J U LY 2 0 1 7 | 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
IFEC, INTERIORS & MRO
Seating, IFE & Connectivity
Transforming experiences with digitalization Introducing digitalization into processes isn’t just about bringing in new technology, it’s about transforming the way we perform and the passenger experience we offer. At LSG Group we work together with you to create efficiencies and improve services behind the scenes, as well as unlock potential to satisfy your passengers’ needs. By engaging with travelers throughout their journey, we can provide services at any given moment in time. lsg-group.com
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ISSN 1206-5714 Key title: Pax International
f there was ever any doubt about what the younger generation is looking for in a travel experience, a recent survey of thousands should reaffirm that the way to their heart is through their smart phone. Ninety percent of the young people who took part in The Travelers of Tomorrow survey released last month by inflight connectivity provider Gogo have an airline that they prefer, but nearly half of them would pick another carrier if Wi-Fi were not available on their preferred flight. “Passengers just expect more from inflight connectivity today — no longer is there a distinction between enjoying movies at home, sending emails from a café or binge watching at 35,000 feet,” said Alyssa Hayes, Director of insights at Gogo. Hayes added that research suggests younger travelers are most comfortable with headphones, laptops or smart phones as their traveling companions. The Travelers of Tomorrow is the first of Gogo’s program called the Traveler Research Series, which is examining traveler inflight habits, behaviors and preferences. Confirming a desire that many see as shaping the future of Economy
Class IFEC, 92% of the people surveyed between the ages of 18 and 35 want to access the airline’s entertainment and connectivity through their devices in flight with slightly fewer than half — 48% — preferring to stream content on their own device. A few other notable desires by younger travelers: 63% think more flights should offer Wi-Fi and 56% use their smart phones on the aircraft as compared with only 27% of the older travelers. While 86% of the travelers now take to the skies with a smart phone, Gogo estimates that figure will climb to 96% in the future The average age of The Travelers of Tomorrow who took part in the survey is 28. More than half of the survey respondents are traveling for business while 95% traveled for leisure. To compile the survey, Gogo queried 4,500 respondents who have traveled in the past year. The Gogo survey took the opinions of travelers from 15 countries across six regions in the world.
Rick Lundstrom Editor-in-Chief, PAX International
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 3
NEWS A roundup of stories from the worlds of IFEC and seating
TAKE A SEAT The Delta One suite has set a new Business Class standard, offering passengers more space, privacy and comfort
10 EBAY FOR AIRLINES
A German remarketing company’s CEO has been reselling cabin interior products for several years. Airlines looking to change out, and find buyers for used products could be successful by following a few simple steps
12 ENHANCING Y-CLASS COMFORT
The bane of airline passengers around the world has been the loss of personal space in the back cabin. However, solutions are still in the works that could break the logjam in Economy Class
14 CABIN MOBILITY
Makers of reduced mobility seating are finding that they have the same challenges as makers of other seating, the need for light weight and technological change
16 ENCORE TAKES A BOW
Having a big partner in your corner has raised the profile of a startup California company that will soon be filling Dreamliners with its Tourist Class seating
18 INTEGRATION SOLUTION
A cabin solutions provider from Australia and a seating company from Italy are finding common ground in the aircraft cabin by integrating IFE and seating in one offer it plans to show the industry
19 PERFECT COMFORT FOR PASSENGERS
Chris Brady, CEO of Acro Aircraft Seating, tells PAX International how his U.K.-based company aims to deliver comfort for 25 years
20 A CLOUD PROVIDER ABOVE THE CLOUDS
German aviation IT specialist Lufthansa Systems is gaining new customers for its pioneering digital BoardConnect platform, reports Mary Jane Pittilla
22 LISTEN UP
While noise-cancellation and comfort top the headset priority list, airlines are paying more attention to modern styling, improved performance and models that closely resemble those offered in the retail market
JUNE 2017 | SPECIAL ISSUE | www.pax.intl.com
24 ONE NAME, FRONT TO BACK
Rockwell Collins positions for future of connected aircraft with the completion of its purchase of B/E Aerospace
IFEC, INTERIORS & MRO
27 AHEAD WITH INMARSAT
AirAsia’s IFEC offering will take a major step ahead next year when GX Aviation becomes part of the airlines interesting supplier mix
Seating, IFE & Connectivity
ON THE COVER: Delta Air Lines, Delta One suites. PHOTO COURTESY OF TRICK 3D.
28 VIASAT-2 SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED
ViaSat Inc. in early June completed the successful launch of its ViaSat-2 satellite aboard an Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle.
30 TECH FOR TOMORROW
From headsets to media players and integrated USB power solutions, PAX International rounds up a selection of front-line IFE and tech-savvy products currently on the market
33 AWARDS COVERAGE
Seating, IFE and connectivity suppliers gathered in Hamburg to accept their winnings this past April, at PAX International’s annual Readership Awards
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ZODIAC INFLIGHT INNOVATIONS ZODIAC CABIN Connected Cabin Division
Mood music tested on Eurostar Sony and Eurostar have partnered in a trial to offer passengers a ‘Sound Menu’, optimized for use with Sony’s 1000X wireless headphones and noise cancelling technology. The partnership has been developed following UK research that looked into the music listening habits of business and lifestyle travelers. Over a quarter (27%) of travelers said they can never fully relax on a journey and 23% complain that they are unable to ‘switch off ’ ahead of important meetings. Thirty-eight percent of the surveyed travelers blamed the noise made by other travelers as being one of the biggest stress factors with 66% saying that music helps them relax. The Sony Sound Menu, which was trialed last month, was developed in partnership with Senior Lecturer in Music Psychology at Keele University, Dr. Alexandra Lamont, who has drawn on a number of studies conducted on music and mood regulation to recommend five playlists to help travelers prepare, relax and focus on route to their destination. The playlists include varying styles and tempos of music to evoke different emotions designed for people wanting to work, prepare for the day, relax in the moment, enjoy a journey or unwind at the end of the day. “We know that music, if listened to in the right way, can be a form of escapism or can help focus the mind,” said Matt Coupe, Head of Sound, UK and Ireland at Sony. “We saw from research many are unable to relax or fully immerse themselves in music. Our 1000X headphones give travellers the opportunity to experience our best in noise cancelling headphones to be able to cut out the chaos around them. Plus, with our ‘Quick Attention Mode’, travellers can simply touch the side of their headphones so they’re still able to hear announcements or order a coffee on board.” Neil Roberts, Head of Digital, Eurostar says, “Our onboard entertainment system gives travellers more than 300 hours of free content, all available through their own device. We’re always looking for ways to improve our passengers’ journeys, and the
new Sound Menu created by Sony offers our travellers a way to get more out of their time on board, whether it’s focusing on work, or relaxing after a busy day.” The Sony Sound Menu was tested on Eurostar’s onboard entertainment system on all e320 and e300 trains from Thursday, April 27 for one month.
A playlist for many moods was trialled on Eurostar in May
A premiere for Recaro’s CL6710 business class seat The new business class seat for long-haul routes was being installed this month ifor the first time – in a 787 Dreamliner whose cabin is fully equipped with Recaro aircraft seats. The CL6710 seat’s length, width and different seat positions invite passengers to stretch out and relax. At the push of a button, the seating area transforms into a recliner or even a full-flat bed. Position changes, which are carried out at an optimal, predefined angle, ideally and safely support the passenger’s body at all times. Recaro’s CL6710 Business Class seat
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As well, the CL6710 offers each passenger their own separate space with direct aisle access. “Our CL6710 business class seat leaves nothing to be desired for a pleasant long-distance flight,” says Dr. Mark Hiller, Chief Executive Officer and Shareholder at Recaro Aircraft Seating. “We provide passengers with ergonomic comfort and superb spaciousness – in an attractively lightweight seat. Additionally, the CL6710 is distinguished by its high-quality design and very efficient use of space in the cabin.” The CL6710 long-distance seat was developed at the Recaro headquarters in Schwaebisch Hall and is currently also being manufactured there. The CL6710 business class seat is taking off for the first time in the Boeing 787 Dreamliners from the airline EL AL which just recently presented the new aircraft to the public. The upper stowage compartment as well as the design of the CL6710 were adapted to the customer’s specific requirements. The airline will be equipping 15 model B787-9 and B787-8 aircraft with Recaro seats, and others are planned. In addition to the CL6710, Recaro’s PL3530 and the CL3710 seats are also being deployed in the premium economy and economy classes.
Cathay takes inflight magazines online Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon in May launched Discovery –– a new digital destination where people can access and enjoy content from the airlines’ inflight magazines, Discovery and Silkroad, wherever they are in the world. The new online platform provides visitors with a broad range of articles and feature stories in a user-friendly layout, which fits all devices. In addition to accessing the same content – including travel features, interviews and inspiring photography – that appears in the monthly editions of Cathay Pacific’s Discovery and Cathay Dragon’s Silkroad, the platform will also be home to an array of exclusive digital features not available in print, including video and audio. “Discovery and Silkroad magazine have been providing our customers with inspiring travel ideas over four decades,” said Cathay Pacific General Manager Product James Evans. “We are very pleased to provide a new online site for customers to enjoy the magazines on their own personal devices, wherever they are. We hope this site will pique travellers’ interest to experience great destinations across our network.” Featured articles are digitally housed across four main content categories: Hong Kong, Destinations, Interests, and Our Stories. The Hong Kong category highlights the best of what to see and do in our home city, while Destinations covers the most beautiful and inspirational places on the planet. Interests focuses on a range of personal activities, such as health and wellness, sports, shopping, and art and culture. Exclusive Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon
content is included in the Our Stories section, featuring behindthe-scenes and aviation-related stories from within our airlines. The Discovery website also features video, audio content and photo slideshows to support print features across a wide range of subjects. These include insightful interviews, travel programs and Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon-specific articles. Celebrities, musicians and professionals from Hong Kong and around the world will share their own success stories and travel experiences on a frequent basis. This new digital experience is now available in English and Traditional Chinese and can be accessed by all Internetconnected devices.
