connected. This approach continues apace, following an activity-rich summer. “We have had quite a few recent developments that will make big changes to the aviation industry as a whole,” the company told PAX International. “We now have upgrade paths to more than 100 Mbps for both our North American ground-based and our global satellite networks.” The Chicago-headquartered firm continued: “This week [week commencing September 26], we announced plans for our second-generation ground network to support inflight connectivity in North America. This technology will offer a ground-like performance, including the ability to stream videos, for business aviation aircraft, commercial regional jets and select narrow-body aircraft operating within the United States and Canada.” This will undoubtedly be music to the ears for travelers everywhere, who have perhaps struggled in the past to achieve in the air the internet experi-
by MARY JANE PITTILLA
ence they enjoy in their home – or even at the airport before take-off. The company’s consumer offering is also ramping up. In August 2016, Gogo announced that it would offer Gogo inflight Wi-Fi passes to travel agents through its new Sabre Red App. The Gogo Red App will be available to U.S.based travel agents using the Sabre system through the Sabre Red App Centre. Through this alliance, travel agents who book customer travel using the Sabre Red App will be able to offer their clients the ability to pre-purchase a Wi-Fi pass at a discount whenever they are booking a Gogo-enabled flight. The pass provides up to 24 hours of continuous wireless Internet access on domestic Gogo-equipped flights on par-
ticipating airlines between destinations within the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. “Gogo is a leading provider of inflight internet and entertainment and this Red App will enable travel agents to offer customers an amenity that has become a must-have for travelers,” said Alison Colquhoun, Vice President of Product Marketing, Sabre Travel Network. “We know that the more integrated we can get within the decision-making process for travel arrangements, the more likely passengers are to choose to use our services inflight,” said Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo’s Chief Commercial Officer. “What better way to do that than to partner with the leader in global travel technology and arm the tens of thousands of travel agents that use the Sabre
Much of the testing on Gogo’s 2Ku service was done aboard this modified 737
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CONNECTIVITY Red App to book client travel so they can easily add inflight Wi-Fi to their trip.” In separate news also announced in August, Gogo Business Aviation has embarked on an initiative to enable operators, dealers and installers to equip their aircraft with approved routers from third-party manufacturers that best suit their individual needs and preferences on the Gogo Biz network. The move is part of a larger initiative to provide a more open ecosystem, enabling a wider array of router options for customers to choose from. “Gogo is at the forefront of the aircraft connectivity space, and with many aircraft-approved routers now available in the marketplace, we have created a process to offer our customers additional options – giving them the power to select a router that meets their specific needs,” explained Sergio Aguirre, Senior Vice President of Product Management and Business Development for Gogo. “By opening the router to other providers, we’ve streamlined the ability for our customers to leverage Gogo’s world-class network and interoperate with our solutions for the best possible experience.” Going forward, customers will be allowed to select a router from a list of authorized providers. Gogo will work closely with third-party manufacturers to test and approve routers that will interface with Gogo’s suite of air-to-ground products. To ensure the highest quality user experience, providers will be fully evaluated and
type certified on Gogo’s system. “We have always stood up for our customers and we will continue to advocate for the best customer experience possible,” said David Glenn, Vice President of Customer Operations. “An open router environment allows us to continue to build on the standard of excellence our customers expect.” Gogo’s satellite-based solution, 2Ku, is now flying on more than 10 aircraft across the globe and is performing extremely well, according to the company. For aircraft that are flying over water and cannot utilize its legacy air-to-ground system, 2Ku, just like its next-generation air-to-ground solution, enables passengers to do whatever they want inflight, including streaming video. During the upcoming APEX show in Singapore, Gogo will again have a busy schedule. “At Gogo, we are always looking for ways to improve and enhance both our ground and satellite networks. We will continue to discuss how these enhancements will affect air travel and the doors more bandwidth unlocks for both passengers and the airlines,” the firm says of its trade fair plans. Over the past year, Gogo has continued to grow on a global scale and add international airlines. Airlines across the world are starting to understand that having an IFC solution is a competitive advantage, the company said. With the success of 2Ku so far, it expects to continue to add to the global growth of the company in the next few years.
