PAX International Seating IFE and Connectivity 2016

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J U N E / J U LY 2 0 1 6 | S P E C I A L I S S U E | w w w . p a x . i n t l . c o m


Seating, IFE & Connectivity


PAX International 26 Pearl Street, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1X2, Canada Tel: (1 905) 821-3344; Fax: (1 905) 821-2777 website:



Aijaz Khan E-mail:

EDITORIAL OFFICES Rick Lundstrom, Editor-in-Chief PAX International 723 Jefferson Street, NE Minneapolis, MN 55413, USA Tel: (1 612) 378-0862 Fax: (1 612) 378-0852 E-mail: Melissa Silva, Editor Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 x21 E-mail: CONTRIBUTORS Mary Jane Pittilla Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile

A R T D E PA R T M E N T Jessica Hearn E-mail:

ADVERTISING OFFICES Kevin Greene, Advertising Sales Executive Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 x31 E-mail: PAX International is published six times a year (January/February, March/April, May, June/July/August, September/October, November/December) by PAX International, 26 Pearl Street, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1X2, Canada. International Distribution. Subscriptions: $200 for one year; $300 for two years; $400 for three years. Art and photographs will not be returned unless accompanied by return postage. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher or editor. June/ July 2016, Special Issue. 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


he news hit just as PAX International was wrapping up a good portion of this second special issue: Britons had voted in a stunning majority to exit the European Union. The analysis was almost a flurried and flustered as the kingdom that was left reeling in the wake of vote. It was also as “real time” as the age we live in. The affects on the travel industry, and all our readers that support it, could be among the most far reaching of any business segment. The very morning the news broke in North America, the International Air Transport Association issued a rather complete report with warnings of “considerable uncertainty.” Among the claims was an estimate there could be a 3% to 5% drop in the number of UK passengers driven by the fall in the sterling exchange rate. Other shocks to the UK economy will cause businesses and households to delay spending and investment decisions. As a result, the family vacation could turn into the well-known term “staycation” that made the rounds in North America during the last big downturn in the economy. IATA gives no hint that a bounceback will occur after the Brexit fears wore off. No, the group said, “Brexit

is expected to be a permanent downward shift in the level of GDP.” The UK market is dominated by outbound air traffic, said the report. Last year, UK residents made 53.9 million visits overseas by air while overseas residents made far fewer — 26.2 million — visits to the UK. Exchange rates and scenarios and regulatory outcomes were analyzed thoroughly in the report. But the direct impact is a drop in air passenger growth of 1% to 1.5% per year in the near term. Suppliers to the airlines know what this means. Less travel means fewer inflight meals to prepare and invoice. Orders for amenity kits get smaller. Passengers make fewer inflight purchases. Exchange rates affect the price of imports and exports. The lazy, hazy days of summer air travel, just got hit with an unexpected storm. The full impact will be known once the final terms are negotiated and the ink dries in the wake of what his been a historic, and, in many circles a completely unexpected event.

Rick Lundstrom Editor-in-Chief, PAX International  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  3


Contents J U N E / J U LY L 2 0 1 6 | S P E C I A L I S S U E | w w w . p a x . i n t l . c o m


SIT BACK AND RELAX Seat suppliers in the Economy Class segment are responding to the challenge of today’s airline and passenger demands with impressive results


Startup Mirus made a splash this year in Hamburg with a massive order from AirAsia. Now, the company’s team is taking its automotive expertise to find its place in the aviation world


With improving the passenger experience top of mind, airlines are looking to innovate their seating and the companies that manufacture the materials are delivering competitive components


PAX International teams up with WTCE 2016 to poll industry attitudes to onboard services




AeroMobile’s 3G service rolls out across the skies as new airlines get connected




This spring, Emirates became the first airline to add Android Pay to its mobile app, and opened the door to more, and easier sales with the help of a company called CellPoint Mobile


Airline partners with MTT and Panasonic Avionics for an app that gives passengers control through the mobile device. Initially the app will be used on the carrier’s new A350s


With no shortage of blockbusters, content providers are getting creative with their IFE offerings, leaving airlines with the tough choice of selecting the right content


With an acquisition, new partnerships and an exciting launch, GEE is continuing to solidify its position as a leader in helping airlines achieve their passenger experience objectives

J U N E / J U LY 2 0 1 6 | S P E C I A L I S S U E | w w w . p a x . i n t l . c o m


ON THE COVER: VIP aircraft seat featuring BOXMARK leather. Photo courtesy of BOXMARK.



The product of Turkish Technic’s research and development division has given its flag carrier a new, cost effective way to deliver entertainment in its medium-haul fleet

30 SUMMER ON THE SCREEN Seating, IFE & Connectivity

As airlines enter a busy summer travel season IFE suppliers have been adding new features and are busy with installations and orders







PAX International has assembled a selection of cutting-edge IFE and tech-savvy products currently on the market

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Hawaiian Airlines launches new Premium Cabin A330s Hawaiian Airlines in May took delivery of its first A330 aircraft featuring fully lie-flat seating in a Premium Cabin that surrounds passengers with island-inspired designs down to a twinkling constellation paying homage to the history of Polynesian navigation. The 18 lie-flat seats were made with curved shells to evoke ocean waves. The seats fold into 180-degree beds that are 20.5 inches wide by 76 inches long. Aligned in a 2-2-2 configuration, passengers seated in the cabin will have access to intuitive seat controls and access to multiple power ports, including two USB connections and one A/C outlet. An advanced in-flight entertainment system is powered by the next generation of large-format tablets resting on an adjustable telescoping arm for optimal viewing angle and comfort. Hawaiian collaborated with California-based consultancy PaulWylde to incorporate flowing curves, while marrying organic textures and bright-saturated color in its Premium Cabin. Italian seat maker Optimares created an exclusive, highly customized seat in premium leather from Poltrona Frau. The airline’s island design is reflected in earth, sand and sea tones alongside natural materials: from the wave-inspired seatback shell to an adjustable privacy partition of natural reeds embedded in resin, and a ‘constellation panel’ between premium and main cabins. In the cabin is a rendering of the constellation, Makali’i, twin-

kling fiber-optic lights. Also known as Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters in Western astronomy, the stars were instrumental in guiding early Polynesian explorers. Hawaiian unveiled plans for its Premium Cabin last year. As part of the upgrade, the airline also adding 28 additional Extra Comfort seats to the A330 aircraft. The Extra Comfort option features 36 inches of seat pitch, priority boarding at the gate, complimentary on-demand in-seat entertainment, and a personal power outlet. Today, Hawaiian’s wide-body, twin-aisle A330-200 aircraft seat 294 passengers, with 18 in Business/First Class, 40 in Extra Comfort and 236 in the Main Cabin. In the new configuration, the aircraft seats 278 passengers, with 18 in the Premium Cabin, 68 in Extra Comfort and 192 in the Main Cabin. Seat pitch in the Main Cabin will remain a roomy 31 inches. Hawaiian’s newly outfitted A330 aircraft’s Premium Cabin entered the carrier’s U.S. West Coast network in June. Sales for the Premium Cabin are expected to commence in the fall, when the first dedicated routes will be revealed along with new signature service elements and a host of new amenities. Hawaiian will phase installation of additional A330 Premium Cabins starting this fall through early 2018. It will have 23 A330s by this summer after taking delivery of its final aircraft type on order.

Polaris business class previewed by United United Airlines unveiled in early June its United Polaris business class, a reimagined, sleep-enhancing, departure-to-landing experience for intercontinental travelers. United will begin to introduce United Polaris on December 1, with the new inflight food and beverage experience, new custom bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue, new amenity kits and the new United Polaris lounge in Chicago. The United Polaris business class seat will first take flight in December on 777-300ER aircraft and subsequently on 787-10 and A350-1000 aircraft, as well as on 767-300 and 777-200 retrofits. “United Polaris will change the game in international business travel with an exceptional level of relaxation and comfort throughout our customers’ journeys,” said Oscar Munoz, president and CEO of United in the June announcement. “This completely reconceived experience exemplifies the new spirit of United and the innovation, excitement and operational momentum across our airline.” United is outfitting its wide body fleet with a seat designed in partnership with Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGoode and manufactured by Zodiac Seats United Kingdom. Each United Polaris seat will offer direct access to the aisle, 180-degree flatbed recline and up to 6 feet 6 inches of bed space. Crafted as individual, forward-facing, suite-like pods, each passenger’s personal suite will feature a “Do Not Disturb” sign, mood lighting, one-touch lumbar support, several storage areas, multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining, a 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen and, for seats in the center of the cabin, electronic privacy dividers. United says it conducted more than 12,000 hours of research, and sleep emerged as the single most important priority for inter6  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JUNE/JULY 2016

national business class travelers. United has worked with Saks Fifth Avenue for custom-designed bedding. The new bedding collection will feature plush duvets, lightweight day-blankets and a large and small pillow for each United Polaris passenger. In addition, mattress cushions will be available upon request. Slippers will be available on all flights, and customized United Polaris pajamas will be available by request on flights longer than 12 hours. Flyers will also be able to request a gel-cooled pillow. New amenity kits will feature ergonomically designed eyeshades, calming lavender pillow mist and additional products from Soho House & Co.’s Cowshed Spa. Each United Polaris passenger will be welcomed with a predeparture beverage and gourmet chocolate. While in the air, regionally influenced in-flight menus will be updated seasonally. They were developed in partnership with The Trotter Project and its critically recognized chefs, among them Bill Kim of acclaimed Chicago restaurants Urbanbelly, bellyQ and Belly Shack. Inflight service will also include made-to-order ice cream sundaes, a dessert cart with a variety of petit dessert options, chocolate truffles and wine flights. On daytime flights longer than eight hours and on all flights longer than 12 hours, hot mid-flight snacks such as lobster macaroni and cheese will be available. United will also open an exclusive portfolio of United Polaris business class lounges in nine locations around the world. The first new United Polaris lounge will open at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on December 1. Lounges in eight other locations – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York/Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong and London Heathrow – will follow in 2017.