Panasonic IFE repair center opens at HAECO in Xiamen Panasonic Avionics Corporation announced at the end of May HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) Limited as an authorized repair center for its in-flight entertainment and communications technology in Mainland China. HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) specializes in aircraft component and IFEC repair services to airlines and aircraft operators in the Asia-Pacific region. “Repairs performed by HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) on behalf of Panasonic will carry the same Panasonic warranties, as repairs performed by all authorized service providers within the Panasonic repair network,” said a release from Panasonic. The HAECO Component overhaul facility has OEM dedicated test equipment and spares support from Panasonic. Technical personnel trained by Panasonic also staff the facility. HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) also offers technical and logistics support, as well as OEM warranty administration to airlines and aircraft operators in Mainland China. “HAECO has a proven track record serving the component repair needs of airlines in the Asia Pacific region. HAECO Component Overhaul (Xiamen) is honored and excited to be appointed as Panasonic’s authorized IFEC repair center,” said Clement Au, General Manager, Component Repair and Overhaul, HAECO Group. “Combining the respective strengths of both an OEM and a component repair specialist, this collaboration is mutually beneficial. It further extends the HAECO Group’s portfolio of services to include a wide range of Panasonic IFEC products, chosen by many airline operators in Mainland China.
Cathay makes a digital destination for its inflight magazine content
iPads distributed to Lufthansa Crew Lufthansa German Airlines has so far provided its 20,000 flight attendants with iPad Minis. The devices will be issued to the entire cabin crew over the next few weeks. With the “Lufthansa crewFlight” apps, the seating plan is quickly opened, providing the cabin crew with information on the passengers of their next flight. The Cabin Mobile Devices (CMD) will allow crew members to access important service manuals and service schedules, and easily view any changes in plans. “The CMD heralds a new way of “paperless” working and simplifies existing processes so that staff have more time for customers. Moreover, it significantly improves communication with the personnel on board,” said a release from the airline. The Cabin Mobile Device project is part of a program of transformation called ‘OPSession’, which aims to further digitize the operational areas of Lufthansa, SWISS International and Austrian Airlines. Employees with no fixed workplace are to be equipped with mobile devices so that they may meet the needs of the customer in an even better and more personalized way.
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 7
CABIN CONCEPTS: DELTA ONE SUITE
Take a seat The Delta One suite has set a new Business Class standard, offering passengers more space, privacy and comfort by MELISSA SILVA
Each A350 and 777 aircraft will feature 32 suites
Delta One suite passengers will receive Delta One service, which includes chef-curated meals and wine pairings by Delta’s Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson
ubbed the “best seat in the skies today” and “both a passenger experience revolution and an admirable technical feat” by Travel + Leisure magazine, the Delta One suite has been making waves in the aircraft interiors industry since it was introduced last year. A quick online search brings up an array of commentary, including a few articles about the new cabin concept that also references the “disappearing act” of First Class, in light of the rise of comparable — and in some instances more affordable — Business Class concepts, such as Delta’s new suite. Designed with an emphasis on comfort and privacy, the Delta One suite offers Business Class passengers a private space accessed by a sliding door, thoughtfully-designed stowage areas, a best-in-class inflight entertainment system and premium trim and finishes. The configuration of the Delta One
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suite is 1-2-1 to maintain direct aisle access for all passengers on all widebody aircraft. Center suites will have a sliding privacy divider that can be left open for passengers traveling together if interested. “The idea started with our customers and understanding what was missing from their experience today and what they were looking for in the future,” says Joe Kiely, Managing Director – Product and Customer Experience for Delta Air Lines. “We did extensive customer research, testing, and focus groups to learn what would fundamentally improve the Delta One experience. Privacy, more stowage, and a ‘residential’ feel were key findings that ultimately drove the development of the Delta One suite.” Kiely adds that although Delta Air Lines has always been customer-focused, developing the Delta One suites provided the airline with the opportunity to focus more on innovation and design, as well as “thoughtful consideration for all features and customer touch points.” Delta selected the Thompson Vantage XL seat for the suites after reviewing several business class seat models and conducting tests with passengers. “This particular seat offered the most comfort and space, as well as a great partnership with a supplier that supported our vision to fully customize the seat to create an innovative, premium experience that offered more privacy, stowage and an evolved design,” says Kiely.
Center suites will have a sliding privacy divider that can be left open for passengers traveling together if interested
Interiors Expo in Hamburg this past April, is certainly only increasing the buzz surrounding the suite. The awards, which saw 85 entrants from 21 nations this year, feature an international judging panel of 29 aviation experts ranging from airline representatives and professors to aircraft manufacturers and journalists. “This is an incredibly special award for Delta and for our teams who worked so hard to create the Delta One suite,” says Kiely. “It represents a lot of what makes Delta so unique — a culture of collaboration, determination, and innovation, as well as always putting the customer first. We’re extremely proud to be recognized and we’re even more excited for what this win means to the Delta brand and for our customers who ultimately will receive the benefits of this win.” Delta began selling its Delta One suites — as well as Delta Premium Select fare — on June 17.
L.A.-based chefs to produce fare for Delta One transcon flights
Each suite features full flat-bed seats with direct-aisle access
Following its debut on Delta’s first A350 due to enter service in the fall with its first flight taking place on October 30 from Detroit (DTW) to Narita (NRT), Delta One suites will begin to be installed on Delta’s 777 fleet in the spring of 2018. In addition to the existing Delta One service and full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access that have been part of the Delta offering for over eight years, the Delta One suite will also feature an array of amenities including: a full-height door at every suite; sliding privacy dividers between center suites; in-suite, customizable ambient lighting; dedicated stowage compartments for shoes, headphones and laptops; contemporary design featuring premium trim and finishes; a memory foam-enhanced comfort cushion; an 18-inch, high-resolution inflight entertainment monitor, among the largest in its class and a universal power outlet and high-powered USB port at every seat. “Delta One service also includes the features Delta customers have grown to expect, such as chef-curated meals, wine pairings by Delta’s Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding, LSTN noise-canceling headsets, TUMI amenity kits featuring Kiehl’s Since 1851 premium skincare, and inflight loungewear on select flights,” adds Kiely. Winning the Crystal Cabin Award for the Best Cabin Concept at this year’s ceremony held during the Aircraft
Los Angeles-based chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo will be developing menus for service in the Delta One cabin on Delta Air Lines this fall. Shook and Dotolo’s most popular establishments are Animal, Son of a Gun and Jon & Vinny’s. Delta One passengers on flights from LAX to New York/ Kennedy and Washington Reagan will be served menus by the chefs that will feature local, fresh and seasonal ingredients. “Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are known for delighting diners at their restaurants through diverse offerings and familiar flavors presented in bold, unexpected ways,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President – In-Flight Service in the announcement. “We are thrilled to bring their fare to the skies and offer a taste of some of Los Angeles’ most popular restaurants to our Delta One customers — whether they’re locals who are craving a taste of home or visitors who want one last essential L.A. experience before heading home.” Similar to the meals Union Square Hospitality Group creates daily for Delta One customers out of New York, Shook and Dotolo will prepare the new menu selections at a dedicated facility in Los Angeles. They will be transported to LAX each day from their catering company, Caramelized Productions, to ensure customers experience restaurant level service in the skies. “We are excited to bring our local L.A. cuisine to Delta One customers across the country,” said Shook and Dotolo. “Delta is really taking an innovative approach to onboard dining and we are proud to partner with them as they change the conversation around airplane food and elevate the customer experience inflight.” Chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 9
Presentation, brand, a full data and specs help move airline seating, says aviationgate.com
A German remarketing company’s CEO has been reselling cabin interior products for several years. Airlines looking to change out, and find buyers for used products could be successful by following a few simple steps
homas Bulirsch is founder and CEO of aircraft interior remarketing site aviationgate.com, which is effectively an eBay for aircraft seats. Here, Bulirsch gives some pointers on how to quickly and easily sell used aircraft interior products.
1. Think ahead
The resale potential of an aircraft interior begins with the original purchase. Make sure you buy something with a good remarket history – you can check out popular and in-demand seats by looking at the aviationgate.com noticeboard or ‘top offers’ section. Younger and lighter-weight seats from the major manufacturers, such as B/E Aerospace (now Rockwell Collins), Recaro and Zodiac, undoubtedly have the best resale value. Also, we’re seeing a good market for all-economy, narrow-body configurations. Single-class cabins (180 seats on an Airbus A320 and 189 on a Boeing 737) sell very well, because business class seats tend to be more bespoke. In many cases aviationgate will even buy popular seats directly from the seller.
2. Have a plan
Set clear timelines from the moment the interior is removed; money in the bank is far better than money spent on
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storage costs. Dig out technical documentation for the sale as soon as possible and research market. All the information should be ready to go as soon as the seats are removed. Responsiveness is key, so assign specific responsibility for the sale to a member of staff who is able to reply quickly to potential buyers once the listing goes live. Typically, procurement, or technical managers handle aircraft interior resales.