At total of 124 aircraft on the Air France – KLM fleet will be outfitted with Gogo 2Ku
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The latest airline to sign up to the Gogo ecosystem is Air France-KLM. Gogo has partnered with this major group to connect its existing long-haul fleet representing 124 aircraft, with an airline option to install the technology on additional aircraft in the future. The fleet of aircraft receiving Gogo’s 2Ku technology will include numerous aircraft types, including the 777 and A330s. “We are delighted to bring Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology to one of the largest airlines in the world and two of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation,” said Michael Small, President and CEO. “2Ku delivers a ground-like performance to aircraft flying around the world today, including the ability to stream video. One of the many benefits of 2Ku is that it’s built on an open architecture and can leverage new technology advancements in the future, which means the technology will get even better over time and will provide passengers with a superior connectivity experience now and in the future.” The first aircraft is expected to be in service end of next year, with the bulk of the installations taking place during 2018-2019. And finally, reflecting on the outlook for the coming year, it is all about 2Ku. “The 2Ku era has begun and is ramping up in full force now that the summer travel season has ended,” Gogo enthuses. “By the end of 2016, we expect to have 75+ aircraft online and that number will continue to grow with a backlog of more than 1300+ 2Ku aircraft.”
connections Three companies show how they are shaping the in-seat power sector, where developments are moving fast in response to airline and passenger demand by MARY JANE PITTILLA
n-seat power over the years has gone from clunky outlets designed to accommodate cords in configurations from around the world, to sleek, and lightweight systems that can hold USB chargers. And as passengers continue to bring aboard latest in consumer electronics, the demand on suppliers to evolve and develop will continue. Behind the complicated electronic specifications is the desire to fill a simple need: to give the passenger the experience they have in their living rooms. In addition to high-definition video and blistering fast Internet, the passenger needs a place to plug it all in. Three companies spoke with PAX International in the run up to this year’s APEX. Here’s where they stand in development and offering.
IFPL: Leading the way
IFPL has been one of the go-to companies for USB and A/C power outlets. The Isle of Wight-based company supplies many of the leading IFE companies’ USB-A outlets with a range that includes standard and high power versions and also data variants. Its latest certified unit is USB-A 3.0 and it has recently been developing USB C 3.1 and combination of USB-A and C outlets. Regarding 110V A/C, IFPL has delivered its 1225 Universal Power Outlet, which is a universal plug socket compatible with global A/C plugs. More recently, the company’s 2011 product development combines its 110V AC and USB-A outlet, meeting the power needs of the majority of passengers; this is being extended to incorporate USB-C 3.1. In the coming years, IFPL sees the widespread adoption of USB-C 3.1 for both data and power and the com-
IFPL’s power outlet in universal cord configuration
USB power outlets are expected to be the outlet of choice in the future.
pany believes this may even reduce the requirement for A/C power in Economy and Business cabins, as USB-C 3.1 has the ability to provide up to 100 Watts power and 10Gb/s data. IFPL is seeing an attractive market opportunity for new power solutions, as many airlines are now demanding USB-A high power (2 A, 5V DC) as the standard for line-fit in all cabins and are looking to retrofit their fleets, especially as many are introducing connectivity or Wi-Fi-only IFE solutions; this is prevalent on narrow body and/or short haul fleets. The wide body fleet long-haul products are also requiring a combination between A/C and high power USB-A, depending on the cabin, and this has now become a standard offering as part of the newer IFEC seatback systems. Looking ahead, IFPL has been developing inductive charging and has solutions ready to go. But the company cautions: “However, the feedback from airlines at the moment seems to be that we need Apple to adopt this inductive charging technology, as they do not want to install technology that will only support part of their customer base.” On the broader subject of wireless technology, IFPL has developed a seatback NFC contactless payment and personalization unit and sees this
technology as enabling the IFEC systems to move from being a direct cost to a major ancillary revenue generator.