AIRLINE NEWS Emirates kicks up its sports content Emirates has added a second dedicated sports channel to its ice TV Live. Now available on more than 90 of its 777 aircraft is Sport 24 Extra, complementing the existing Sport 24 channel to offer double the live sports coverage on ice Digital Widescreen- Emirates’ award winning in-flight entertainment system. Sport 24 Extra and Sport 24 will offer live matches and coverage of the much anticipated top sporting events this summer including UEFA Euro 2016, NBA, Formula 1, Wimbledon, US Open and Moto GP. The two channels will also provide live coverage of the Rio 2016 Olympics this August. A selection of upcoming sporting events that will be available on ice TV Live on board Emirates Rio Olympics (August 2016); Football: Euro 2016 (June 2016), Barclays Premier League (August 2016), Bundesliga (August 2016); Golf: US Open (June 2016), The Open Championship (July 2016), Ryder Cup (September 2016); Tennis: Wimbledon (June - July 2016), US Open Tennis Cham-

pionships (August 2016); Rugby: NRL (June – September 2016); Motorsports: Formula 1 (June - November 2016), Moto GP (June September 2016) Two sports channels are now in the offering on Emirates


Pascall Electronics completes expansion

Pascall Electronics this spring completed a nine-month project at its Isle of Wight facility that has added an additional 6,000 square meters to its plant and reworked operations to streamline workflows. Pascall supplies power solutions that support the IFEC and airborne power needs, with more more than 165,000 systems now installed on commercial airframes. In addition to working with customer on bespoke power systems, Pascall is a regular supplier of power to the IFE hardware companies and satellite communications providers. The expansion was completed around this time of this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo. Part of the construction was a new vibration and environmental test building. The company worked with a third party consulting firm to configure the shop floor from the goods-in to goods-out completion. In addition, Pascall has added a new development and introduction team to speed along new products. The additional space and efficiencies come at an important as the company is looking at a second half of the year with increasing demands by its customers. Andy Baskill, Operations Manager at Pascall Electronics has seen orders and business increase over the previous year.

Pascall Electronics completed an expansion that increased plant size by 20% in April of this year

Reed Exhibitions announces Inaugural World Travel Retail Expo Reed Exhibitions, organizer of the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo has announced this summer the launch of the World Travel Retail Expo (WTRE) in April 2017. The new exhibition will be co-located with the WTCE April 4-6 in Hamburg. Organizers said the Expo would have the latest products available for travel retail, from fragrances and cosmetics to wines and spirits as well as electronics and gifts. It will also provide a place for airline and rail operators looking to expand their onboard retail offering. “As WTCE has risen in popularity, a growing number of travel retail suppliers have recognised the importance of exhibiting and attending WTCE,” said Syreeta Tranfield, Exhibition Director, Reed Exhibitions. “Launching a dedicated event for travel retail was a natural progression and will complement the highly successful WTCE which celebrated its fifth anniversary in this year.” WTRE also feature a networking bar, seminar theatre and suite of private meeting rooms hosted by brand and product suppliers. “We look forward to welcoming visitors to explore the latest inflight products and services, meet with suppliers and discuss effective ways to boost their onboard retail offering to drive sales opportunities and meet the demands of the modern traveller,” Tranfield added.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  7



Recaro’s workhorse seat for economy long haul is the CL3710


Seat suppliers in the Economy Class segment are responding to the challenge of today’s airline and passenger demands with impressive results by



ccording to PAX International’s recent survey of lightweight Economy Class seating suppliers, the market is buoyant, with growth opportunities in both retrofit and linefit. Suppliers are focused on innovation in materials, and they also report an increased effort to design modularity in seating configurations, enabling airlines to customize their cabins. The importance of IFE has also come to the fore, as many airline customers follow the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend and order seats with tablet holders. In this competitive market, lead times are impressively short.

Recaro Aircraft Seating

The CL3710 is Recaro Aircraft Seating’s product highlight for long-range flights in Economy Class. This award-winning seat boasts a lightweight, modern design and substantial comfort. Thanks to its modular construction, it can be adapted to a wide variety of airline requirements. Eighteen patent applications were filed during product development. For example, the ergonomic headrest can be adjusted in six ways, allowing it to suit passengers of different heights. The fully dressed seat (including all standard features, no IFE provisions or seatbelt) weighs 11.6 kilograms. Including IFE provisions, the seat weighs 12.6 kilograms. Recaro works with short lead times. For example, the 3530Swift seat can be delivered in the desired customer configuration within four months. At the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2016, 8  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JUNE/JULY 2016

Recaro won several new orders for the CL3710 seat from Hainan Airlines, Air China and Singapore Airlines. Several issues have had an impact on the design of aircraft seats, Recaro says. The number of requirements relating to weight and shape are increasing. Narrower back and arm rests made of lighter materials play an important role, and every inch of additional space is a big plus for the passenger. Recaro works with what it calls “Ingenious Design”: a combination of sophisticated functionality, the best ergonomics and clear, dynamic aesthetics. Also, when it comes to design, Recaro aims to offer features and options that enable airlines to differentiate themselves from their competition. The importance of modularity has been increasing in recent years. Depending on available space, each airline can customize the seat that best fits into their cabin — visually as well as functionally. A trend that will play an increasingly important role is the growing demand for inflight entertainment. Recaro offers integrated monitors in all seat classes. Many customers are already following the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend and ordering seats with tablet holders.

composite skeleton that the company describes as efficient and also 15% lighter than the current generation seat. The result is a design for increased passenger comfort with both greater legroom and width. Available in fixed back and reclining versions, Series 6 uses passenger experienceorientated design features, including a BYOD integrated tablet holder. The seatback curves gently around the passenger’s natural contours, creating a bucket shape that creates both an ergonomically correct shape and returns the otherwise wasted space to the left and right of the passenger’s hips to the person seated behind. This generates around two inches more room at knee height and allows someone as tall as six foot three inches to easily stretch their legs out to a pitch of 28 inches. Available in single and twin aisle variants, the Series 6 mines the space between the rows for every last mil-

Acro Aircraft Seating

For Acro Aircraft Seating, designing and manufacturing seats is an exercise in balancing two important considerations, cabin economics and passenger experience. Series 6 is a new seat design that ditches the standard aluminum seatback frame and redesigns it as a

The Acro Aircraft Series 6 will be available for retrofit at the end of 2016

limeter of living room. Thanks to its innovative design, the company has also found more space between the seat and the sidewall. The baseline A320 seat offers the window and aisle passengers 18.3 inches between the armrests, and the center passenger 19.1 inches. With Series 6, all three passengers benefit from more elbowroom while maintaining an 18-inch aisle. The Series 6 is currently under certification and will be available for retrofit at the end of this year. The firm already has a launch customer for linefit, with a delivery date of 2017.

Aviointeriors is beefing up production at its Italy plant to produce seating products for all classes


Aviointeriors offers six to eight months standard lead-time on all Economy products in its range. For the leasing market, it is developing a standard narrow body, non-IFE seat delivery of four months after receipt of order. The company has identified a need to support its customers in the leasing market to compete with the used seat market versus new seats on both delivery and price. Noting that 94% of the seating market is covered by the three suppliers — B/E Aerospace, Zodiac Aerospace and Recaro, Jeffrey Forsbrey, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, says the remaining 6% is fiercely contested on price, delivery, quality and reliability. Aviointeriors is pushing its capability and capacity (4,000 seats per month), offering tailored packages to support the airlines’ needs in both price and delivery. Over the past few years, the biggest influences on Economy seat design have

been weight and the integration of IFE systems, including the need to integrate as a minimum standard the USB power option for the use of tablets and phones onboard Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft, says Forsbrey. Seat design to improve passenger comfort at minimal seat pitch has also evolved on all major seat designs, together with seat cushion design, he notes. The integration of memory foam has also been an important development as suppliers try to secure passenger comfort on wide body aircraft.


Since 2013, the French company, Expliseat has produced the lightest aircraft seat in the world. The Titanium Seat for A320s weighs four kilograms. The main features include its resistant structure made of titanium and composite, which have 1,000 times better durability performance (no corrosion, better fatigue resistance) versus the standard seat aluminum. Also, the seat structure is made of very few parts (fewer than 40 parts versus 300 for competitors), which reduces maintenance cost. In 2015, the Titanium Seat for regional aircraft was launched (five kilograms), and a linefit catalog agreement was signed in April 2016 with Air Tahiti as the launch customer. In 2016, Expliseat unveiled the Titanium Seat NEO (5 kilograms), made in partnership with Peugeot. This seat combines the technology of the Titanium Seat with several new features, such as three separated seats developed for flights up to seven hours. The lead-

time is six months. The Titanium Seat NEO delivery starts the first half of 2017. Expliseat notes that in the past few years Economy Class seats have become less comfortable because of airline’s desire to save weight and fuel. Seats now appear thinner, less padded, with less space for the seat pan, and less legroom. “It is based on this assessment that we created the Titanium Seat: a seat which offers the airlines the benefit of having seats which are 50% to 60% lighter than standard seats, but also offers the passengers a great traveling experience with very light, thin and comfortable seats,” says the firm.


In response to the strong market demand for lightweight Economy Class seats and the recent employment of larger aircraft with repurposed layout arrangements on shorter routes, Geven has developed many new product offerings in terms of primary structure design and seating. Essenza is the latest lightweight Economy Class seat. Described as highly optionable and with an Italian appeal, it has two variants: one is pre-reclined for high density configurations and the other is reclinable (up to six inches) in order to extend the product flexibility and guarantee the widest range of options for all customers’ needs. Both models aim to maximize comfort, weight and service life. Essenza weighs 7.9 kilograms for a fully dressed seat, with comfortable yet compact dimensions of 18.3 inches (seat width between armrests), and has

Expliseat worked with French carmaker Peugeot on the NEO  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  9

THE ECONOMY EXPERIENCE inches; ergonomically designed and tested to fit as large as 95th percentile male and as small as 5th percentile female; and industry-leading warranty. Delivery time is as fast as six months, according to seat and customization.