3. Show off the product
There is nothing worse than a great product that is poorly showcased. Include good photos of the seats from all angles – the front, back and sides – up against a neutral background. The better your pictures are, the more likely you are to attract buyers. Ultimately, your mission is to make the buyer’s decision easier and save them time. The physical condition of the seats is not really an issue, as in most cases they can be refurbished to a very high standard.
4. Technical data is vital
Make sure you upload all the necessary technical information, as inadequate documentation and traceability (such as missing seat tags) can slow down and even lose a sale. Typically, you need to provide the component maintenance
manual (CMM) that shows the history of the parts, the layout of passenger accommodations (LOPA), declaration of design and performance (DPD) and a flammability test report (FTR) for the cushions and covers. Many carriers also ask for a non-incident statement. The more information you give, the easier the product is to sell quickly, as it avoids lengthy back-and-forth exchanges between the buyer and the seller. Listings with the most data are also frequently picked as ‘top offers’ on aviationgate. com, giving you greater exposure for no additional cost. This could include search and newsletter priority, as well as a product-specific email push for larger sales of 10-15 shipsets. Free technical help is available for listings and in some cases aviationgate will post your seats to the site on your behalf free of charge.
5. Use your network
Make your industry colleagues aware that you have a product to sell by emailing them a link to the listing, or alerting them via LinkedIn. Also, aviationgate has a button specifically for this purpose. It is always easier doing business with people you know.
Leading together B/E Aerospace is now part of Rockwell Collins With the acquisition of B/E Aerospace, we’re extending our expertise to cabin interiors, offering a full range of products and services from seating and lighting to galleys, oxygen systems and more. Together, we’re leading our industry forward – cockpit to cabin interiors, communication to connectivity – providing our customers with unsurpassed innovation, quality and value. It’s how we continue to build trust every day. rockwellcollins.com/leading-together © 2017 Rockwell Collins. All rights reserved.
A back view of the Stagger Seat with full IFE
Enhancing Y-class comfort The bane of airline passengers around the world has been the loss of personal space in the back cabin. However, solutions are still in the works that could break the logjam in Economy Class by RICK LUNDSTROM
he possibility of a fundamentally different look and dynamic to seating passengers in Economy Class could be taking shape if the plans from two companies, with the help of a number of partners, find their way into service. Aircraft makers and suppliers have been wrestling for years with what to do with the limited space and options they are afforded in Economy Class. Though bin space has increased and seats have been made slimmer and more ergonomic, it would be a difficult sell to tell many passengers that, in terms of personal space, much has changed over the years. But recent efforts by companies large and small may make the back cabin a little more dynamic and will open up options for airlines to not only make passengers more comfortable, but make the boarding process more efficient, thus saving the airline money through less time on the ground and more time in revenue service. These possibilities come at a time when aircraft are being developed and marketed with the capability of holding
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more revenue passengers on short-and medium-haul flights. This week, Boeing announced the launch of its latest new aircraft, the 737 MAX 10. The new iteration of the single-aisle MAX is longer and gives airlines the possibility of seating up to 230 passengers, putting the aircraft in direct competition with the A321neo. The new MAX has a range of 3,215 nautical miles. Clearly seeing a market for the aircraft, leasing companies and several lowcost carriers signed on quickly at this summer’s Paris Air Show, which ended last week. At mid-week of the show, Boeing orders for the MAX climbed to 240. Carrying more revenue passengers is clearly the goal of any airline. However, costs start piling up when aircraft are full of people and baggage, and boarding and deplaning becomes a drawn-out, expensive process. One of the people who has spent years watching the cost of aircraft on the ground is Hank Scott Chief Executive Officer of Molon Labe Designs in Lakewood, Colorado. Scott says estimates show that aircraft, deplaning on the ground costs an airline anywhere
from US$81 to US$100 per minute. If the scrum and scramble for bags at the end of a flight and the boarding process could be streamlined, airlines could add 120 minutes of extra flight time per day with the entire industry saving upwards of US$700,000 per day. Over the past 10 years, the company has been developing iterations of two seating concepts that it was shopping around at June’s Paris Air Show. One concept, called the Slip-Seat is designed for the low-cost and short-haul market, while the other, the Stagger Seat, takes aim at the long-haul market. The Side-Slip seat was displayed at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Singapore last fall. With a one-touch button, flight attendants or passengers could open up the aisle width of a single-aisle aircraft from 20 inches to 42 inches when it is on the ground and boarding. “Airlines choosing the Side-Slip Seat will improve the passenger experience, and be more eco-friendly by using less fuel and increase their profits,” said a description of the seating. In addition to industry attention, the product has been featured on a
The Side Slip seat, when configured like this can double the width of an aisle on a single-aisle aircraft
Recaro debuted the Flex-seat and a number of other projects and services at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo
The Stagger Seat, designed for long haul, is 21 inches wide in the middle seat, which is offset for greater passenger comfort
number of national network television shows and consumer media. Other advantages of the Side-Slip can increase passenger comfort. With a twolevel design, armrest space is available for all the passengers in a three-row seat. In a cabin filled with Side-Slip seating, boarding procedures would change. Passengers in window seats would be the first to board the aircraft. There is additional living space with the seats’ staggered design as passengers’ shoulders, elbows and thighs are no longer adjacent, but are offset both vertically and fore/aft. The two-level design also delineates armrests for each passenger. At the massive Panasonic Aviation Corporation stand in Hamburg, Molon Labe Seating showed visitors its second version of the concept. The company worked with both Panasonic and BMW Group’s Designworks to develop the S2, which is called the Stagger Seat. “The Stagger Seat takes the ergonomic advantages of the unique Side-Slip Seat and translates it into a reclining long-haul economy seat like no other,” said a release from the company. In this design, the middle seat
takes center stage. With much the same features as its predecessor, the Stagger Seat gives passengers in the middle seat an extra three inches of width at 21 inches, while the two outside seats remain at 18 inches. “Visually, it is a small offset, but ergonomically it makes a huge difference in passenger comfort,” said the company. At the company’s stand, Panasonic displayed the Stagger Seat with fullembedded inflight entertainment capability. Passengers on the aisle and window seats could have monitors of 15.6 inches, while passengers in the middle seat would view inflight entertainment on an 18.5-inch monitor. The company also expects first deliveries of the product to an undisclosed customer in the first quarter of 2018. Molon Labe will be producing the seating at the Primus Aerospace facility in Colorado. One of the key suppliers for the seating is Supracor, which developed the foam padding.
Flexibility from Recaro
Another concept was available for viewing at the Recaro stand in Hamburg. A collaborative research project with Airbus and THK was a finalist in the 2017 Crystal Cabin Awards and holds the promise of increased legroom. The Flex Seat makes use of the company’s SL3510 Economy Class seat designed for short- and medium-haul flights. Simply put, the Flex Seat allows airlines to fold up front row seating with the rest of the cabin seating expanded, like an accordion, to increase seat pitch on flights that are not operating full. The company says the adjustments can be made in less than one minute. Recaro says the switch is simple, with three hand movements to lift the seat row, release a locking mechanism and push the front seats apart on a rail. The system works without tools and cabin crew can adjust the seating configuration between flights, depending on passenger volume. “This allows the airline to adjust the number of seats in an aircraft to the actual number of passengers on each flight,” said a release from Recaro. The Flex-Seat was part of a selection of Recaro innovations on display in Hamburg. Other products and services developed by Recaro designed for passenger wellbeing. The company’s CL6710 Business Class Seat which borrows features from the automotive industry including light sensors, heating components in the seat and massage features. Antibacterial treatments and coatings were developed for plastic parts and aircraft seats. The I-seat feature, installed in the CL6710, can transfer operating information and data to crew for early fault detection and diagnosis. Finally, Recaro has developed a system to work directly with the company on technical changes to aircraft seat components and modifications, reducing time and complexity for ground crews. www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 13
REDUCED MOBILITY SEATING One of the winners of this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards with the Smart Onboard Wheelchair, show in front at the Airbus stand in Hamburg
Cabin mobility E
ach year, airlines and suppliers gather in Hamburg for a week of discussion, debate and learning about a concept that has grown into what is called the “passenger experience.” Much of the talk is centered around elements in the aircraft cabin that supply comfort in all its various forms from fully-reclined seats, large inflight entertainment screens, gourmet inspired food and comfort items in every corner of the cabin. But there is an entire group of passengers whose needs and desires who are at a more elemental level. In 2016, up to 2 million people moved from curbside to cabin by wheelchair with the help of airport contractors, flight attendants and other compassionate souls they may have encountered along the way. Providing a passenger experience for them involves a range airline policies and procedures and a choreographed effort to help them make their flight and complete their journey. The most recent week devoted to the passenger experience showed that the most high-profile comfort and entertain-
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Makers of reduced mobility seating are finding that they have the same challenges as makers of other seating, the need for lightweight products with ease of use and comfort by RICK LUNDSTROM
ment products still grabbed headlines and turned heads. However, it’s clear that work continues on the university and airframe manufacturer level to ease the challenge of maneuvering through the airline cabin for people with disabilities. In some parts of the aviation world, they are referred to as PRM’s: Passengers with Reduced Mobility. In the United States, the Department of Transportation requires that any aircraft that seats more than 60 passengers must be equipped with an aisle wheelchair and smaller aircraft must also have wheelchairs available with a 48 hour notice. Other regulations for larger aircraft require a lavatory accessible for passengers with disabilities, priority space and, in most cases moveable aisle armrests. Similar regulations can be found in the United Kingdom, where the Civil Aviation Authority has the same wheelchair requirement for aircraft seating more than 50 passengers. A handful of companies, mostly headquartered in Europe, but others in China and Taiwan supply civil aviation with variations of the sturdy wheelchairs
that are required to move passengers with reduced mobility around the narrow aisles for the airline cabin. It should come as no surprise that their challenges are much the same as makers of other cabin products. Lightweight materials are a strong selling point, along with ease of use, long product life and convenient handling and stowage. Such is the case with the Airchair, which has been on the market for 10 years, made by a U.K. company called Mercury Products South Limited. Brian Richards, inventor of the Airchair, introduced the first model at Paris Air Show in 2005. This year, the company occupied a stand in Hall 3 at the Aircraft Interiors Expo. At AIX, the company was noting the 10th year of full production and its worldwide acceptance. “Aircrew particularly like the fact that the Airchair is so lightweight and compact so not only is it easy to move around, but it is easy to stow,” said Richards. A few of the specifications: The Airchair weighs in at just more than 6 kilograms and is available in
Easy lavatory access is one of the important features of the Smart Onboard Wheelchair
widths of 14, 15 and 16 inches and can carry passengers weighing up to 250 kilograms. Among the other features are swivel castors seats and backrests made of fire-retardant leather, waist and thigh straps, side restraints and a footrest. The chair can be folded into a carry bag that can be stowed in overhead bins, wardrobes and airline dog carrier. Mercury Products also designed the Airchair with a folding backrest (the only chair on the market to offer this feature) that enables caregivers or crew to move close to a passenger to assist in a safe transfer from one seat to another. The Airchair went into production in 2007 and Mercury Products has placed approximately 1,000 units in airlines around the world, including Virgin Australia, Norwegian Airlines, Aeroflot and several others. Since its introduction 10 years ago, the company says improvements and modifications have been ongoing. A dominant supplier of onboard wheelchairs is located in the backyard of the Aircraft Interiors Expo and Airbus. Hamburg-based Innovint Aircraft Interior GmbH has developed a EASA/ FAR compliant onboard wheelchair in its model 2218 which is flying on more than 70 airlines, according to the company’s website. The model 2218 comes in two versions and touts ease of operation and quick stowage capability. Basic features of the 2218 include fully swiveling casters, straps for shoulders, legs and feet, a stainless steel
construction, literature pocket and choices of colors. Customers can also request leather covers, passenger seat belt buckles for legs and shoulders, a foldable footrest and logos. Maximum weight of the 2218 is 14.5 kilograms. Products like the Airchair and the Model 2218 from Innovint have a long life and require little in the way of maintenance. Richards says the Airchair is built to last 15 years in the airline cabin, but should be taken in for overhauls after five years.