Imagik International Corp: Simple solution
Imagik International Corp offers an extremely light, small and simple solution for USB power, called QUATRO Plus. The compact power unit is slightly more than .75 inches thick and weighs half a pound, and aims to bring a new approach to USB In-Seat power. The QUATRO-Plus has been designed to provide an efficient affordable solution to the current demands for In-seat connectivity. The weight factor and operational efficiency of the QUATROPlus makes an attractive option for airlines looking to offer their passengers charging capabilities to their Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs). The QUATRO Plus system is a universally compatible, four independent USB-dedicated port charger capable of up to 2.1 amps output per port. An autodetect feature monitors USB data line voltage, and automatically provides the correct electrical signatures on the data lines to charge devices, while meeting their power management requirements. The system is composed of the following components: 1 x AC to DC www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 49
The QUATRO Plus system of Imagik weighs in an approximately half a pound
power; 4 x USB head; and 4 x USB head cable. Total power consumption is controlled at 60W maximum per row. Features include: over current protection; hysteresis thermal shutdown; short-circuit output protection; over voltage protection; and auto restart after fault condition. All ports work independently of each other. The unit also incorporates cable drop compensation technology to fit different cable lengths. QUATRO Plus seeks to deliver a better passenger experience, making more USB sockets available for charging devices. Imagik reports that it is working on new options to the existing standard plug-in power. New technologies have now become available that can deliver the required amount of power to charge a variety of personal devices and laptops at a much lower cost and weight. Imagik International Corp’s General Manager Claudio Ovide says that USB at 2.1 amps per port is today the better choice for airlines. “Standard plug-in has far more complexity and cost/weight is much higher,” he adds. Ovide said he believes that the number of airlines left to outfit is “substantial.” He explains: “Either new or existing aircraft that are adding different configurations of hybrids, such as Business Class with inflight entertainment (IFE) and coach [Economy Class] with Wi-Fi, or full Wi-Fi installations, have a need for in-seat power.” Ovide notes that when the full IFE system is line-fitted, the USB option is included in most cases. Others, either installed on new or used equipment, are retrofits. Imagik is carrying out research and development on wireless applications, as these two components, Wi-Fi and power, work hand in hand. “If Wi-Fi service is provided, hav-
ing in-seat power charging becomes a must-have,” he says. “Public expectation is to have a seamless connectivity on their PEDs [personal electronic devices], whether at home, office or in the air. So we believe the demand will only keep growing and service on the aircraft will become as efficient and as fast as we now enjoy at home.”
Astronics Corporation: Powering ahead in Asia Pacific
Astronics Corporation has seen longtime success for its latest EmPower® in-seat power system, made by its wholly owned subsidiary Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES). In June 2016, the US-based company announced that the system had been selected by three major airlines in Asia for installations scheduled through the 2017 to 2021 timeframe. These awards will place in-seat power in more than 230 additional aircraft serving the Asia Pacific region. The installations, valued at more than US$16 million, will be fitted in 737, 737-800 and 737 MAX, A320 and Bombardier CS300 aircraft. This system includes various EmPower® configurations, including 110V 60Hz as well as high-power (2.1A) USB for use with laptops and other personal electronic devices (PEDs), such as iPads and smartphones. The EmPower® UltraLite System which can power up to 30 High Power USB outlet units from a single LRU
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According to Mike Hettich, Vice President of Astronics AES Cabin Electronics, statistics show that 97% of global passengers travel with their own mobile devices. Airlines worldwide are responding to their passengers’ requests for power at the seat to keep their devices operational during the flight and fully charged for when they arrive at their destination, he says. The patented EmPower® system is currently in service with over 190+ airline/OEM customers at more than 900,000 seat locations. EmPower® in-seat power systems are described as the premier choice for line-fit and retrofit in-seat power solutions by airlines. Providing the most AC power in the industry, up to 200VA per passenger, combined with its universal AC outlet compatible with plugs from over 170+ countries, EmPower®systems aim to deliver the highest level of IFE OEM, airline and passenger satisfaction. USB charging ports are also available, either integrated with the company’s 110VAC system or as a standalone option. The new EmPower® High Power USB Outlet Units deliver over 10W+ of power per outlet, sufficient to simultaneously operate and charge all the latest USB powered devices. EmPower® products are line-fit offerable at Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, and Bombardier. Astronics is the only supplier of in-seat power products approved for line-fit on the B787 and A350 aircraft, according to the company’s website. EmPower® installations are an average of 16% lighter than competing systems. EmPower® in-seat power systems are available with 110VAC outlets with or without integrated USB charging ports, or as a standalone USB charging system. Each configuration has several standard and customizable options to ensure compatibility with all aircraft types and to meet the unique needs and desires of airlines and their passengers.
Luxury Traveller Sofa – Boxmark: The Luxury Traveller Sofa, Boxmark‘s latest offering, was created in cooperation with internationally renowned designer Jacques Pierrejean. Skillfully made with the finest leather and high-quality materials, the Luxury Traveller offers sophisticated passengers an ample amount of space, incomparable comfort and several other luxurious features, creating a stylish atmosphere in commercial aircrafts’ First Class cabins, as well as on board business and private jets.