Over the years, HAECO has seen a demand for increased cabin density while providing comfort to build customer loyalty. Also, the airlines have become more responsive to the needs of PED users.

The Elemento from Geven is designed for Economy and Premium Economy and weighs in at a fully dressed 10.9 kilograms

an ultra-slim backrest design solution to significantly increase the knee clearance even at the shortest pitch. Elemento, the new long-haul Economy class/Economy Plus for single aisle product, aims to maximize flexibility, reliability, maintainability, living space, time and cost of installation and comfort onboard. It weighs 10.9 kilograms fully dressed, with comfortable dimensions of 18.3 inches (seat width between armrests), and a four-way adjustable headrest with the option of six-way. In addition, its modern approach to the primary structure design and articulating seat-pan options seek to increase comfort in the relax position and maximize living space.


HAECO’s Vector seat boasts durability with fast, easy maintenance, more common parts in the seat platform and quick-detach, snap-out features. Traditional manufacturing processes combined with advanced composites and carbon fiber construction create a stable platform that maximizes weight efficiencies. The seat width is dependent on the aircraft type, but HAECO has models to support virtually any Y-class configuration. The seat width is 17 inches on a 737 and 18 inches on an A320, but twin-aisle dimensions vary. A Personal Electronic Device (PED) holder is integrated into the upper literature pocket and can accommodate multiple PED sizes. An inventive edge support holds PEDs in place for viewing even when forward seat is reclined. Comfort features include extra living space, thanks to tapered arms for additional lateral/thigh space; bodyhugging backrest; responsive fabric diaphragm seat support; articulating seat pan on long haul; recline up to 6 10  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JUNE/JULY 2016

The Vector Seat from HAECO can be delivered as quickly as six months from order


Acumen Design Associates puts innovative design front and center of its business. The company designed the Economy Smart Seat for Etihad Airways’ new A380 product, which was launched in late 2014. The design features a fixed wing headrest, which not only offers additional head-support but also groups the double seats. Acumen has worked on two Economy concepts that both offer a vision of a better Economy Class experience. It developed a staggered seat concept called the Cozy Suite with Thompson Aerospace. This seat displaced the passengers 10 inches apart, which created privacy and fixed personal space; the shoulders (the widest part) were displaced and therefore prevented contact with passengers side by side; the backrest was fixed, so the passenger in front was not reclining into the person seated behind them. In the space between the headrests Acumen created a place for a fixed pad that provided the passenger with additional head-support. “One of the most frustrating aspects of traveling Economy is having to exit your seat into the aisle to let another passenger out. The Cozy Suite enabled people to stand in the seat area to let others by, thus removing this issue,” says company Associate Anthony Harcup. The other Economy concept, Freedom, displaced shoulders by positioning neighboring passengers forward and aft. This, combined with a cunning treatment of seat pan shape, allowed it to fit an extra column of seats in the aircraft and then slacken off the seat pitch to create 36 inches pitch per passenger. It also provided armrests for all passengers.

The Freedom design from Acumen created 36 inches of pitch per passenger

Another First AeroMobile enabled the first mobile phone call on a commercial flight, and now we are the first to bring 3G to the skies.

Follow us



In December 2015 we launched our inflight 3G network, developed in partnership with Panasonic Avionics, which offers a better connected experience for passengers using their mobile phones inflight.


Hawk rising I

t was the kind of event reserved for gatherings of a much more glamorous nature; but the late afternoon crowd of reporters and others saw a display fit for the cameras and with enough of a big-money punch to make news. AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes blew into the massive halls of the Hamburg Messe in April with a group of flight attendants in tow to stand with executives of UK company Mirus Aircraft Seating and sign contracts for an order of 300 shipsets of the Hawk slim-line Economy Class seat. The first of the production run will be retrofitted on the AirAsia fleet at the end of this year with remainder of the order line fit at Airbus, as AirAsia takes delivery of an order of A320 neos in the years to come. Years earlier in what Mirus CEO Phil Hall called “one of those times when all the moons aligned,” he had the chance to meet what became his first customer, this time it was in the glamorous world of Formula 1 auto racing. Fernandes is the founder of the Caterham F1 Formula One team, which began racing in 2010 as Lotus Racing and raced in 2011 as Team Lotus. Fernandes may also have acquired his taste high profile style from his employer in the 1980s — Richard Branson. He worked in auditing and financial positions for


AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes and Mirus CEO Phil Hall sign off on a major airline seating purchase at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo

Startup Mirus made a splash this year in Hamburg with a massive order from AirAsia. Now, the company’s team is taking its automotive expertise to find its place in the aviation world by RICK LUNDSTROM Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Records. Hall was working at the time on the Toyota Formula 1 racing team. Both men have now exited the sport. But when Hall left he put together a different kind of team, this one made up of experienced executives from the automotive industry. His engineering background gives the company a clean sheet approach to the airline seating industry, one that is not wanting for parallels and comparisons to his previous job. Production controls, supply chain

The A320neo is the workhouse of the AirAsia fleet

controls and logistics to support medium to high production are all important tools to bring to the manufacturing of aviation seating, said Hall. Over the next two to three months, manufacturing and tooling will be completed on assembly equipment for the company’s UK plant. Subcontractors have been selected from the UK, mainland Europe and the United States for leather dress covers, foam and other parts of the seating; and by the end of the year the first of the Hawk line will be ready for A320 retrofit.

The Mirus Hawk boasts simple design and lightweight

The seats installed by Mirus are part of a has placed a firm order for 200 A320neo aircraft that AirAsia placed in 2011. The contract, announced at the Paris Air Show today, was the largest order ever placed for the A320 Family and makes AirAsia the biggest airline customer for the Airbus single aisle product line worldwide. The next year, confirmed its order of another 100 new Airbus A320 aircraft for delivery until 2021. Deliveries began in 2013. With the company’s first foray into aircraft seating, Hall said Mirus aimed for a high-quality seat from a mostly conventional palate of materials. As a start, the Hawk will have few “exotic” materials, he pointed out. A completed model for AirAsia will have a slim profile outfitted with leather, a recline, standard length armrests and a USB power port. At 18 inches wide, the Hawk comes in at just under nine kilograms. AirAsia plans to outfit the Hawk seat in Economy Class at a pitch of 29 inches. The frame of the Hawk is fully composite and free of many moving parts found in seating of years past. Fernandes said he chose the Hawk because of its advanced design and manufacturing capabilities and the commitment Mirus made to deliver an affordable customized solution. “Innovation is the lifeblood of AirAsia, and these new lightweight seats will ensure that we remain at the

Mirus uses subcontractors from Europe, the UK and the United States for its seating components

cutting edge of cabin experience while maintaining leadership and delivering the same great flying experience for our guests,” said Fernandes, in the announcement of the contract for the seating this past April in Hamburg. AirAsia Group Head of Engineering Anaz Ahmad Tajuddin also praised the company’s expertise and its experience with composite materials. “We admire their willingness to think beyond the boundaries of traditional economy seat design in interpreting our vision,” he added. Despite the impressive order, Mirus is not resting on its laurels, said Hall. It has a task ahead, and that is convincing the industry, and importantly the world’s two large aircraft manufacturers, that the company’s plan to wed automotive techniques and knowhow into another industry is a way to separate Mirus from competitors. “We will be able to demonstrate to Boeing and Airbus that we have a really robust and contemporary system which is heavily, heavily influenced by automotive processes, albeit under the umbrella of aviation quality, approval and certification,” he said. One of the ways that the company can set itself apart is to take those skills and succeed in making timely deliveries, an aspect of the airline seating industry that has had its share of failures over recent years. Once manufacturing is up and running at Mirus, Hall said the

company has set a goal to have an order to market in under 12 weeks. To help the process along, engineering and flame testing will be carried out in house. “Part of my training has been reaction and turning things around in an ultra-short time, so I’m very keen to keep that ethos running through the company,” said Hall. The commercial aviation industry also has a longstanding preoccupation with weight. At nine kilograms the Hawk competes well with the line of Economy Class seating. From his years on the Toyota Formula 1 team, Hall said he comes from a segment of the automotive world that was “obsessed with weight” and the company, in developing the Hawk seat made the process a one of honing out the last grams of additional weight before presenting the finished product. Even as Hall and his team bring a wealth of experience from a closely related industry he said there will be more challenges to making a highquality airline and selling it to airlines. It is important to him to bring the best and most pertinent techniques from one manufacturing sector, in his case automobiles to another. “You need to be really careful and appraise what parts of those industries are relevant and can really add value to your organization, and credibility,” he said.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  13


XTREME Aircraft and XLIGHT Aircraft, BOXMARK’s two leather seating products were developed for seats in First, Business and Economy Class, as well as for seating on VIP airlines (pictured)

What’s in

a seat?