and aircraft cabin’s toilet seat without the assistance of crew. Structural changes to the aircraft lavatory are not required. A video of the wheelchair and other entries from the University category can be found here. “The project was tested by wheelchair users. Their verdict: easy to handle, stable, and safe,” said a description of the entry. Another concept that holds the promise of improving access for passengers with reduced mobility is covered in this issue of PAX International. While the Side-Slip from Molon Labe Designs had a number of other promising features, its ability to double the width of the aisles in a single-aisle aircraft has the additional possibility of greater access for wheelchair passengers. The Side-Slip seat allows passengers and flight attendants to move aisle seats in with a one-touch button. Aircraft equipped with the Side-Slip could open up the width of a single-aisle aircraft from 20 inches to 42 inches when it is on the ground and boarding. With the aisle open to 42 inches, the company said a standard wheelchair could be used by airlines, and would eliminate the need to transfer passengers from one wheelchair to another during the boarding process.
Development for the future
While the wheelchairs now in service quietly go about their job, work is taking place elsewhere to improve on the concept. This year, that was visible at the Crystal Cabin Awards held each year at the Aircraft Interiors Expo. At the awards, the efforts of business and academia in Hamburg teamed up to bring a new concept for helping passengers with reduced mobility in the future. The Smart Onboard Wheelchair was developed through a partnership between Airbus and students at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. The wheelchair claimed a Crystal Cabin Award in the “University” category. The school worked with Airbus’ ProtoSpace operation, which provides the environment, means and tools to accelerate innovation, and provide support for prototyping. The Smart Onboard Wheelchair allows the passenger easily roll over
The Airchair from Mercury Products has been on the market for 10 years
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 15
takes a bow
Having a big partner in your corner has raised the profile of a startup California company that plans to be filling 787 Dreamliners with the newest version of its Tourist Class seating in a mere two years time by RICK LUNDSTROM
Colors and rounded contours make the new Tourist Class seat a match for the airy Dreamliner
arely two weeks after the hundreds of companies that supply airlines around the world with interior products had packed up their wares and displays and left Hamburg, representatives from a young firm celebrated with an important customer located two states north of its Huntington Beach, California headquarters. For its commitment to quality and on time deliveries, EnCore was one of 13 companies picked by category to receive a Supplier of the Year award from Boeing, which has more than 13,000 suppliers in 48 countries. The aircraft maker honored the company in the Production and Design category. EnCore offers the industry a selection of products including seating galleys,
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lavatories, class dividers, closets and flooring and composite structures. Though the company has barely passed its six-year anniversary, its founders, Jim Downey and Tom McFarland have been working with Boeing for more than 40 years. Toward the end of last year, the LIFT by EnCore seating group also announced that it has two airline customers for the Tourist Class Seat on the 737. Much of the company’s time in the near future will be taken up in certification and marketing of its latest project that was announced shortly after the Aircraft Interiors Expo: a new Tourist Class Seating product designed for the 787 cabin, with a planned launch early 2019. The 13-kilogram seat will be available by linefit or retrofit. The seats measure 17.7 EnCore celebrates being one of 13 inches between armrests. Suppliers of the Year selected by Boeing Also incorporated into the design is the ability for airlines to install embedded inflight entertainment screens of up to 12 inches with second screen viewing capability for passengers. One of the options is an in-seat USB port will be positioned just above the tray table.
“Extensive ergonomic testing was conducted on every aspect of the seat in an effort to ensure maximum comfort over extended periods of time. The seatback was also designed with intuitive personal stowage options, and a focus on technology and entertainment that are specifically designed for the modern traveler,” said a release from LIFT by EnCore. From the ground up LIFT by EnCore designed the newest seat for the spacious cabin of the Dreamliner, said Elijah Dobrusin, Vice President of Development and Strategy at LIFT by EnCore. Like it predecessor, the design of Tourist Class is part art and part science. To fit in well the Boeing Sky Interior of the 737, the company, from the beginning softened the look of the product, employing curves and subtle colors to best suit the LED lighting and the airy feel that was built into the design of the latest Boeing cabins. The company has selected a range of colors for the new Tourist Class Seat that includes grays, blues and whites that compliment the Boeing Sky Interior. “We feel like the seat has a very comfortable recline and creates a cradle that we think is unique,” he tells PAX International. The company is also building ease into maintenance and installation of the new Tourist Class.
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The Adagio was the recent addition to the Aviointeriors line
A cabin solutions provider from Australia and a seating company from Italy are finding common ground in the aircraft cabin by integrating IFE and seating in one offer it plans to show the industry by RICK LUNDSTROM
or years, seat manufacturers and embedded inflight entertainment providers have wrestled with the challenges of integrating sophisticated equipment from both into a seamless solution that can be worked with ease by passengers. Workshops and meetings and endless give and take have yielded success. Seating, particularly the pricy and complicated products now found in the premium cabins has taken bold steps forward with the cooperation seating companies and IFE providers. One of the most recent collaborations was announced at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo. It holds the promise of teaming an integrated system from the front to the back of the cabin with seating made by Latina, Italy-based Aviointeriors and components for entertainment, in-seat power, noise cancelling technology and other features developed by digEcor. The Brisbane-based company produces the GLIDE system that composed of IFE, in-seat power, LED cabin lighting, passenger services, crew applications, cabin management, tape replacement Wi-Fi streaming and content services. The April 3 announcement also held out the promise of the integration with other products and the retrofit of IFE and power ports for Aviointeriors seats currently in service. Both Aviointeriors and digEcor had demonstration seats with each other’s products displayed at company stands at Hamburg. While digEcor will contribute the technology and the knowhow to integrate the product, Aviointeriors
will supply an array of seating to make the IFE and other solutions available in any part of the cabin. Seating that will be used include the MonaLisa, suite for the First Class, the Adagio seat (unveiled for the first time in in Hamburg), the Sofia seat line, the Canova seat and Columbus family of seats. “digEcor is working with many seat manufacturers for pre-installed passenger power and IFE,” said David Withers, Chief Executive at digEcor. “The Aviointeriors agreement is to develop a fully integrated and TSO’d (technical standard ordered) seat offering enabling a significant simplification of the aircraft installation process. Avio is a long term successful seat manufacturer and we are very pleased to add them as a partner to digEcor family.” The agreement between Aviointeriors and digEcor spans IFE and passenger power in economy, premium economy, business and first class seats. Customers can order integrated seating with screen
sizes from 10 to 21 inches. The premium seats have to capability to have digEcor’s 110-Volt laptop and 2 Amp USB power. Economy class seating seats will have USB power standard and 110V optional. Withers said companies in the partnership are now working towards conforming the integrated products for qualification testing. “digEcor and Aviointeriors share a like-minded vision in developing product and solutions that meet high production quality, innovation, customer focus and reliability,” said the Withers, in the April announcement of the partnership. “Avio’s continuous improvement and sustainability drive is what also resonated with us, having embarked on a similar innovative path with our recently announced pre integrated USB power solution.” “It’s a great opportunity for both companies and the beginning of a fruitful collaboration,” said Ermanno De Vecchi, C.E.O. Aviointeriors.