Business Lite headset – Phitek: Developed in response to the increasing demand for a mid-range headset option, Phitek’s Business Lite headset delivers premium audio, but at a lower price point. Available with or without noise cancellation, the Business Lite headset is designed to last for 100 sectors, compared to Phitek’s premium models, which last for 450, positioning itself ahead of competing offerings. The Business Lite headset is available with or without noise cancellation and also with the option for customization. Visit Phitek at APEX, stand no. 1729
RAVE – Zodiac Inflight Innovations: For more than 19 years, Zodiac Inflight Innovations has provided innovative solutions for the aviation industry. Already renowned for providing reliable and affordable in-seat AVOD, Zodiac’s product line, RAVE, has expanded its offerings to include a Wireless Cabin Application as well as broadband and GSM Connectivity features. Visit Zodiac Inflight Innovations at APEX, stand no. 1017
The quantum FleX trolley – Norduyn: The quantum FleX trolley, engineered and manufactured by Norduyn, was successfully introduced to the market after receiving its full TSO C 175 in April of this year. Its high-end composite and plastic materials combined with an aluminum frame have set the markets’ benchmark on Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for trolleys. Additional unique and smart solutions have rendered the quantum FleX trolley highly efficient and reliable when in service. As a result, the quantum FleX is already flying on more than 10 international airlines. Due to short term demand, Norduyn has increased production capacities, enabling deliveries to take place within 2016. Visit Norduyn at AIX, stand no. 7A60 Hygienic seat surface – Recaro Aircraft Seating: Establishing a new standard of cleanliness and hygiene in the aircraft cabin, Recaro Aircraft Seating is offering specially coated surfaces on the frequently touched plastic and metal parts of folding tables, arm rests and seat backs to provide passengers with increased protection from germs and bacteria. Upon request, Recaro can equip its Economy, Premium Economy or Business Class seats with an easy-to-clean surface, that makes it even easier for airlines and the cleaning crew to keep the cabin and seats sanitary. Thanks to the antimicrobial properties of the coating, germs disappear within a short period of time.
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Business Class Vector™ seat – HAECO Cabin Solutions: HAECO Cabin Solutions has a new offering in its inventive Vector™ seating platform. The new Business Class Vector™ seat for single-aisle aircraft has been designed for comfort and augmented passenger living space. The Vector™ seat platform includes unique storage options, exclusive privacy concepts and a wide-range of customizable features. As part of the innovation built into the entire Vector™ platform, the new seat blends lightweight and long-term reliability using advanced engineered materials and assembly techniques. Visit HAECO Cabin Solutions at APEX, stand no. C10 Stellar, Mono, Sirocco M lights – Beadlight: Beadlight, UKbased LED lighting specialist that designs, engineers and manufactures aerospace reading lights, recently added three new lights to its airline range: ‘Stellar’, ‘Mono’ and ‘Sirocco M’. Stellar (pictured) is an elegantly shaped light, designed to be fixed into a seat shell or monument and is Beadlight’s lowest profile light with a total depth of 20.5mm. Due to is shape and size, Stella can be fixed at different angles and multiple lights can be used together when a variety of positions are needed. Mono is a sleek, fixed-position light with a push open spring mechanism. Designed to be both discreet and effective, Mono is offered in 12-28v variable voltage, and can be customized to meet customer requirements. Sirocco M — Beadlight’s smallest model, designed to resemble the original Sirocco, but in micro form — can swivel left and right, features two dimples — one to open and another close the light — and is available with or without a bezel. Visit Beadlight at AIX, stand no. G40
Digital Platforms Built On Axinom: Axinom empowers IFE service providers to create, manage, and maintain the next generation of wireless inflight entertainment, e-commerce, and connectivity services in a simplified, costeffective, and secure way. At this year’s APEX Expo, Axinom will introduce “Digital Platforms Built On Axinom”, a new concept that describes ways to connect services, assets and passengers with proven aerospace industry architectures and technologies. Built on top of Axinom’s product portfolio (Axinom CMS, Axinom DRM, Axinom CDS), digital platforms enable customers to establish new business models and transform their businesses processes. Visit Axinom at APEX, stand no.1451