With improving the passenger experience top of mind, airlines are looking to innovate their seating and the companies that manufacture the materials are delivering competitive components by


lthough a traveler will spend hours sitting in one, it is hard to say whether many give any thought to exactly how it was made — what materials were used, what technologies were applied — caring more about how comfortable it is during the duration of their flight. The ‘it’ in question, is of course, the aircraft seat. It is no secret that the need and wants of both passenger and airline often vary when it comes to aircraft seating. While passengers predominantly seek comfort and space, airlines often prioritize longevity and look for lightweight options to reduce costs. Even though the needs and

Divinycell F, a structural foam core developed by Diab, is currently used by four of the major First and Business Class (pictured) seat manufacturers for seats on the 777, 787, A330, A350 and A380



wants may vary, a shared focus of many airlines as of late is improving the passenger experience; and the seat in which the subject of this experience sits, is a good place to start. “The passenger experience is becoming more important than it was in the past,” says Chris Kilbourn, Market Segment Manager of Global Aerospace for Diab. “I think weight and longevity is a given thing that is always important, but nowadays airlines look for more, like comfort and ease of use.” With comfort being the most important seat attribute for arguably most passengers, airlines are looking for ways to incorporate a higher level of comfort into seating — especially in Economy Class — to better the experience on board. “I think the most important thing is comfort,” says Kilbourn. “Nothing is worse than sitting on a long-haul flight in a seat that is uncomfortable. Secondly, the space between the seats and also to the seat in front of you is important. It is very annoying with food trolleys bumping in to the seats because the space in the aisle is too tight. Many airlines try to tighten the aisle space so additional seats can be installed. This is understandable from a revenue

perspective, but airlines have to find a balance so as not to create unhappy passengers who will end up avoiding a specific aircraft or airline as a result of a bad experience.” Diab, a company that has been in the aerospace industry for more than 30 years as a supplier of foam core to business and VIP jets, has been involved in many commercial aircraft programs with its legacy product Divinycell HT, which was used to manufacture overhead bin doors on 747s and is still used for radomes. Recently, Divinycell F foam core has been introduced in several commercial interior applications. Divinycell F, a structural foam core developed and produced by Diab, is used in several Business and First Class seats due to several benefits versus honeycomb, including: it offers design freedom as it is easier to produce curved and machined parts with; it is lighter, more ductile and resistant to impact loads; and it features thermal and acoustical properties. Divinycell F is used in other commercial aircraft applications as well, such as galleys, overhead bins window frames, and edge close outs on honeycomb parts. “The surface of a part made of Divinycell F gets better use out of the tool, which then requires less sweep and sand,

which saves labor, making final part costs less than when using honeycomb,” explains Kilbourn. “Since Divinycell F has closed cells and very low water absorption, no edge filling is required. When using inserts, less putty is needed compared to honeycomb. All this together gives a lighter panel compared to a traditional honeycomb solution.” According to Kilbourn, a foam core panel tends to have better damage tolerance when compared to honeycomb. “The bonding between the skin and the core is much better with a foam core compared to honeycomb,” he says. “We have customers that have proven this by dropping panels made of honeycomb and Divinycell F. The panels made of Divinycell F performed much better.” For airlines looking for longevity, it would be useful to look into seating made with Divinycell F, as it has good fatigue properties and when combined with low water absorption, makes for a very suitable material with a long life expectancy. Divinycell F is currently used by four of the major First and Business Class seat manufacturers for seats on the 777, 787, A330, A350 and A380.

Modernizing comfort

While alternatives exist, when discussing the materials used to manufacture aircraft seating, it is impossible to not circle back to honeycomb, especially as it pertains to longevity. Supracor, the originator of flexible, fusion-bonded honeycomb — a flexible version of aerospace honeycomb made from thermoplastics fused without the need for adhesives — introduced Stimulite® honeycomb in the early 1990s as an anti-decubitus wheelchair cushion. “Aerospace honeycomb and the flexible version, Stimulite, which Supracor produces, has a proven ability to uniformly distribute weight — important for people who sit for long periods,” says Susan Wilson, Vice President of Supracor. In addition to uniform weight distribution, Stimulite cushions address other primary causes of pressure ulcers, which are heat and moisture. “For wheelchair users, we designed a cushion that was completely ventilated to minimize the heat build-up associated with long-term sitting. This same benefit is available for passengers — eliminating the heat build-up that occurs over several hours,” she explains. Because it is anisotropic — having multiple degrees of resistance — Stimulite

contours to the body, making it feel comfortable with a pleasant sensation of support, thanks to hundreds of cellular walls supporting the passenger and more than 90% of open space. “Because Stimulite cushions can eliminate heat build-up, passengers stay more comfortable and don’t shift around in their seats,” adds Wilson. With seats continually getting smaller, a comfortable cushion can benefit both airlines and passengers. Unlike foam cushions, Stimulite cushions are completely washable providing airlines with significant cost savings, since foam cushions cannot be recycled and therefore end up in landfills. “One major U.S. airline replaces on average 1,800 cushions per week for various reasons, including bed bugs,” Wilson shares. “If one is found, all of the cushions must be replaced and the fees to dispose of them in a landfill are significant. So with Stimulite cushions being washable and recyclable, the cost of ownership is very attractive.” Produced from thermoplastic urethane, an advanced material produced for Supracor by BASF that is very resilient with excellent hydrolytic stability, Stimulite cushions do not absorb moisture from the aircraft, which can occur with traditional foam cushions. Moisture can cause the cushions to break down prematurely and also add weight to the aircraft. “Because Stimulite cushions typically last longer than foam cushions and can be recycled at end of life, they have a great sustainability story,” says Wilson. Stimulite cushions are currently featured in Economy Class on Swiss International Airlines’ new 777 aircraft on long-haul flights.

A different approach

When looking to add a bit of luxury to aircraft seating, airlines often look to leather. BOXMARK Leather, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality upholstery leather and interior/ exterior components for the aviation, automotive, marine, railway and furniture industry, supplies leather hides as well as finished sewed seat covers to major airlines and seat manufacturers for seats in Business and Economy Class, as well as for completion and refurbishment centers. For aircraft seating, BOXMARK has developed two types of leather —

XTREME Aircraft, a hardwearing leather and XLIGHT Aircraft, a lightweight leather. Awarded the “Certificate of Material Excellence” from Material ConneXion® for an advanced, innovative and sustainable material, XTREME guarantees protection against dirt and wear and is easy to clean. A unique innovation and the result of many years of research and development, XTREME is a hardwearing leather for countless areas of use both indoors and outdoors. XTREME is highly: UV-resistant, seawater resistant, blood and urine resistant, oil resistant, rub resistant, sweat resistant, resistant to tearing and tear propagation, resistant to mold and disinfection agent resistant. This special leather boasts all-around protection, from the surface through the entire width to the back of the material. XLIGHT, when compared to prevalent leather, is convincing due to its weight of 600 grams/square meter (finished laminated) and reduces the total weight of each aircraft, resulting in fuel savings for the airline and consequently lower pollutant emissions. XLIGHT meets all international standards, is easy to clean, durable and is an apt solution for efficient weight reduction, as it is 25% lighter than standard aircraft leather. “Both XTREME and XLIGHT offer longer refurbishment intervals for the carriers, aircraft owners and airport operators; cleanliness, comfort and luxury ambiance for passengers; and cost savings for the airlines,” says Marjan Trobis, CEO of BOXMARK Leather. BOXMARK’s latest innovation sees the company getting off the seat and onto the floor, a leather floor that is, which the company has developed with F/LIST in Thomasberg, Austria. A close-up look at Supracor’s Stimulite honeycomb and innovative seat and back  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  15


Tapping industry trends PAX teams up with WTCE 2016 to poll industry attitudes to onboard services special to



he World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE®) 2016 recently teamed up with PAX International to poll industry attitudes towards onboard services, ranging from Wi-Fi and multimedia services to the future of airline catering. Responses were gathered online from PAX International readers as well as in person at the 5th Anniversary WTCE last April in Hamburg. The results provided insight into the industry’s views on the latest technology trends as well as the food we can expect to see onboard in the future.

Connecting onboard

A quick look at recent industry headlines reveals the growing availability of Wi-Fi on board both air and rail services, with the likes of flydubai and Deutsche Bahn (DB) both announcing it would soon supply onboard internet to its passengers. PAX International readers and WTCE visitors polled at the Hamburg Messe in April revealed complimentary Wi-Fi would take center stage in future technology upgrades. Fifty-five percent of the respondents said they would look to implement complimentary Wi-Fi for their passengers, while 20% would look to roll out complimentary Wi-Fi to first and business class passengers only. Multimedia services are also set to be strengthened onboard with 40% looking to offer live TV and film streaming, 15% keen to offer music streaming services and a further 15% are considering enabling access to social media services. However, in light of recent news that many airlines are restricting videostreaming capabilities used in apps such as Snapchat due to slow internet speeds, it may be some time before these services are seamlessly delivered on board.

Onboard catering trends

PAX readers and exhibition visitors were also asked for their opinions on 16  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JUNE/JULY 2016

the future of onboard catering and the trends we can expect to see on air and rail services. When asked about the main trends driving the onboard food and drink offering, 50% of respondents ranked “free-from foods” as the most important in response to growing consumer demands for gluten-, wheat- and dairy-free foods. Thirty percent of those polled identified healthy, natural snacks as a growing trend onboard, while regional cuisines (12.5%), diet friendly options (2.5%) and adventurous tastes (2.5%) were among the options to take a back seat. Reflecting the demand for freefrom foods, a number of exhibitors at WTCE 2016 showcased free-from product ranges with Lovemore Free From Foods, a division of Welsh Hills Bakery offering visitors a taste of its gluten-, wheat- and mostly dairy-free biscuits, cookies, cakes, tarts and fruit pies. The Bake Factory also showcased its gluten free pizzas and wraps while BestPartner Food revealed a range of allergy free meals and gluten-free pastas. Trends driving the First and Business Class offering were also put under the spotlight, with PAX readers and visitors to the Hamburg Messe highlighting the popularity of celebrity chefs, with 33% looking to establish new partnerships to expand the onboard offering. This comes as no surprise — celebrity chefs have been hitting the headlines across the air, rail and cruise industries with American Airlines announcing it will partner with chef/restaurateur/Chopped judge Maneet Chauhan, pioneering Hawaiian chef Sam Choy, as well as Dallas’s Italian food specialist Julian Barsotti and Michelinstarred UK chef, Mark Sargeant. Elsewhere in the industry, award-winning chef Theo Randall and UK chef James Martin are set to offer P&O cruise guests an insight into everything from making pasta to hosting wine tastings. Speaking about the poll results,

“We can’t wait to see how these trends take shape, and look forward to more insights into industry opinions when WTCE returns to Hamburg in 2017.”