The digEcor line of products gives customers and one-stop shop for cabin improvements
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Perfect comfort for passengers Chris Brady, CEO of Acro Aircraft Seating, tells PAX International how his U.K.based company aims to deliver comfort for 25 years
AX International was grateful this spring to catch up with a man who finds there are not enough hours in the day to plan and carry out tasks for a growing company. Acro Aircraft seating has garnered awards and won customers around the world for its lean, elegant seating line. When PAX International’s Mary Jane Pittilla spoke with CEO Chris Brady recently the company had set up shop, with offices in faraway Malaysia and Miami and was working on new seat designs for this fall’s Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas. PAX International: How did you get into the aviation industry? Chris Brady: By accident. I wanted to study engineering at university and when I applied for a course, I needed an industrial sponsor. I applied to British Airways, and then followed my feet. PAX: When did you become CEO of Acro Aircraft Seating? Brady: After working briefly at BA, I moved to Virgin Atlantic as an engineer. In 1993, I moved into marketing, working on what would now be called passenger experience – inflight entertainment, lounges, crew uniforms, etc. In 1997, we had an idea for a lie-flat Business Class seat and entered into a joint venture with Reynard Motorsport to create Reynard Aviation. I was Virgin’s representative on Reynard Aviation’s board, but later was seconded to run the show. I left Virgin in 2000 to co-found FlightStore, an inflight entertainment software business. After leaving in 2003, I worked with Acro’s other two founders: Andy Lawler, whom I had met at Reynard Aviation; and Dave Starkey, who had been a colleague of Andy’s. Together we developed electric actuators for First and Business Class aircraft seats. In 2006, we began thinking about
an Economy seat for low-cost carriers. Acro Aircraft Seating was born with our first seats flying on Jet2.com in February 2008. As the firm grew, I became CEO with Dave and Andy gradually moving into non-executive roles. PAX: What are Acro’s USPs in the aircraft seating market? Brady: Our mission is ‘Perfect Comfort for Passengers’, so we focus on the passenger. We say that we make furniture rather than equipment; we’re not an engineering business, but a furniture making one, which subtly adjusts our focus. Of course, we need to first satisfy the airlines’ needs for lightweight, robust seats, but this is subservient and a necessary pre-condition to our goal of making passengers more comfortable. We need to deliver comfort for 25 years – this guides our decision-making. Our second differentiator is a desire to be easy to do business with; this means short lead-times, open pricing and trying to clear the fog around certification. Here at Acro, we say ‘the way to do that is…’ PAX: Please tell us about any new company developments/contracts. Brady: 2017 has been fantastic year. Key highlights include: celebrating our 10-year anniversary; entering the Airbus BFE Cata-
logue; launching Series 6 with Air New Zealand at Hamburg; winning a launch customer for Series 7, our Premium Economy seat; and completing our second linefit project for Allegiant Air. In the months ahead we will deliver the first shipsets of Series 6 to the Airbus FAL (final assembly lines), and launch and deliver our new premium seat, Series 7. PAX: What challenges – if any – is the company facing? Brady: Not enough hours in the day! We have a strong product pipeline that will underpin our growth in the next five years. PAX: What are the opportunities? How do you see the outlook in 2017/18? Brady: With our investment in people, facilities (we recently opened offices in Miami and Kuala Lumpur) and products, 2018 will be marked by continued growth of our business as we expand our product range and build on our linefit offerability. PAX: What is Acro working on? Brady: We will be focused on first deliveries of Series 6 in the second half of this year. At the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach in September 2017, we plan to unveil further iterations of the Series 6 and Series 7 platforms that will open up additional market opportunities in single and twin aisle. www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 19
INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT Lufthansa Systems’ awardwinning BoardConnect wireless IFE platform boasts new features and a new user interface COPYRIGHT: LUFTHANSA SYSTEMS/MANFRED NERLICH]
A cloud provider above the clouds German aviation IT specialist Lufthansa Systems is gaining new customers for its pioneering digital BoardConnect platform, reports Mary Jane Pittilla
t this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Lufthansa Systems presented its new release BoardConnect 5.0, dubbing it “the perfect platform for digitalization in the aircraft.” The new generation of its popular BoardConnect wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) platform boasts new features and a new user interface. BoardConnect enables passengers to stream content from an airline’s entertainment offering to their own tablets or smartphones during a flight. The BoardConnect product suite is available in three hardware versions. In addition to the permanently installed classic BoardConnect IFE solution, the flexible BoardConnect Portable version combines all of the technical components in a single device that can be installed quickly and easily on any aircraft. The third option available is the BoardConnect Plus connectivity solution. Lufthansa Systems is responding to the growing demand for new onboard digital services by further developing its software – with the new BoardConnect 5.0, which runs on all three versions of the system. BoardConnect 5.0 features a fresh design with a new user interface and an open platform architecture. “Our digital BoardConnect platform is far more than just a pure IFE solution,” says Norbert Müller, Senior Vice President BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems. “Airlines can use it to significantly improve their passengers’ digital experience and further personalize their services. It is also part of our
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company strategy to share our expertise so that our customers can achieve their digital transformation goals.”
Tailored to an airline’s corporate design
The core of the digital BoardConnect platform is its open architecture. New technologies have turned BoardConnect into “a kind of cloud provider above the clouds”, the company says. It enables airlines to run their own applications in the aircraft using BoardConnect as a base, and this also applies to applications from an airline’s external partners. The solution makes it easier for passengers to use onboard services as well – they simply have to connect to the onboard Wi-Fi to access all of the connected services via a standardized user interface. The layout can also be adapted to the individual corporate design of each airline. Crucially, BoardConnect 5.0 gives airlines numerous options for integrating new offers and generating additional revenues. The platform is designed for fast and easy technical integration. Lufthansa Systems is working with its partners Inmarsat and Lufthansa Technik to install broadband Internet on the short- and medium-haul fleets of Lufthansa German Airlines, Eurowings and Austrian Airlines. During April’s AIX, Lufthansa Systems announced new customers for its BoardConnect platform. The Brazilian low-cost carrier Azul Linhas Aéreas (Azul) is the first American customer for BoardCon-
nect Portable, while Israeli airline El Al has opted for the portable version in addition to BoardConnect Classic. BoardConnect Portable has also been successfully implemented for Air Dolomiti. This wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) solution from Lufthansa Systems will soon be in use on more than 300 aircraft worldwide. The corresponding app has been downloaded more than 5 million times. “Our current projects show how multifaceted our digital BoardConnect platform is – in terms of hardware versions, but also as regards content,” says Müller. “Our goal is to fully meet the individual requirements of each customer with a tailored IFE solution. BoardConnect continues to impress with its extremely high rates of reliability, and it is receiving very positive feedback from passengers.”
Fast and easy installation
As the first customer in South America, Azul opted for the flexible version BoardConnect Portable at the end of 2016, in order to offer wireless inflight entertainment on its new A320neo fleet. After just two months for the implementation, the IFE solution based on BoardConnect Portable is now being used on the new aircraft under the name of Azul Play. A permanently installed IFE solution will follow later. Then BoardConnect Portable will be used rotating on other parts of the airline’s fleet. This is where the fast and easy installation and removal of the solution pays off, notes Müller, because the BoardCon-
BoardConnect Portable combines all technical components in a single device, which can be installed quickly and easily on any aircraft
nect Portable hardware has no effect on other components in the aircraft and requires no complicated certification. And Azul passengers can still enjoy a reliable entertainment system. El Al has been a BoardConnect customer for several years. The airline has 18 737/767 aircraft equipped with BoardConnect Classic and is also offering its passengers broadband Internet on some of these aircraft, which has been realized by ViaSat together with Lufthansa Systems. Additionally, El Al has ordered additional sets of BoardConnect Portable. These comprise three Mobile Streaming Units (MSUs) each. An MSU device can supply up to 50 passengers with top-quality streamed content. This means that at a user rate of 50%, El Al can equip a wide-body jet such as a 747 or 777 with a single set of MSUs. Which aircraft will be equipped can be decided at short notice since the portable solution is fast and easy to install. The aircraft are due to be fitted this spring. There are no visible differences between BoardConnect Classic and Portable for passengers. The user interface, functions and content are the same. El Al will also benefit from the standardized handling and simple harmonization of the IFE content. Air Dolomiti has been using BoardConnect Portable since the end of last year. A total of 11 Embraer 190 aircraft have been fitted with the solution. The Italian airline does not offer movies, but instead focuses on newspapers and magazines. This saves a considerable
amount of money through weight reduction and less administration, says Müller.
Lufthansa implementation progressing well
The other airlines in the Lufthansa Group are currently focusing on offering broadband Internet on their short- and medium-haul flights to give passengers the greatest possible variety in enjoying individual entertainment onboard. Austrian Airlines finished equipping its own 31 A320 aircraft with broadband this spring. Initially, a total of 69 aircraft of Eurowings will gradually migrate from BoardConnect Portable to BoardConnect Plus with an Internet connection by January 2018. Additionally, both airlines offer inflight entertainment based on BoardConnect, including movies, TV series, music and games. For Lufthansa itself, the implementation is progressing as well. The airline has already fitted 24 aircraft, with its entire A320 fleet due to be equipped with the new connectivity solution by the summer of 2018. Lufthansa Systems’ growing customer base in the inflight entertainment and connectivity sector reflects the trend toward increased digitalization in the aircraft. “Passengers expect the same entertainment experience onboard as they have on the ground – in terms of movies and TV shows, better audio quality, communication options and fast internet,” says Müller. “We help airlines meet their passengers’ expectations. There continues to be a lot of interest in
BoardConnect, and we are talking with many potential customers and working on new implementations already.”