Hawk platform – Mirus Aircraft Seating: Incorporating unique patented technologies and practices learned from next-generation R&D programs, the Hawk platform by Mirus Aircraft Seating is a lightweight, slimline seat that is optimized for higher density cabins (pitch of 28” and greater). The ergonomically designed Hawk, which adopted cues, technologies, materials and methodologies from the automotive world, features a lightweight carbon fiber and forged aluminium frame that combines both strength and design optimization. The Hawk family includes three models: The Hawk SR (Short Range – pictured), EB (Euro Business) and LR (Long Range). This past April, AirAsia was named the launch customer for the Hawk SR, with a significant order for their A320 fleet (linefit and retrofit). At AIX, Mirus will have on display a number of Hawk configurations, as well as some exciting new interactive technology. Visit Mirus Aircraft Seating at AIX, stand no. B10 52 | PAX INTERNATIONAL | OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016
High Performance Headset – Linstol: Set to be unveiled at APEX, Linstol’s new high-end noise-cancelling headset for premium cabins, offers the same customization options and a variety of finishes that Linstol has become known for, making it an attractive option for airlines looking to differentiate or upgrade their current offering. Sound performance, passenger comfort, affordability and designing specifically for the airline cabin environment have always been important characteristics of Linstol’s headset development process, none of which were spared when it came to developing this latest model. Visit Linstol at APEX, stand no.325
On its own for the first time in several years, the International Flight Services Association ended its 50th year and its 51st yearly gathering with two days of networking in America’s Heartland, but looking beyond by RICK LUNDSTROM
central location in a heavily promoted major airline hub city were a few of the reasons organizers at the International Flight Services Association gave for a brisk two days and increased attendance in Chicago. A total of 888 people registered and attended the event held from September 19-21 under the airy ceilings at the McCormick Place on the city’s south side. An opening-day address from a United Airlines Executive laid out the future of technology enabled passenger interaction. The second day, Ritz-Carlton Executive touted the hotel chain’s philosophy of employee-centered service. The Association also rewarded students, as a group 21 underwriters in the IFSA Foundation announced more than $100,000 in scholarships. “This year has been a huge success,” said IFSA President Jane Bernier-Tran, who is in her second year as head of IFSA. “Many IFSA participants have commented about how great the EXPO has been and it has everything to do with great marketing, communications and planning by our hard working IFSA team and committees.” It was the first year in several that the group hosted an event by itself. In the past few years, IFSA held its conference side by side with the Airline Passenger Experience Association in southern California. Bernier-Tran attributed the additional numbers to the vigorous effort of promotion in social media and enhanced outreach by conference organizers and promotional efforts by the McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America. However, Bernier-Tran and her colleague, Airline Passenger Experience Chief Executive Joe Leader, made it clear that the group
Nineteen food companies exhibited at IFSA for the first time in Chicago. Among them Sukhadia that seeking to make inroads among the growing number of airlines establishing routes to India
has plans to move outside the traditional event centered in the United States. “Our reach is to end up with more global presence too. So we are looking at what we can do there,” said Bernier-Tran. The group has recently updated its Food Safety Guidelines that is now in its fourth edition. This year, IFSA chose to add a version in Spanish and hold an informational seminar in Miami. Regional events, in collaboration with APEX will be part of IFSA’s plans in the future, she said. A sold out trade floor had space of 191 stands, among them elaborate displays by catering and cabin solutions provider gategroup and Flying Food Group and the group of longtime distributors and designers such as DFNI, HACO and WESSCO International. This year the group also hosted 19 companies that were exhibiting for the first time, featuring everything from soup and oatmeal to Indian food. The Expo opened with a keynote address from a representative of the hometown airline. Thomas O’Toole Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at United Airlines touched on a familiar theme common to the passenger experience — the future of airline service in the digital age. The second day’s keynote speaker was Jennifer Blackmon, Corporate Director, Culture Transformation at the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center. Much of Blackmon’s presentation centered around the hotel chain’s close association with its employees and the ways they allow employees the freedom and power to make decisions on the spot if they feel that it will improve guest services. Through a series of regular meetings and corporate-wide recognition, she said the company has been
able to compile a strong record of good service and return customers while keeping turnover to a minimum.