– Syreeta Tranfield, Event Director, World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo Syreeta Tranfield, WTCE Exhibition Director added: “Partnering with PAX International has offered us a unique insight into air and rail operators views on multimedia and onboard catering services and how they’re set to develop over the next 12 months. We can’t wait to see how these trends take shape, and look forward to more insights into industry opinions when WTCE returns to Hamburg in 2017.” The next WTCE will take place in Hamburg from April 4-6, 2017 and will be co-located with the inaugural World Travel Retail Expo (WTRE), dedicated to suppliers of onboard retail items and services. To book your stand at the 2017 shows, contact Mara Veith at mara.veith@reedexpo. or +44 (0) 20 8910 7193.

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SKYFE to fly I

n the three years since it started operations on the Asian side of Istanbul, the sprawling Turkish Technic complex has been concentrating its efforts on providing maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities to the country’s flag carrier, while behind the scenes carrying out research and development of onboard products, from seating to galley equipment and most recently, inflight entertainment. One project that was generating meetings at Turkish Technic’s Research and Development Center when PAX International visited in July of 2015, was the production of an inflight entertainment system. The components used for the product fit the mold for simplicity and low cost ways to deliver entertainment to passengers through onboard distributed tablets and personal electronic devices. Recently completing testing are the company’s SKYFE-T tablet product and SKYFE-W wireless system. In March of this year, the hard work paid off as Turkish Airlines announced that the SKYFE system had won tender with seven competing companies to have the system installed on 44 aircraft. Planned for the installation will be both SKYFE products. The rest of the order by Turkish Airlines is scheduled for completion by late this year, or early 2017. Installations will be on the Turkish Airlines 737s and A320s. To develop the SKYFE line, Turkish Technic worked with Havelsan, a Turkish software company. Also the company used embedded computing technology (ECT) and IFEC avionics supplier, Kontron, a Germany based company to deploy its inte-


The product of Turkish Technic’s research and development division has given its flag carrier a new, cost effective way to deliver entertainment in its medium-haul fleet

grated, application-ready platforms. Kontron provided the hardware products necessary to implement the cabin wi-fi network in the SKYFE system, including the ACE flight server and the Cab-n-Connect wireless access point. “Havelsan is the project main partner,” said Yahya Üstün, Senior Vice President of Media Relations for Turkish Airlines. “The contribution of Havelsan is basically software development which consists of aircraft server operation software: GUIs, DRM Solutions, system integration lab test software and Android and IOS applications.” Havelsan worked with the Turkish Technic research and development team and made use of the company’s EASA and Part-21 design organization team to obtain system qualifications and certifications. What will be flying will be a SKYFEW system where passengers can download apps from Google Play and the Apple Store to their personal electronic devices even during preflight and access a system of audio and video on demand, flight maps, electronic publications surveys and other services for entertainment during the flight. Turkish Airlines plans to use the company’s SKYFE-T system on flights where IFE is not installed. Passengers in Business Class will receive high-resolution pre-loaded tablets that will also give passengers access to the SKYFE-W wireless system, if it is installed on the aircraft. Capacity for the two SKYFE systems working together is 1.8 terabytes — enough storage capacity for 480 hours of movies and 1,000 CDs as well as audio books and games. Turkish Airlines pur-

chases content directly from movie studios, where it is prepared at the SKYFE content preparation lab and encrypted. Even though development of the SKYFE system took place in the shadow of the country’s flag carrier, Üstün insists that the Turkish Technic product had to earn its way aboard the aircraft. “There is a strong competition among rival companies in the IFE industry,” he said. “SKYFE has competed against several global players within the IFE sector and still managed to come out on top. The main winning factor was offering high quality and rich content with a reasonable price.” Will the features that sold Turkish Airlines on the SKYFE system be attractive enough for other airlines? Dustan said the company has been showing the system to several potential customers at exhibitions. “Turkish Technic has prospects for accommodating other airlines that are interested in providing outstanding IFE experience to their customers,” said Üstün. The installation to Turkish Airlines aircraft will not have a significant effect concerning the waiting period for other customers. “The system is already certified and ready to be installed, there is no need to worry about it.” The work at Turkish Technic Research and Development hasn’t been limited to inflight entertainment. In February of this year Turkish Airlines noted that it had taken delivery of its 300th aircraft, an A330-300, with a ceremony at Atatürk International Airport in the new hangar of Turkish Technic. The A330-300 was the first aircraft to be equipped with galleys from TCI —Turkish Cabin Interiors — and Economy Class seats from TSI —Turkish Seat Industries — all manufactured in Turkey. The new aircraft will be deployed on the existing medium- and longhaul routes from the Turkish Airlines Istanbul hub, adding more capacity to enhance the airline’s growth strategy.

Turkish Airlines and David Guetta singing UEFA EURO’s song Turkish Airlines was taking David Guetta’s UEFA EURO 2016TM anthem to the 24 competing nations in this summer’s football tournament The star’s music video for This One’s For You was unveiled June 10. The Turkish Airlines presented video clip amassed nearly half a million views within its first day. Turkish Airlines is the Official Airline Partner to this summer’s competition. Passengers traveling on Turkish Airlines will be able to stream it on their inflight entertainment systems. As part of Turkish Airline’s #EuropesBest campaign, the flag carrier has also teamed up with music streaming service Spotify. To bring to life the diversity of Europe’s footballing fans, the top-charting songs from each competing nation is aggregated into a playlist (called Europe’s Best Songs), which is available on Spotify or on the campaign’s microsite, “Music has always been a big part of football,” said Ahmet Olmuştur, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Turkish Airlines. “Chants that echo around stadiums have brought fans together for decades, and this new song and video from David Guetta will do just that. Turkish Airlines is thrilled to be featured in the This One’s For You video, and we’re all looking forward to a successful tournament.” ‘This One’s For You’ was written and produced by David Guetta and features Swedish pop sensation Zara Larsson. One million fans also took part in the recording of the song through a special application created by UEFA. David Guetta performed the song at a free concert under the Eiffel Tower in Paris in June. It has been a summer of exclusives for Turkish Airlines inflight entertainment. In early June Turkish offered its passengers the inflight chance to see the blockbuster action adventure movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Beginning June 1 — a full month before other carriers — Turkish Airlines featured the film on its inflight entertainment systems. This summer Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

premiered on select routes within the airline’s system. “We are pleased to be the first airline to offer Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to our passengers. The movie portrays a sense of adventure which is also shared by Turkish Airlines passengers who have a desire to widen their world,” said Ahmet Olmuştur, Turkish Airlines’ Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In April one the four-wheeled co-star of the movie — the Batmobile — was brought to Istanbul by Turkish Airlines to travel cross-continent for the first time via the new bridge of Istanbul; ‘Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge’ over the Bosphorus.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  19


Staying connected by


AeroMobile was the first mobile network to install and activate 3G inflight connectivity on commercial flights

AeroMobile’s 3G service rolls out across the skies as new airlines get connected


few months ago, in preparation for PAX International’s March/April issue, which was distributed at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, I chatted with the team about AeroMobile’s latest developments including the launch of the first inflight 3G services in conjunction with Panasonic Avionics. As PAX International put together this issue, they decided to catch up with the UK-based mobile service provider for an update and I was happy to bring them up to speed. As mentioned in the AIX issue, in December of last year, AeroMobile was the first mobile network to install and activate 3G inflight connectivity on commercial flights. The 3G network offers passengers an improved inflight experience with data speeds much closer to those experienced on the ground. The 3G network will continue to be rolled out in the coming months with existing and new airline partners. 20  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JUNE/JULY 2016

What are the benefits of 3G connectivity?

Regarding the benefits of using 3G connectivity, it provides a substantial increase in data speeds, faster browsing, quicker posts and more responsive apps, which makes for happier passengers and thus a more enjoyable inflight experience. Offering an improved passenger experience with connectivity that is much closer to the service experienced by the user on the ground is a substantial feat, not to mention a world first. As mentioned, the 3G service has been developed in partnership with Panasonic Avionics and is part of its GCS (Global Communications Suite), designed to enhance the passenger inflight experience and complement the Wi-Fi service on board, giving passengers the option to choose how they connect during their flight, offering significant convenience. AeroMobile services enable passengers to call, text and use mobile data whilst inflight. Data is the fastest growing mobile service inflight and usage increased by 50% in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2015, with SMS and Mobile

data being the most used services, accounting for 80% of all usage. Mobile data is typically used to check emails, browse the Internet, and send WhatsApp messages or update social media. Interestingly, flights to Sweden, the U.S and the Netherlands have the highest data usage per flight.

How to connect

Benefits aside, how it all works is a common question for many passengers. Luckily, it’s quite easy. To connect to the AeroMobile network inflight, passengers simply take their mobile phone out of airplane mode and it will automatically connect to the network. Billing is done via the passenger’s home mobile operator, so there is no onboard payment or registration. Another common question is cost. Although the price of roaming inflight is higher than on the ground because of the additional satellite costs, prices are in fact coming down. AeroMobile is helping operators provide attractive roaming packages for passengers. For example, several operators now provide passengers unlimited data roaming inflight for an attractive fixed rate tariff.

Where to access 3G inflight connectivity

A third of AeroMobile’s airline partners now offer 3G connectivity on selected aircraft — and that number is growing. So far this year, the average usage per flight is already double on aircraft with 3G compared to those without. The first airline to offer 3G was airberlin, which launched the service last December, and now others are adopting the latest technology with

3G services already being rolled out across multiple airlines. This of course, is a good sign for the future, for both airlines and the passengers they wish to please and attract for repeat trips. 3G connectivity is now available on a number of flights serving global destinations across Asia, Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East. The 3G network has been installed on a range of airframes, including the new state-of-the-art 787-9 Dreamliner,

A350s, A340s and A330s — with more to follow in the coming months. Several other existing and new airline partners will also be connecting to the network throughout the year. The 3G connectivity service will be available on a wide variety of air frames, including the A320, A330, A340, A350, 777 and 787. If anything, this news is an indication that substantial changes are happening in the inflight connectivity sector, making it a (air) space to watch.