SpiceJet comes onboard
In a further customer announcement, Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet will soon equip its entire fleet with BoardConnect Portable, offering passengers access to both IFE and e-commerce on their own smartphones and tablets. Lufthansa Systems and SpiceJet signed a letter of intent to this effect after this year’s AIX show in Hamburg. Passengers will be able to use the new offer in 2017. Ajay Singh, Chief Managing Director at SpiceJet, says: “Enhancing customer experience and comfort onboard has always been our prime focus at SpiceJet. SpiceJet expects to be the first low-cost carrier in India to provide this unique entertainment and shopping experience to its customers. This is yet another step towards ensuring a Red, Hot and Spicy experience for our customers, every time they step into a SpiceJet flight.” Adds Müller: “We are proud that with SpiceJet, an extraordinary innovative low-cost airline from India has chosen our award-winning IFE solution BoardConnect Portable. We are looking forward to team up with SpiceJet for a fast and smooth roll-out project.” SpiceJet is an Indian low-cost carrier based in New Delhi. With a fleet of 55 aircraft composed of 737s and Bombardier Q 400s, it offers mainly domestic flights within India and connections to destinations in Southeast Asia. www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 21
Listen up Linstol’s LSTN in-flight noisecancelling headsets developed for Delta One features premium finishes and were designed to enhance comfort during extended use on long-haul flights
While noise-cancellation and comfort top the headset priority list, airlines are paying more attention to modern styling, improved performance and models that closely resemble those offered in the retail market
f you ask some passengers, the one thing they cannot be without when traveling is a good pair of headphones. For some that means ergonomically-fit in-ear earbuds, while for others it is a noise-cancelling overear headset or for the tech-savvy passenger, perhaps Apple’s wireless AirPods. Despite the many variations available, passengers tend to care the most about two features: noise-cancellation and comfort — few want to travel with heavy, cumbersome headphones. Size — coupled with the ability to fold or collapse — tends to be another deal breaker, as there is only so much room in a carry-on.
Priorities in check
“Today’s passengers are looking for headsets that are on par with retail headsets they might have at home,” says Mark Russell, CEO of Linstol. “Sound quality and noise cancellation are extremely important while flying, but comfort is also of high importance 22 | PAX INTERNATIONAL | JULY 2017
especially during extended use on longer flights.” Although airlines are looking for the same attributes as passengers — as a means of meeting their needs — they are also as always, conscious about cost, compatibility with their IFE systems and refurbishment. Some of the trends airlines are paying particular attention to at the moment says Russell, include moving away from basic, plain black headsets toward more modern styling, with more attention being placed on how the look and feel of the headset coordinate with the cabin interior, all of which the company has incorporated into its own designs. “Linstol headsets are produced utilizing RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) materials,” explains Russell. “Wood, machine-polished aluminum and a soft touch plastic are some of the finishes we are happy to bring to the market.” Linstol is currently looking forward to the mid-July launch of its LSTN inflight noise-cancelling headsets in the Delta One cabin. The headsets feature a sleek design with wooden earpieces and premium audio components. Equally important as the style and function of the headsets themselves, is the opportunity that has been realized through fostering a partnership between Delta and LSTN Sound Co.: part of the proceeds from Delta’s partnership with LSTN will benefit Starkey Hearing Foundation, enabling thousands with hearing loss to receive the gift of hearing. “Giving back has always been close to Linstol’s heart, so it is a great honor to be a part of such an amazing win-win scenario,” says Russell. Linstol’s most recent headset is the
high-end noise cancelling 275 headset targeted for upper class cabins. This new high-performance headset features premium finishes and has been designed to enhance passenger comfort during extended use on long-haul flights. Also recent is the success of Linstol’s enhanced PE-95 premium earbud in Saudia Airline’s Economy Class cabin. “Designed specifically with Saudia as a special gift for their guests, the PE-95 premium earbud brings improved performance and exceptional passenger comfort,” explains Russell. Bespoke logo print and color scheme complete the offering. Russell says that for the most part, the advancements made in technology for onboard headsets follow those advancements that occur in the retail market. “In our new 275 headset, we have focused on comfort and noise cancellation for long-haul usage to reduce listening fatigue,” he says. In addition, Linstol has worked extensively with industry-leading acoustic engineers to improve the drive units. Another focus has been on integrated circuitry that enhances surround sound effects and audio ranges typical in movies. The result is higher sound quality without increasing volume.” At the upcoming Airline Passenger Experience Association Expo (APEX) this fall, Linstol plans to showcase the LSTN for Delta headset. “In addition, we will unveil another relationship with one of the world’s leading high-end audio brands. More information will follow,” says Russell.
In addition to clear sound, effective noise reduction or cancellation, reusability and comfort, AVID has also noticed an increased demand from passengers for branded headsets.
AVID incorporated passive and active noise reduction technologies in its NC-series headphones, including the NC113 model (pictured)
The supplier says airlines are looking for new revenue streams and are also expanding their buy-on-board programs, which means better sound quality headsets have become more readily available to passengers. “Headphones being exclusively designed are trending heavily within the market,” says Christine Contant, AVID Travel Sales Director. “Airlines are finding numerous ways to differentiate themselves from their competition and these exclusive designs allow for alignment with style cues from their cabin interiors, while enhancing their corporate brand direction.” Contant says she is also seeing the emergence of new materials in headset development including silicone, which AVID has begun using in its headsets. “We are always looking for ways to incorporate not only eco-friendly materials, but additionally eco-friendly methods in the manufacturing process.” Contant says her team has observed the development of advanced Bluetooth, wireless capabilities and noise reduction being integrated into today’s headsets, which much like the new materials, AVID has also incorporated into its own headsets, specifically passive and active noise reduction technologies in its NC-series headphones. AVID has continued to grow its custom headphone collection, as well as the continued expansion of its noise-cancelling family. “Within the past year, AVID has increasingly
developed new headsets and is currently excited about a couple projects in the prototype phase,” says Contant.
Small changes, big results
Industry veterans Inflight Direct has noticed airlines are focusing more on the quality of headsets rather than just the cost as of late, and specifically models that incorporate the airline color scheme that will essentially become a souvenir from the flight and consequently, an effective marketing tool. As for materials, the supplier has noticed a continued interest in the rubber-tipped earbuds. “We are taking entry-level earbuds, adding the silicone ear tips and providing a low-cost earbud at a very competitive cost,” says Thomas G.Mockler, President and CEO of Inflight Direct. “Years ago, these would be uncomfortable during a long flight; however, by making a simple change like adding sound-dampening ear tips, the passenger will have a more enjoyable experience with the lower-end earbuds.” In reference to the headband style models, Mockler says Inflight Direct is continuing to improve its speaker drivers to increase sound quality. “We are working on using dual voice coils in the upper-class models, which will give a theater experience with a passive noise reduction model to keep costs to a minimum,” he adds. Mockler says that with this added pressure of keeping costs to a mini-
mum — due in part to the large volume of headsets being purchased — airlines are looking for a reliable and dependable supplier, in addition to minimizing storage space onboard. Inflight Direct recently introduced two new headset models. The first, incorporates the popular angled rubber ear tip, while the second model does not. “The angled ear tip has been widely popular in the retail markets for the past several years and was only just introduced to the airline market,” explains Mockler. The angled feature of the first model provides added noise reduction and improved sound quality, whereas the second model offers a sleek, yet simple design and is small, lightweight and comfortable to wear. Paying close attention to the trends and developments happening in the retail market appears to be the consensus among suppliers when determining the next steps to take with headsets in the passenger experience industry. “The headphone design, production, and distribution continues to be an interesting part of our industry,” says Mockler. “It changes as the retail trends and electronic gadgets evolve. In order to stay fresh, we need to watch these trends and incorporate them into our industry.”