gategroup’s new brand
One of the industry’s major suppliers took the occasion of the IFSA Expo to announce its newest inflight retail vision. At gategroup’s stand was the company’s newest “house of brands” that the company will market under the name uqonic, a combination of unique and iconic. To create uqonic, gategroup started with a goal of “elevating the traveler experience by prompting value-adding product that expands the imagination,” said gategroup CEO Xavier Roissinyol in the announcement of the new initiative. Throughout the company’s stand, gategroup showed examples to product development, ranging from service trolleys that dispensed beer and coffee, pizza snacks geared for children — all offering retail return on investment for airlines. In Amsterdam, gategroup has developed a Centre of Excellence where the company seeks to tailor offerings to suit passenger needs, correspond-
Truitt Family Foods recently listed some products on Alaska Airlines. Shown here is Business Development Director Ericka Carlson and President Rod Friesen
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ASSOCIATION NEWS ing with the airline’s brand initiative and gategroup’s supply chain. “Combining our global procurement strategy and retail know-how, we transform our innovative ideas into reality,” said gategroup. The company is also seeking to help airlines train crew into a sales force with an inflight retail certification program called uqonic University.
The last leg to the uqonic brand is the use of a technology platform. With the company’s uqonic OS, airlines will be able to use data tools that will allow passengers to pre-order products and manage waste and shrinkage. Along with the back office, in-cabin products include a smart trolley with integrated track and trace capabilities and duty and tax management.
C A L E N D A R APEX EXPO 2016/Future Travel Experience Asia/Aircraft Interiors Expo Asia, October 24-27, Singapore. For more information, APEX at email@example.com or call 212 297–2177 SIAL Middle East and Mercury Awards December 5-7, Abu Dhabi. For more information contact SIAL Middle East T: +971 (0)2 401 2949 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
2017 Aircraft Interiors Middle East, February 8-9, Dubai For more information Telephone: +971 (0)4 603 3300 or in London: Telephone: +44 (0)20 8846 2700 or http://www.aime.aero/forms/enquiry-form Marine Hotel Association 32nd Annual Conference and Trade Show, April 2-4, Naples Grande Beach and Resort in Naples, Florida For more information: email@example.com or call 415 332 1903 Officials at gategroup led media and visitors through the fine points of the company’s new uqonic brand. Shown here, left to right, John Moriarty Managing Director of Retail Onboard, company CEO Xavier Rossinyol and Jons Hensel Chairman of deSter Corporation, a gategroup company
Preferred Meals chef claims bragging rights
hef PJ Lemoncelli showed visitors to this year’s International Flight Services Association Expo that sometimes a little more time and love is needed to get things right. Despite running six minutes past the allotted time to prepare and plate his entrée and appetizer, and losing points as a result, the Executive Chef at Preferred Meals in in Moosic, Pennsylvania impressed the judges with his entry of an Asian beef tenderloin with sweet and spicy mushroom miso glaze and pan roasted fingerling potatoes. Lemoncelli said he felt his entrée was flavor packed and had proper texture, enough to impress the
Winning Chef PJ Lemoncelli (left) with his sous chef assistant Bruce Jenkins
Aircraft Interiors Expo and World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo, April 4-6, Hamburg For more information, contact WTCE at 44 (0) 20 8271 2181. For AIX Telephone +44 (0)20 8271 2174 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
judges, despite running over time. “I put my heart on the plate and cooked with passion,” he said. This year, the Chefs worked with five ingredients to create the appetizer and entrée: sea asparagus, white miso paste, king trumpet mushrooms, langoustine and beef tenderloin. This is the ninth year IFSA has hosted a chef ’s competition, and this year’s marked the final one for Gate Gourmet Executive Chef Bob Rosar who started the yearly event, and recently retired. Other chefs competing this year were: Ahlam Abdullah of LSG Sky Chefs, John Doggett of Flying Food, and Gaurav Gaur of Emirates Flight Catering. In addition to all-important bragging rights, Lemoncelli will be able to take his wife to Hawaii, winning two tickets from Hawaiian Airlines.
Emirates Flight Catering brought a delegation to the Chefs Competition for the third year. Left to right Executive Chef Mike Borsdorf, Chef Contestant Gaurav Gaur, CEO Saeed Mohammed Ahmad and Duncan Davis Senior Vice President Airport Catering Services
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Chef Bob Rosar, middle, poses for pictures with, left, Chris Kinsella, Vice President of Sales and Services at Gate Gourmet and Tracy Fischbach Director, of Sales and Service at Gate Gourmet
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ZODIAC INFLIGHT INNOVATIONS ZODIAC CABIN Connected Cabin Division