A look at how to connect to the AeroMobile network inflight  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  21



Kristian Gjerding, CEO of CellPoint

Android pay This spring, Emirates became the first airline to add Android Pay to its mobile app, and opened the door to more, and easier sales with the help of a company called CellPoint Mobile by RICK LUNDSTROM


he scene plays out day after day and around the clock in every major travel location: a passenger on the move is doing business, communicating and moving through a world that is linked by a digital grid that is growing and reforming itself with every technological advancement. With the fast paced life of travelers comes opportunities to reach out to them via their mobile devices with new options that make purchasing easier even for big-ticket items, such as airline travel and all its ancillary services. And all of this can be completed with a just few clicks in the palm of a consumer’s hand. Worldwide, digital travel sales surpassed US$533 billion in 2105, a full 13.3% increase from 2014, according to eMarketer. The market tracker expects another year of double-digit growth in 2016, and by 2019, people on the move could spend up to US$762 billion using digital devices while they are traveling. Last year, eMarketer estimated that nearly 73 million people accessed digital travel content through their mobile devices. With such a vast potential to reach passengers, forward thinking airlines, like Emirates have reached out to companies like CellPoint Mobile to make the standard airline app downloaded by millions into a smart, easyto-use vehicle for accessing consumers. In May of this year, Emirates made the move to add the Android Pay platform in the United Kingdom. With the platform, passengers have a secure and simple source to purchase tickets, pay for baggage fees and other ancillary products with a mobile phone. The payment option went live on May 18. “Every day we are seeing big uptakes,”


said Kristian Gjerding, CEO of CellPoint mobile. Now, he said it is not uncommon for people to spend US$4,000 booking travel using mobile payments. In the tech-savvy Nordic regions, more than 210 million funds transfers per year are done with a mobile phone. Airlines are leading the way in mobile payments via apps. As many as 23 billion transport tickets are expected to be purchased globally via mobile by 2020. CellPoint’s Mobile’s integration with Android Pay makes Emirates the world’s first airline to integrate a “Buy with Android Pay” prompt for its passengers using its mobile app. With Android Pay fully integrated into CellPoint’s platform, the company says it can roll out the options with new airline clients in a period of days or weeks as opposed to months in the past. “We want to make it easier for businesses like Emirates to offer a faster in-app payment solution for their passengers,” said Pali Bhat, Director of Product Management for Google. “With Android Pay, people will be able to speed through checkout with the Android phones in as few as two clicks.” Gjerding insists that airlines can realize revenue opportunities by integrating more mobile-friendly paths to purchase for their passengers and with steps such as the addition of Android Pay. With such platform payment solutions can be brought to market quickly and easily, especially given the pace of change in the payment solutions ecosystem. Gjerdin and Jonatan Buus formed CellPoint Mobile in 2007. From the beginning, the company turned its focus on building a mobile solutions platform and in 2009 broke into the transporta-

tion sector with Danish Rail. Since then, Gjerding said the company has grown to supply mobile payment solutions for several other airlines and has expanded to the point where it sees transportation industries as its major customer. “We connect their travelers with the airline brand and enable these travelers to pay easier,” Gjerding said. Constructing an airline app is increasingly done by finding companies that provide components for its completion that can be easily added to the list of offerings The company operates on what it calls a “mobile first/mobile always” strategy, that keeps up with shifting consumer preferences that it says is moving rapidly from cash and card payment to smartphones and mobile devices. Among the company’s products are a mobile booking engine where passengers can search, select and book and pay tickets and travel ancillaries. A payment gateway called mPoint™ allows companies to implement, edit and delete and update payment components and payment service providers. An off-the-shelf product called mWallet™ gives passengers the ability for single sign-on and one-click checkout. Back office products by CellPoint can monitor transactions and transactional data and manage a range of payment services and transactions. CellPoint Mobile has its operational headquarters in Copenhagen and corporate headquarters in London. It has expanded its operations to open up support offices in Dubai, Miami and Pune, in India. All tolled, the company and its 60 employees are doing business in 20 countries.

app SIA launches

for IFE


The airline partners with MTT and Panasonic Avionics for an app that gives passengers control through the mobile device. Initially the app will be used on the carrier’s new A350s by RICK LUNDSTROM

Second screen capability combining a passengers personal device and an airline’s inflight entertainment is the strategy behind the launch of the Singapore Airlines app for IFE


his past May Singapore Airlines introduced what it said was a first-of-its-kind mobile application for passengers to control inflight entertainment viewing before boarding the aircraft. The companion app was developed for the airline by Singapore Airlines by MTT and Panasonic Avionics. With the app, passengers can review the IFE video and audio content that will be available on their flight, select a list of favorites and control the seat-back IFE system — all using their personal electronic devices. For a start, the app was available on iOS and Android tablets. The airline plans to add iOS and Android mobile phones in the second quarter of 2016. The app is installed with the SingaporeAir tablet application before the aircraft’s departure. Once on board, passengers can link their device to the IFE system using the aircraft’s inflight Wi-Fi network. Connecting to the KrisWorld inflight entertainment platform, passengers can view movies, TV shows or listen to music to be launched on the seat monitor, directly from their list of favorites or the any other selection.

With the app, a passenger’s personal device can be used as a remote control, to pause, play, or skip through media content. “SIA will be the first airline in the world to enable this on a Panasonic inflight entertainment system,” said a release from Singapore airlines. “Customers will be able to multi-task, thereby maximizing their experience of KrisWorld, such as by browsing through the index of KrisWorld content on their device while watching a movie on the seat monitor. Customers can even access real-time information on the flight progress and flight path without interrupting their movie viewing.” Current features of the companion app will initially be available on the Airline’s new fleet of A350-900s, with plans to progressively roll it out to the 777-300ERs and other aircraft. “With the proliferation of personal mobile devices and the arrival of our new A350 fleet, this latest innovation will help enhance the inflight entertainment experience for our customers,” said Singapore Airlines Senior Vice President Product and Services, Tan Pee Teck.

Singapore Airlines’ KrisWorld IFE system offers up to 295 movies, over 470 TV programs and more than 450 CD albums each month. “We believe personalization will be the one of the key trends in the inflight experience going forward, and we’re very excited Singapore Airlines shares that vision,” said Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics. “The symbiosis of the onboard IFEC network and the travelers’ personal devices will be the key to a seamless travel process. As the launch customer for our companion application functionality they will deliver the first mobile app ever that spans across the whole travel process. This represents the first in a series of new innovations around mobile device integration from Panasonic that will transform the inflight entertainment experience.” The companion app also creates a second screen for passengers, where they can review the entire inflight entertainment library, read a digital inflight magazine, or watch the moving map, without interrupting their movie and overall seatback passenger experience.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  23


What to


With no shortage of blockbusters, content providers are getting creative with their IFE offerings, leaving airlines with the tough choice of selecting the right content by

Lionsgate will be releasing the first two seasons of Casual, a co-production with Hulu



t is one of the first things a passenger checks once seated and for some, it can make or break a good flight. ‘It’ is an airline’s inflight entertainment selection. Aside from the food and beverage offering, an airline’s IFE offering can be the one thing a passenger will remember about their onboard experience, either favorably or not. And it is not just the variety of content; passengers are also looking for choice when it comes to how the content is enjoyed, whether on a seatback screen or on a PED. “Today’s airline passengers seek ubiquitous content,” says Mark Sgriccia, Vice President, Content Operations and Strategy at Lionsgate Entertainment, Inc. “In flight, you can currently watch content through overhead screens, embedded video-on-demand systems, personal handheld devices (owned by the passenger or the airline) or laptop computers and/or DVD players. Our Penny Black Media is currently working with a new Le Carre thriller, Our Kind of Traitor starring Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard, Naomie Harris and Damian Lewis

goal is to make Lionsgate content accessible in all of these ways and more as the passenger experience evolves.” Sgriccia adds that passengers equipped with their own personal electronic devices are just the “tip of the iceberg,” since streaming Wi-Fi, the introduction of high dynamic range (HDR) content and virtual reality could all have an impact on content availability and passenger consumption. Liz Wilson, Sales Manager of Discovery Private Networks, says they are not seeing a drop in program licensing yet, but with over 50% of passengers streaming content to personal devices, more airlines adding Live TV channels, and streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix making Discovery Private Networks’ content available to its members, they expect program licensing to begin to drop in the next several years. According to Soni Agnani, Global

Sales Director for Turner Inflight Services, while a substantial number of passengers are often looking to view their own content on board, a majority still rely on the airlines’ selection, since it gives passengers access to a variety of content that may not be available at home. Mark Horton, Head of Worldwide Sales for Cinesky Pictures, sees the rapid change to digital platforms as a huge improvement for airlines, their passengers and content providers, specifically the quality of the IFE offering. “Quality will continue to improve — both picture and sound,” he says. “In fact, I think audio technology could be an area that sees big changes. Wouldn’t it be great not being tethered to a headset and have the sound coming from speakers in the seat?” Cathie Trotta, Managing Director for California-based Penny Black Media says the move towards streaming content to personal devices is already having a positive impact, in that it allows for more volume and variety. “This trend will no doubt grow and we welcome that opportunity,” she adds.

Variety, the spice of life

While the influx of PEDs on board and the consequent demand for the ability to stream IFE content on said devices is undeniable, a significant concern for most passengers is the variety of content selection, with some forms of content sought after more than others. Providing this variety has thus become a top priority for airlines, as doing so will aid in creating an enjoyable inflight experience for passengers. 24  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JUNE/JULY 2016

Space travel Sometimes we all need a little extra room T +44 1737 304700

CONTENT PROVIDERS “We definitely see the scale tilt towards new releases,” says Lionsgate’s Sgriccia. “Airlines are also experimenting with alternative forms of content, such as Digital/Short Form or content from social influencers. Examples of this experimentation from Lionsgate include Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland and the upcoming Dirty 30, starring Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart.” While passengers want a diverse variety of programs to choose from, Discovery Private Network’s Wilson says airline’s needs are just as varied as the wants of its passengers. “Content needs vary by airline — some are looking for the very latest releases, some need dual language programs, others want top-rated programs in their region,” says Wilson. “Award-winning series such as Deadliest Catch and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman are two of our top-selling titles. Many airlines also want locally produced content. Series such as First Time Filmmakers, Revealed, Man Made Marvels and Fun Taiwan are produced out of our Singapore office and are among our most popular programs.” Locally produced content is a trend Cinesky Pictures has also noticed. Horton says that while airlines do have differing requirements, the fundamental driver is top quality entertainment that will appeal to a global audience — including specific regions. “Many airlines will include non-English speaking and produced movies and TV, often including a section devoted to product from their region/country,” he adds. Much like local or regional content, Penny Black Media’s Trotta sees independent or “indie” films and niche content gaining popularity in the cabin, which has become a particular focus for the provider. “We focus on acquiring stronger indie films that would have appeal across more airlines, but we also seek out special niche titles that provide a good alternative to the more mainstream films or perhaps speak to a particular geographical region or culture.”