One of Inflight Direct’s new headset models features popular angled rubber ear tips
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 23
One name, front to back Rockwell Collins positions for future of connected aircraft with the completion of its purchase of B/E Aerospace
Werner Lieberherr with the company’s Meridian seat for the main cabin
hough the company has been in existence under one name or another since its founder supplied technology to track the Byrd expedition to the Antarctic in the 1930s, Rockwell Collins brought what amounts to a new look to the aviation industry when it planted its flag at the Paris Air Show June 19-25. Before that, new banners hung from the outside walls of the company’s newly acquired plants, like the one PAX International toured with other media May 17 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Inside, workers wearing black Rockwell Collins polo shirts assembled the B/E Aerospace line of seating products that will now bear the new owner’s name. The workflow is quietly efficient and progress of each of the assembly jobs is copiously tracked at each of the stations. Among the customers with seating being built at the facility were American Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia. Kelly Ortberg, President, CEO Rockwell Collins and Chairman of completed the acquisition Rockwell Collins of B/E Aerospace April 13 24 | PAX INTERNATIONAL | JULY 2017
Rockwell Collins Super Diamond seating is prepared for delivery to Saudi Arabian Airlines
after a process that began with the initial announcement during this year’s Airline Passenger Experience Association event last October in Singapore. Final cost for the B/E Aerospace purchase came to US$8.6 billion leaving the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Rockwell Collins a supplier powerhouse of 30,000 employees and annual revenue of more than US$8 billion. The purchase includes a rebranding of the B/E Aerospace line and the creation of a new Interior Systems business unit, under the direction of Werner Lieberherr, former B/E Aerospace President and Chief Executive Officer. Lieberherr told the group of reporters that the new company division would continue its goals to be a provider of technology-based solutions that customers have come to expect from Rockwell Collins. “Either you are a cost leader or an innovation leader,” he said. That opportunity for innovation will now include a portfolio of products that takes Rockwell Collins from the cockpit, where it specializes in avionics and communications through to the cabin. Over the years, B/E Aerospace has developed a wide range of cabin interior products for commercial aircraft and business jets including: seating, food and beverage preparation and storage equipment, lighting and
SEATING Rockwell Collins. The sector has achieved a 12.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2006 to the end of last year. In an afternoon session with reporters, Rockwell Collins Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kelly Ortberg discussed strategy for the new acquisition and its fit within the company; and the development of aircraft that in the future will be connected digitally from nose to tail. “We see great synergies, particularly as we move to a digitally connected airplane for us to leverage the collective strengths of the organization,” he said. “It is going to bring us closer to the flying passenger as opposed to just the pilot.” The company’s seating line will remain open to integration with other IFE industry hardware suppliers. Ortberg said Rockwell Collins sees a future where inflight entertainment, especially in single-aisle will be in the hands Crash dummies await work at the Design and of passengers and connectivity providers. Testing labs at Rockwell Collins in Winston-Salem He added, “More and more airlines are going to move to ‘bring your own device’ oxygen systems, and modular galley and lavatory systems. with no embedded wired IFE device. IFE is going to The Winston-Salem plant is one of 25 manufacturing facilibe delivered by wireless networks and streaming that ties around the world. In 2016 64% of the Interior Systems busi- information, and that is being done in many airlines ness was through line fit, while 36% was aftermarket retrofit. today. That is where we believe the market is going.” Work at Winston-Salem goes on in two massive faciliWhere the company will remain an important player is the ties. Seating assembly for the company’s many customers supply of inflight connectivity that has grown in importance takes place in one plant. In another building is the company’s since the 2013 acquisition of satellite communications proDynamic Test Center and Advanced Design Group. There, vider ARINC. Rockwell Collins is also a value-added reseller products are put through their paces with simulated stresses of Inmarsat’s new GX Aviation service, able to deliver the with weights and wear. There is a crash test bed and burn world’s first global high-speed aviation broadband service. center for certifications. In offices, designers are free to dream “We are now expanding into the back of the aircraft providof cabins of the future using virtual reality equipment. ing broadband connectivity to the aircraft so that we can all Interior Systems is now the largest revenue producer for live our mobile lives like we want to,” Ortberg added.
Airshow primed for biz jet market In a partnership with Gogo Business Aviation announced earlier this month, the Rockwell Collins moving map display program, Airshow will be available for use in business jet aircraft without the need for additional hardware. The partnership between the two companies was announced June 5. Passengers on business jet aircraft will be able to access the moving maps with geographic detail and three-dimensional graphics. The system requires users to be customers of Gogo ATG to use the system without additional hardware. They can access the map through the Airshow Mobile 2 app. The moving map fits all aircraft types and is optimized of iOS® and Android telephones and tablets. “This collaborative effort with Gogo provides us another avenue for bringing our new industry-leading Airshow into the hands of business aircraft passengers,” said Greg Irmen, Vice President and General Manager, Flight Controls and Information Systems at Rockwell Collins. “Airshow is the most deployed moving map in aviation because of its advanced technology and features that keep passengers and crew interactively connected with their flight experience.”
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The Airshow app for business aviation can be used with iOS or Android devices
Inmarsat AirAsia’s IFEC offering will take a major step ahead next year when GX Aviation becomes part of the airlines interesting supplier mix by RICK LUNDSTROM
hile it may not have made the front pages of Variety magazine or had famous stars from the screen in Hollywood, the film Temuan Takdir was notable on one sense: it was the first Malaysian film to premier aboard an airline three days before it was released to the theaters. The date was August 8, 2016 and the airline was AirAsia. Passengers on the airline during the promotional three-day blitz were able to see the action film for free aboard the airline using the roKKi Wi-Fi portal on 33 aircraft in the AirAsia fleet. Temuan Takdir (which means “the fateful meeting” in Malay) was unique in several other respects, mainly for its approach to the production. It was supported by an international non-profit organization called Friends to Mankind as part of a program called Project Dignity. As a result, the film cast included half professionals and half amateurs. AirAsia has been making waves and publicity of this nature thanks to its unique approach to the passenger experience and the way its high-profile CEO Tony Fernandes does business. True to its unconventional fashion, AirAsia uses the young smaller company called Rokki for its for its inflight entertainment and connectivity. “Rokki shakes up the traditional approach to the market by pushing
Benyamin Ismail, CEO AirAsia X with Leo Mondale, President, Inmarsat Aviation at AIX 2017 in Hamburg
the limits of IFEC,” said a release from AirAsia. “Offering customizable solutions built on cutting- edge technology.” AirAsia offers a comprehensive connectivity system on the Rokki IFEC platform. Passengers receive complementary movies, music, reading material and games. They can also shop for meals, merchandise and purchase duty free products. The airline also offers a more comprehensive plan, allowing passenger a chat and Internet plan for between RM 9 and RM 18 (US$2-$4). The previous year at AIX, AirAsia again took a chance on a newcomer in the industry and placed a huge order for the Hawk seat from United Kingdom-based Mirus for its future A320 deliveries. However, in April AirAsia and Rokki saw the need for a larger partner to take the airline’s IFEC to the next step. At this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo the airline signed a memorandum of understanding with Inmarsat for its next- generation inflight connectivity solution called GX Aviation. “Inmarsat and AirAsia share many of the same traits and this preliminary agreement is not only great news for our partnership, but importantly, it is a truly exciting development for their passengers too,” said Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation. In April, Mondale
said the partners would first embark on a trial service period that will involve work on the software switching system and comprehensive testing. Installation is expected to commence this year, with the service to go live in 2018. It will cover AirAsia’s A330 and A320 fleet At the time of the announcement, GX Aviation was more than six months into full operation, after the system underwent a soft launch in October of last year aboard Lufthansa in partnership with Lufthansa Technik. Inmarsat added another new customer in June of this year when Qatar Airways became the first Middle East customer. The service will be available on more than 130 aircraft in Qatar Airways fleet, specifically A350s and 777s. Qatar Airways is moving fast on its order. The rollout of the GX-Aviation equipped aircraft was scheduled to start this summer. The airline will make use of the service through high-efficiency JetWave terminals that are produced by Inmarsat’s partner, Honeywell Aerospace. In early April, Inmarsat had more than 1,000 expected aircraft under signed contracts, both installed and as a backlog, for its next-generation GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband services.
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ViaSat-2 Successfully Launched ViaSat Inc. in early June completed the successful launch of its ViaSat-2 satellite aboard an Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle
he Ariane 5 ECA carrying ViaSat-2 lifted off, June 1 at 4:45 pm PDT from the Guiana Space Center, located in Kourou, French Guiana. First signals from the satellite were acquired shortly thereafter through a ground station at Hassan, India. ViaSat expects it will take several months for ViaSat-2 to reach its final orbital destination, located at 69.9° west longitude. “Today’s successful launch is a momentous event in ViaSat’s history,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat’s Chairman and CEO in the June 2 release on the launch. “It represents the culmination of hard work, dedication and commitment to technical excellence from across the ViaSat team. We also want to recognize our launch team partners, Boeing and Arianespace, for
their support and collaboration in helping us successfully launch ViaSat-2.” ViaSat-2 is a geostationary satellite that operates in Ka-band frequencies. It was designed to offer high-capacity connectivity and wide coverage, with the flexibility to move capacity to where demand requires it. ViaSat-2 is expected to significantly improve speeds, reduce costs and expand the footprint of broadband services across North America, Central America, the Caribbean, a portion of northern South America, as well as the primary aeronautical and maritime routes across the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe. Dankberg added, “The innovations in our ViaSat-2 spacecraft and underlying network will enable us to be one step closer to connecting the world, and delivering new higher
The Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA vehicle lifts off from French Guiana June 1
speed fixed and mobility services that will continue to compete with traditional broadband services.”
䤀䴀뜀倀刀䔀뜀匀匀䤀伀一 䄀一 䤀䐀䔀䄀Ⰰ 䘀䔀䔀䰀䤀一䜀Ⰰ 伀刀 伀倀䤀一䤀伀一 䄀䈀伀唀吀 匀伀䴀䔀吀䠀䤀一䜀 伀刀 匀伀䴀䔀伀一䔀Ⰰ 䘀伀刀䴀䔀䐀 圀䤀吀䠀伀唀吀 䌀伀一匀䌀䤀伀唀匀 吀䠀伀唀䜀䠀吀⸀
㜀㈀ 䨀漀栀渀渀礀挀愀欀攀 䠀椀氀氀 刀漀愀搀 ⸀ 䴀椀搀搀氀攀琀漀眀渀Ⰰ 刀䤀 ㈀㠀㐀㈀ 唀匀䄀 ⸀ 㠀㠀㠀ⴀ㔀㜀㔀ⴀ䄀嘀䤀䐀 ⸀ 眀眀眀⸀䄀嘀䤀䐀瀀爀漀搀甀挀琀猀⸀挀漀洀 ⸀ 猀愀氀攀猀䀀䄀嘀䤀䐀瀀爀漀搀甀挀琀猀⸀挀漀洀
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TECH FOR TOMORROW
Tech support From headsets to media players and integrated USB power solutions, PAX International rounds up a selection of front-line IFE and tech-savvy products currently on the market Digital Magnetic Jack Unit™ (MJU™): Phitek has introduced
a new digital audio technology system called the digital Magnetic Jack Unit™ (MJU™), which combined with premium Phitek headphones, delivers intuitive IFE gesture control and digital connectivity in the headphone. This system will drive new innovations, such as immersive 3D surround sound and biometric wellness sensing to become a new standard in inflight entertainment. Phitek’s magnetic technology ensures 250,000 connection cycles, removing the vulnerability of a USB connector in the tough cabin environment. The digital jack is backward compatible for traditional headphone pins, ensuring airlines can use their existing stock, and continue to support passenger-owned headphones, allowing an easy transition to digital headphones.