Coming up next

By way of a third party CSP, Entertainment in Motion, a division of Global Eagle Entertainment, Lionsgate currently licenses content for exhibition on 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. Towards the end of the year, Lionsgate will make Deepwater Horizon — a film starring Mark Wahlberg that recaptures one of the world’s largest manmade disasters on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig — available for IFE audiences. In the second quarter of 2017, Lionsgate will release Power Rangers, based on the popular and long-running television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and starring Elizabeth Banks. On the television front, Lionsgate will be releasing the first two seasons of Casual, a co-production with Hulu that earned a “93% Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Licensing to more than 100 airlines worldwide, Discovery Private Networks has new programs available every month for airlines to license, typically 20-40 hours’ worth. The latest programs available for license can be found on the New Releases page on the provider’s website. “Two new series just released that are already extremely popular are Point of Extreme, an adventure sports series, and David Baddiel on the Silk Road, a fourpart travelogue that follows comedian and writer, David Baddiel as he travels from Xi’an, China to Istanbul, Turkey to uncover a series of remarkable locations, mysteries and hidden gems, many unknown to the western world,” says Discovery Private Network’s Wilson. Cinesky Pictures supplies to an array of airlines, including Singapore Airlines and Surinam Airlines and approaches its offering a bit differently by focusing less on blockbusters and more on independent films to appeal to an older demographic, or as Horton says, the average airline passenger. “We know airlines want great entertainment for their passengers and the big Hollywood studios are offering a conveyor belt of big blockbusters each month,” he says. “However most of these are created for a teenage demographic and the average airline passenger is around age 35 to 40, so we hunt down quality independent films that will appeal to an older adult audience.” Some of these independent films include — although not yet available — Mr. Church starring Eddie Murphy,

Manchester by the Sea starring Casey Affleck and action film, Lost City of Z, the true life story of a British explorer looking for treasure in the Amazon. Earlier this year Cinesky Pictures released the award-winning dramas Carol starring Cate Blanchett, Legend starring Tom Hardy and Australian comedy The Dressmaker starring Kate Winslet. Supplying to flagship carriers as well as low budget airlines, Turner Inflight Services recently added CNN Money, a new destination for business news; CNN Style, a show featuring luxury, art, fashion, automotives, architecture and design; and Great Big Story, featuring stories for the intellectually curious, mobile-first, social, cord-cutting millennial to its roster. Penny Black Media licenses films to a vast number of airlines worldwide and always has new titles coming down the pipeline. Presently, the provider is working with a new Le Carre thriller, Our Kind of Traitor starring Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard, Naomie Harris and Damian Lewis. This fall, Penny Black Media will have I.T. starring Pierce Brosnan, a technology thriller added to its roster. As expected, Trotta says the provider will have some intriguing titles coming up for 2017, but it’s too early to discuss in any detail.

Mr. Church starring Eddie Murphy, an independent film available soon from Cinesky Pictures



GEE and flydubai announced the launch of inflight connectivity and entertainment on the airline’s 737 aircraft, utilizing GEE’s Airconnect Ku IFE&C system

Meeting the

demand L eading worldwide provider of media content, technology and connectivity, Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (GEE) provides airlines with a wide range of inflight solutions, including Wi-Fi, movies, television, music, interactive software, as well as portable IFE solutions, content management services, e-commerce solutions and original content development. Headquartered in Los Angeles with offices and teams located in North America, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Oceania and South America, GEE serves more than 200 airlines worldwide, helping each to achieve their individual passenger experience objectives. Part of this experience involves connectivity speed which has changed greatly — and for the better — over the last several years. “Back in 2008 a 50 kbps (kilobits per second) link was seen as acceptable for an aircraft connectivity system,” says Mike Douglass, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for GEE. “This was the time

With an acquisition, new partnerships and an exciting launch, GEE is continuing to solidify its position as a leader in helping airlines achieve their passenger experience objectives by


when the iPhone/iPad revolution was just starting. In eight years a lot has changed. Today, anything less than 200 kbps is not seen as acceptable. Demand for data is strong and still growing with media streaming and live content being demanded more and more.” This past May, GEE announced that it acquired Emerging Markets Communications (EMC), a leading land and satellite communications services provider to maritime and other mobility markets. This move has placed GEE in an important position — a leading provider of global satellite-based communications and media content to rapidly expanding mobility markets. What this means, says Douglass, is transforming the media and connectivity experience in the air, at sea and in the world’s hardest to reach places.

In addition to this transformation, the acquisition also results in an expanded addressable market and unlocked growth opportunities, not to mention a diversified and balanced revenue mix. Douglass says the purchase will also drive significant network and operational efficiencies and will establish unparalleled infrastructure to support global customer needs. GEE also recently announced its partnership with QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH (QEST), a leading developer of high performance antenna systems to provide airlines with the highest-performing Ka network in the industry — the new Airconnect Global Ka highspeed antenna. “The 3-axis antenna is the most rapid time-to-market Ka solution available,” says Douglass.

In April, GEE announced the development of the new Airconnect Global Ka high-speed antenna, the highest performing Ka network in the industry  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  27

CHECKING IN WITH GEE Earlier this year GEE launched Entice, the company’s next generation platform for IFE on PEDs, which is a more personalized option. Entice is an advantageous move for GEE, since personalization seems to be more of a priority and focus when it comes to IFE today, as more and more passengers want the same personalization they experience on the ground, in the air. “Personalization, user profiling and seamless continuity of service have made giant leaps on the ground, but have continued to lack in the air on most IFE platforms,” explains Douglass. “This will definitely be a sharp area of focus on IFE platforms going forward.” After presenting Entice to a large number of airline customers, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, specifically with international airlines, says Douglass. “It is also seen as a differentiator in conjunction with offering connectivity,” he adds. “Current support from a broad range of key distributors will allow the content selection to keep evolving with trends and customer needs. We will keep the market informed with any developments around Entice.” From sky to sea, GEE recently signed an exclusive agreement with RTL International to provide a new German Premium TV channel to cruise ships around the world. This agreement is a result of GEE’s aforementioned acquirement of EMC, which has been fruitful thus far, showing great promise for the future. “The completion of the acquisition of EMC will solidify an increased client base and in the maritime sector,” says Douglass. Looking ahead to the next five to 10 years, it will be interesting to see how different the IFE and connectivity landscape will be — how it will evolve and in what direction we will be headed. Although there is no certainty, it is likely — based on the various developments we see today — that the direction will involve further innovation and likely continued convenience for the passenger. “Applications for mobile devices are evolving at a fast pace and the demand for media streaming and access to live content will continue to grow,” says Douglass. “In the future, most data will be hosted in the cloud and more video applications will be the norm. This will drive the industry to improve and innovate to support demand.”


In April, GEE announced the development of the new Airconnect Global Ka high-speed antenna, the highest performing Ka network in the industry

“Personalization, user profiling and seamless continuity of service have made giant leaps on the ground, but have continued to lack in the air on most IFE platforms. This will definitely be a sharp area of focus on IFE platforms going forward.” –Mike Douglass, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for GEE


Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra will are now thrilling fans on Emirates ice inflight entertainment system

Summer on the screen


he Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg has for the past several years been the go-to place for the aviation community to discover what new developments lay hidden behind the fortress-like walls and expansive floor space taken up by inflight entertainment suppliers. However, during the summer, a number of important events also have the company’s interests and personnel on the road. Business jet expos in Europe and the yearly massive air shows in Paris and Farnborough are also important stops along the way during an airline’s busy summer travel season. The work does not stop in production and development. Since this last April the world’s major IFE suppliers have launched new products and new capabilities that were still under wraps with the interiors industry descended on Hamburg. For this electronic issue, PAX International thought it would be useful to get the readers up to date on a few important developments for the late spring and early summer. Panasonic Avionics was extending its reach both in the sky and in the aircraft cabin. The largest provider of IFE and communications services has booked additional capacity on the EUTELSAT 172A satellite that will give it the ability to deliver broadband connectivity and television to airlines in service over the Pacific Ocean. The satellite’s location allows Panasonic to “bridge the West Coast of North America to Asia 30  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  JUNE/JULY 2016

As airlines enter a busy summer travel season, IFE suppliers have been adding new features and are busy with installations and orders by RICK LUNDSTROM

and down to Australia and the Pacific Islands,” said a release from the company. Passengers accessing the company’s new satellite connectivity and television will have the chance to catch up on a busy summer sports season with an additional channel that was launched through Panasonic’s association with IMG. The company’s Sport 24 now has a Sport 24 Extra cousin broadcasting round the clock. First in line for the new Sport 24 Extra is Emirates and Turkish Airlines. Panasonic and IMG currently have 11 customers for Sport 24. Long thought of as the most popular and important feature in a television lineup, passengers will now have access sports programming including: Barclay’s Premier League, Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League football. Also available is Formula 1 racing, NBA, NFL, Ryder Cup golf and Grand Slam tennis. The coverage will be on eXTV from Panasonic, which uses the company eXConnect inflight KuBand communication service. Other developments in the cabin: Low-cost carrier Scoot’s inflight Wi-Fi plan called Social-Lite was developed by Panasonic. The program allows passengers to use messaging and chat services at a cost of US$5 giving them 20 megabytes of data and 64 kilobytes per second surfing speed. It is a low-cost solution for passengers on the airline’s 787 fleet where prices can run from US$11.95

for one hour, US$16.95 for three hours and US$21.95 for a full 24 hours. Around the time of this year’s AIX, Panasonic announced it was chosen by Singapore Airlines to outfit is 787-10 and A350 ultra-long-haul aircraft with broadband connectivity and “personalized, immersive entertainment experience.” The KrisWorld system will be on both aircraft, and Singapore Airlines will be the launch customer for both fleets. Panasonic will be installing the most advanced of its eX3 line and adding its Global Communications Services. The airlines’ personalized companion app will be integrated with KrisWorld as well as broadband Internet service and mobile phone services. “Together, we have continually pushed the envelope to discover new ways to engage the passengers and to leverage the benefits of a connected aircraft,” said Panasonic Avionics CEO Paul Margis in the April announcement of the new contract with Singapore Airlines. “We look forward to working with Singapore Airlines for many years to come.” Rockwell Collins was making news in mid-April with announcements on sales of its Venue™ cabin management and entertainment system for the business jet market and its ARINCDirectSM package that promises faster speeds through an association with Viasat and Inmarsat. In April, Zetta Jet, of Singapore became the first business jet provider in Asia to offer high-speed connectivity

Zetta Jet is first business jet operator in Asia with full connectivity in its fleet

across its fleet of aircraft. The company selected the ARINCDirectSM that makes use of the Viasat Yonder KU band and the Jet ConneX KA band from Inmarsat. Rockwell Collins’ Business Development Director Asia Pacific Saira Kanchwala echoed the long-held refrain has driven airlines large and small to take on the expense of connectivity installations: that passengers demand an on-the-ground experience in the cabin. “With higher levels of bandwidth, Rockwell Collins will enable leading providers like Zetta Jet with technology enablement applications and services to meet their passengers’ expectations,” Kanchwala said. At the end of May Rockwell Collins added two more customers for its Venue™ high-definition cabin entertainment and management system for business jets. The first was in the form of a single installation aboard a Bombardier Global aircraft. The company, AMAC Aerospace is based in Basel, Switzerland. Rockwell Collins says the company’s Venue™ system is cost effective for Bombardier aircraft because it can successfully make use of cabin components already installed and can be put in service with less aircraft down time. The open-ended architecture of the system also allows the flexibility to adapt the Venue™ with advances in consumer technologies as they come to market. The following day, Rockwell Collins also announced that its Venue™ system would be available on the Bombardier Global 5000 and Global 6000 aircraft starting in the third quarter of this year. It would also be available as a retrofit on Global aircraft in service through the company Bombardier Service Centres. The capability will add to the

The Rockwell Collins Venue™ system is now on more than 800 business jets

customer’s prospects for Venue™, which has been installed on more than 850 private, and corporate aircraft cabins. The world’s fleet of Global business jets from Bombardier often fly well-heeled passengers seeking cutting-edge technology in even the most remote destinations. “This new cabin management system seamlessly blends ease of use and advanced functionality to deliver the best in business productivity, and entertainment at 51,000 feet,” said JeanChristophe Gallagher, Vice President Strategy, Marketing and Innovation at Bombardier Business Aircraft. The Avant inflight entertainment sys-

tem of Thales Avionics is now flying with 19 airlines and more than 230 aircraft. In late 2017 an additional customer, Hainan Airlines, will equip the Android-based system on its new A330s. The airline plans to make use of the latest equipment in the Avant system with high-definition monitors and USB charging stations. Hainan Airlines is a longtime customer for Thales equipment. The carrier has Thales products on both Boeing and Airbus aircraft. As a result of the sales, Thales has pledged to invest additional resources in China “to further enhance software and media capabilities that will serve to enrich passenger experience and satisfy local market demands.”

Hainan Airlines is a Thales customer for Boeing and Airbus aircraft  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  31


Getting technical

PAX International has assembled a selection of cutting-edge IFE and tech-savvy cabin products currently on the market  AeroDocs Document Management System: Arconics’s AeroDocs Document Management System helps airlines manage safety and regulatory compliance with controlled distribution and tracking of documents. The comprehensive system allows for tracking workflows and document revisions and approval. Airlines can use the system to manage OEM manuals in XML format. Documents can be created, edited and distributed in multiple formats. Primary users include flight operations and flight crews, IT and safety and compliance.

 BlipTrack Indoor Sensor: Designed to provide live automated wait time information to reduce travelers’ frustration, the BlipTrack Indoor Sensor detects Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices, such as mobile phones and tablets. When the mobile device passes the sensors, its unique ID — called a MAC address — is recorded, encrypted and time-stamped. By re-identifying devices from multiple sensors, the travel times, queue times and movement patterns become available. The sensors are easily mounted and connected via PoE, 3G and Wi-Fi. Live sensor monitoring with automated alarms and recovery, addresses issues before they escalate into problems. Once mounted, the sensors do not require any maintenance. The sensors are passive and do not interfere with existing Wi-Fi networks.

 Bluebox Wow: Bluebox Avionics’ latest in portable

wireless IFE, Bluebox Walk-on wiFE (Bluebox Wow), is a battery powered, wireless IFE system that can be implemented without the need for an STC. Each Bluebox Wow unit provides support for up to 50 simultaneous users and automatically networks with each other to support larger user communities where necessary.

 Quatro Plus system: The Quatro Plus system from Imagik

International Corp. is a universal compatible charger, capable of charging up to four USB ports with an output of up to 1.2 Amps per port. An auto-detect feature monitors USB data line voltage and automatically provides the correct electronic signatures on the data lines to charge devices and meet power management requirements. It has one AC to DC power component; four USB heads and four USB Head cables. All the ports operate independent of each other. Power consumption is controlled at 60 Watts maximum per row. Cable and harnesses are built with quick disconnect.


 Wash light retrofit system: UTC Aerospace Systems’ new wash light retrofit system that offers operators a full LED cabin lighting solution for commercial single-aisle and wide-body aircraft. The units were designed to replace current ceiling and sidewall fluorescent tubes, are STC certified and can be configured as white only or full color variants.

 Charge 2: IFPL’s new Charge 2 concept has been designed to leverage its NFC Payment Terminal to initialize passenger services at the seat. Charge 2 allows passengers to use the system to pay to power-up a USB port and charge their personal electronic device or other USB device. Charge 2 enables passengers to switch on additional services such as the IFE system or to unlock to recline the seat.

 Compact wireless content delivery solution: Phitek’s compact wireless content delivery solution features compact on-board hardware with inbuilt redundancy preventing aircraft-wide IFE outages; battery operations that significantly reduce the requirement for aircraft modifications; and high-quality media streaming to passengers’ PEDs. Phitek’s offer can be a wrap-around solution including hardware, IFE content, airport logistics for loading and unloading content and battery charging.

 Leo, SITA’s baggage robot: Built for SITA by Blue-

Botics, Leo is a fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot that has the capacity to check in, print bag tags and transport up to two suitcases with a maximum weight of 32 kg. It also has an obstacle avoidance capability to navigate high-traffic environments such as an airport. Touching Leo’s Scan&Fly bag drop interface opens the baggage compartment doors to allow passengers to place their bags inside. After the passengers have scanned their boarding passes, the tags are printed and can be attached to the bags. With the bags loaded and tagged, the compartment door closes and Leo displays the boarding gate and departure time. Leo then takes the bags directly to the baggage handling area where they are sorted and connected to the correct flight. The doors of the robot can only be reopened by the operator unloading the baggage in the airport.  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  33

TECH FOR TOMORROW  RIMOWA Electronic Tag: The RIMOWA Electronic Tag is the first digital and fully integrated mobility solution. It makes flying with luggage faster, more comfortable, and more secure. With the RIMOWA Electronic Tag, Lufthansa passengers can check their luggage from home or on the road with the Lufthansa app. Using their digital boarding pass, they can submit data from their smartphone via Bluetooth to their luggage equipped with the tag. The luggage data will immediately appear on the data module integrated into the case. The checked luggage must then only be placed on the conveyor at the Lufthansa Baggage Drop-off desk. The luggage data displayed on the electronic display corresponds in size and appearance to current paper tags. Important information is protected from humidity, heat, cold, falls, and jarring, and cannot be torn off.

 TabCaddyClip™: Designed by Skycast Solutions, the

TabCaddyClip™ is a low-cost tablet holder solution for inflight use custom designed to attach securely to various airline meal trays, providing passengers with a convenient way to store and view their personal electronic device (PED). The removable ‘Clip’ is designed to accommodate all sizes of tablets and features an innovative hinge to adjust viewing angles. The Clip requires no certification or other tests required of permanently installed solutions. If purchased, the passenger can reuse the Clip on future flights. The Clip provides two surfaces for airline branding or advertising sales and can be further customized for each airline based on their tray and branding requirements.

 Germfalcon®: Primarily for use on commercial aircraft, Germfalcon® is a patented mobile UVC sanitization robot that kills germs on surfaces and surrounding air. The Germfalcon wing design is optimized to efficiently reach all commonly touched surfaces of an aircraft and is built on the body of a food/beverage cart. UVC kills all viruses and bacteria without sprays or chemicals. Wings are variably extensible to accommodate the assortment of seating configurations.

 The Skylights Theater: Skylights, a French start-up

company, has developed The Skylights Theater — a new IFE system with immersive cinema glasses, offering an experience akin to sitting right in the middle of a movie theater for 2D and 3D movie viewing with HD image resolution, large depth of field, and visual and auditory isolation from the cabin. Skylights’ solution also includes a wide range of movies, provided by Twentieth Century Fox and DreamWorks. Already successfully tested on board of XL Airways, the Skylights Theater was presented to the public for the first time at the Aircraft Interior Expo in Hamburg this past April.