Q-Bag Tag: Together with Qantas and key technology partners, Buzz developed the sleek looking and durable Q-Bag Tag for Qantas. Designed by Marc Newson, each tag contains world-first technology that synchronizes passenger details from their boarding pass or Qantas card with their baggage. The Q-Bag Tag is a permanent electronic bag tag designed to facilitate a faster and easier baggage check-in at domestic airports. The world-first integration of connected RFID technology in the sleek and durable bag tag enables passengers’ travel details to be synchronized with their baggage. Equipped with intelligent Q chip technology, just one touch at a Q Card Reader is all that is needed to check-in for a flight.
Royole Moon 3D virtual mobile theater: The new Royole Moon is a virtual 3D mobile theater for movies, gaming, and more. It combines two Full HD AMOLED displays that simulate a giant, scalable 800” curved screen with stereoscopic 3D, and a professional-grade active noise cancelling system to deliver cinematic movie-watching and immersive-gaming experiences anywhere the user desires. Additional features include: highest resolution displays at over 3000 ppi; scalable screen, adjustable to users face/head shape; Wi-Fi with built-in web browser; World’s first foldable design, which ensures comfort and allows for easy packing during travel; sources movies from built-in internal storage, smartphones, set-top boxes, and PCs, as well as accessing content from nearly any streaming service; and sources games from popular gaming platforms.
Everhub: Everhub is a cutting-edge inflight entertainment system that enables passengers to engage with entertainment, onboard retail and destination services via their mobile device or laptop. Via these devices, passengers can stream video and audio files, play games, read publications, review city guides and view a live moving map. Everhub can also be used to review and purchase duty free and snack bar products and plan and book destination services.
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Bluebox Wow: Bluebox Wow from Bluebox Aviation
Systems Ltd. is a lightweight and portable wireless IFE platform about the size of a lunchbox that streams video, audio, games, and other digital content to both passengerand airline-owned devices. Featuring a rechargeable battery that can support up to 50 devices for up to 15 hours and is easily replaced when needed, Bluebox Wow is easily deployable: no STC required, no long lead times and no cabin installation costs.
SkyTrack: Brought to the industry by SkylogistiX, a daughter company of
SPIRIANT, SkyTrack works with the use of QR-Labels adhered to trolleys and scanned with a handheld-scanner, or a smartphone, in combination with SPIRIANT’s newly developed app, to alleviate logistical troubles and create transparency when tracking trolleys. Allowing for an efficient overview of an airline’s entire fleet of stock, the system is easy to use and realistic in even the most remote of places, anticipating and combating any possible shortages before they arise. The scanned trolleys can then be found in a central data system and SkyTrack can be customized to the airline’s need for positioning and inventory data — all process stakeholders will have access to the data and can use it for their own benefit. This means reduced equipment costs for airlines, as the errors included in manual counts can be avoided and the entire process optimized.
NC-Series: AVID is expanding its NC-series. Designed to meet industry standards and current headset trends, AVID’s noise-canceling line offers both passive and active noise reduction, along with stylish and trendy construction. With its headset volume control and plane-ready jack, as well as sturdy speaker construction, sound sensitivity, and impedance quality, the line of headsets is positioned well for inflight usage. Visitors at this September International Flight Services Association (IFSA) Conference and Expo are invited to browse AVID’s expanding headphone portfolio. (Pictured: the NC113 model)
Customizable earbuds: InflightDirect has developed customizable earbuds. Customers can choose the color of each plastic piece (four in total) and combine them to make a unique set of earbuds. Unlike many other earbuds, Inflight Direct’s model allows for a customized logo using chrome and a variety of colors, transforming the standard earbuds into a product that makes a statement and drives airlines’ marketing initiatives.
INPLAY: The INPLAY platform from IdeaNova Technologies, Inc. delivers media content to passenger devices securely and seamlessly letting them stream the latest movies and TV shows. Unlike traditional inflight entertainment technologies, INPLAY players are plugin-less eliminating the confusing process of downloading, installing, and updating plugins that often leads to a frustrating IFE experience. The solution is also integrated with a powerful data analysis tool called INSHOW, which focuses specifically on customers’ media playback experience and deployment in the avionics industry.
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TECH FOR TOMORROW
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Pre-Integrated USB Power solution: The new sub system of digEcor’s
GLIDE embedded system, the Pre-Integrated USB Power solution, was developed with Economy Class in mind. With the Pre-Integrated USB Power solution, airlines can purchase seat and power together at the seat manufacturer already certified. Benefits include reduced costs and installation time, as well as increased passenger space and comfort, as the seat box is designed into the seat itself freeing up legroom. Consolidating the number of components used, the new solution strengthens the efficiency and reliability across the supply chain, further reducing the overall cost and delivery of maintenance. In addition, the solution has a USB-C growth path that doesn’t involve modification to the seat.
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sales and payment processing tool, capable of optimizing the ancillary revenue opportunity in both the on-line and off-line environment. Using NovoStar, crew are able to secure payments on a tablet, smartphone or dedicated POS terminal. Payment methods can include credit cards, debit cards (for certain countries), vouchers, Air Miles, cash or contactless cards (NFC).
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www.devicetech.com 32 | PAX INTERNATIONAL | JULY 2017
Grommet Edging: Spring-Fast® Wire Protection Grommet Edging: Device Technology Inc.’s Spring-Fast® is the future of wire protection. Adopted by aviation seating/interior OEMs because of the patented encapsulated spring steel ‘snap-on’ design, SpringFast® speeds assembly, reduce costs and boosts productivity by 950% while delivering best-in-class performance. Listed in IFE wiring guideline standard ARINC 628, part 5, Spring-Fast® improves worker safety by eliminating the toxic VOCs associated with the glues and solvents used in plastic grommet assemblies. (pictured: FAAApproved Spring-Fast Composite Grommet Edging per NAS M22529/2 on bottom right and the fully encapsulated “SL Series” on top left.)
PAX READERSHIP AWARDS
Honoring innovation Seating, IFE and connectivity suppliers gathered in Hamburg to accept their winnings this past April, at PAX International’s annual Readership Awards
Alan McInnes, SVP Sales for Acro Aircraft Seating (on left) and Adam Challenor, Technical Director for Acro Aircraft Seating (on right) at the awards ceremony
Melissa Hodges, Marketing Executive at STG Aerospace and Nigel Duncan, CEO of STG Aerospace mingle at the awards ceremony
David Withers, Chief Executive of digEcor and Paul Thorpe, VP Global Sales catch up at the awards ceremony
his past April in Hamburg, seating, inflight entertainment and connectivity suppliers were honored by readers of PAX International at the magazine’s annual Readership Awards for their innovations and developments for airlines. “The readership awards celebrates the achievements within our industry,” said PAX International Publisher Aijaz Khan at the start of the ceremony. Held on the evening of April 5 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, this year’s ceremony marked the third year that PAX International has held its Readership Awards in Hamburg. Winners and guests enjoyed canapés and refreshments, while Editor-in-Chief Rick Lundstrom began the presentation by sharing some related facts and significant achievements by the winners in the past year. “I also urge everyone attending to take part next year in our readership awards,” said Lundstrom, at the close of the award ceremony. The following are the seating, IFE and connectivity supplier winners from each category:
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PAX READERSHIP AWARDS
Best IFE and Connectivity digEcor - Glide embedded IFE system
Alan McInnes, SVP Sales for Acro Aircraft Seating (on left) and Adam Challenor, Technical Director for Acro Aircraft Seating (on right) accept the award for Best Seating
DID YOU KNOW?: digEcor boasts the most important sales tool for any aircraft supplier, and that’s a one-stop shop, offering embedded IFE, portable units, in-seat power, lighting and cabin management, as well as Wi-Fi and a host of other services.
Best Seating Acro Aircraft Seating
IN THE NEWS: Acro Aircraft Seating made headlines last December when it was placed seventh in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100, which ranks the 100 companies with the fastest growing sales over the last three years.
Best Cabin Interior Passenger Experience Enhancement STG Aerospace — LED reading light
DID YOU KNOW?: In addition to fine lighting products, STG Aerospace has been promoting the efforts of its female employees. On its website, the company has been featuring the perspectives of women who are making their mark in a male-dominated industry.
Melissa Hodges, Marketing Executive at STG Aerospace demonstrates their winning product — the LED Reading Light — as Nigel Duncan, CEO of STG Aerospace accepts the award for Best Cabin Interior Passenger Experience Enhancement
David Withers, Chief Executive of digEcor accepts the award for Best IFE and Connectivity
Nigel Duncan, CEO of STG Aerospace accepts the award for Best Cabin Interior Passenger Experience Enhancement
Click here to learn more about the PAX International Readership Awards and how to vote for 2018.
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