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IFEC, INTERIORS & MRO
Trolle : cover y age
SEATING, IFE & CONNECTIVITY
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At home while away
he busy summer travel season is the time of year when airlines turn their attention to pleasing passengers embarking on their annual (or maybe even more infrequent) vacations. Purchasing decisions are often made in the mid to late spring and new products are rolled out to this group of occasional travelers in hopes of building loyalty – something airlines can count on less and less. It always seems a bit ironic to me that we are told over and over again passengers are looking for an aviation experience that replicates what they have at home. If they are traveling for pleasure, I feel it is in some ways defeating the purpose to look for experiences that are so familiar. But, here we are. There is a down-home desire to be constantly connected, whether it is with family and friends or to the news of the day. And rarely are travelers are doing it with a newspaper tucked under their arm, waiting to be opened once they find their seat. Companies like Adaptive have answered that demand for a connected experience. Laurent Safar, CEO of the French company, sent me a white paper he wrote a few years ago while I was working on a story that appears in this issue. In it, he quoted Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, who said something
that should be quoted in any airline boardroom before a decision is made to buy the next inflight product. “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology,” Jobs said, “not the other way around.” Spafax, another company featured in this issue, followed that logic in a recent 48-hour brainstorming session. Two groups of software developers were tasked with developing products that improve the passenger experience, and they did so by tweaking new and existing technology to create something similar to a process that a growing number of people, travelers included, would find familiar: chatting with Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. Whether passengers travel with a laptop, tablet, smartphone or, in some cases, all three, there exists behind the glass, deep in the components of technology, the ability to bring a passenger at 30,000 feet an experience like one they would have in their living room. Although the desire to have home-like experience while on the road is a bit puzzling to me, the efforts of companies like these are moving us closer to that goal and, as we watch them develop, will continue to educate and interest us all.
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ISSN 1206-5714 Key title: Pax International
Rick Lundstrom Editor-in-Chief PAX International
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 3
TROLLEYS 10 NEXT-LEVEL WASTE MANAGEMENT
SPIRIANT shares its excitement about a dual product launch the company feels will turn the waste cart on its head and benefit airlines, cabin crew and customers alike
22 THE BIG CHILL
Bucher is diving headfirst into the trolley market in a big way with the ARCTICart, a new concept the company claims can keep food temperatures within four degrees centigrade for a whopping 20 hours
IFE & CONNECTIVITY 12 HACKING OUT SOLUTIONS
A marathon technical collaboration in a historic Central London district brought together two teams of software developers for Spafax bent on creating new solutions that help pave the way for the next steps in inflight entertainment development
26 NEWSSTAND IN HAND
With weight and logistics costs an ongoing concern among airlines, several have moved away from distributing onboard print, and a French company is waiting in the wings to snatch up more potential customers
28 SATCOM SELLING STRATEGY
Marketing low-profile antennas has been a high-profile effort for ThinKom Solutions. Now, the company plans to spread the word of its products’ reliability as it moves to three million hours of operation
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16 EYE ON ITALIAN DESIGN
Iacobucci HF Aerospace showed the world its new design for Business Class single-aisle at AIX 2017. Now the seat has won a major design award and may be on the verge of a launch customer
IFEC, INTERIORS & MRO
18 COMBINING COMFORT AND PERFORMANCE
ON THE COVER: BONUS
Trolley : covera ge
SEATING, IFE & CONNECTIVITY
The CL3710 seat from Recaro on WestJet.
PHOTO COURTESY RECARO
Tapis Corp is responding to evolving market trends with new seat cover innovations from specialist manufacturer Ultrafabrics and speedy, global service
24 LIGHT AS AIR
Already an expert in mattresses and home bedding solutions, Studio Moderna is making waves in the aviation industry with its start-up Vanema and Octaspring technology
30 TAKING OFF TO NEW HEIGHTS
FACTS & FIGURES
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Following a series of contract award announcements at the 2018 AIX Hamburg show, Italian seating and interiors manufacturer Geven reveals additional major developments
EVENTS 32 BOSTON ON THE HORIZON
Ahead of APEX’s annual North American expo this September, PAX spoke to Katie Goshgarian, Executive Director of APEX, for an exclusive look at what to expect in Beantown
Building the future of IFE
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Wireless IFE comes to Turkish
Caribbean Airlines opts for Bluebox Wow
Passengers on Turkish Airlines’ 44 narrow-body aircraft will now be able to stream inflight entertainment to their personal electronic devices via a system developed by the carrier’s engineers in partnership with Turkish Technic Inc. and software company Havelsan. According to a statement from the airline, more than 250 films, 700 TV shows, 2,000 music albums and 19,000 songs, among other content, will be available to Turkish’s guests through this system. To use it, passengers must install the “Wi-Fi Entertainment” app on their device prior to their flight; those who will be traveling with their laptops will be able to access the Wireless Entertainment System via their Google Chrome browser. “We keep striving to make our passengers’ entire journey more enjoyable with our passenger satisfaction-focused approach. We are pleased to increase the availability of the inflight entertainment system to 95% of our fleet,” said M. İlker Aycı, Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee. “This new system will enable our passengers to connect to the Wi-Fi network via their personal electronic devices and display the media content specially designed for this system.”
Bluebox Aviation Systems’ Bluebox Wow, the company’s portable wireless streaming platform, will fly on Caribbean Airlines’ fleet of 12 737-800 aircraft for routes across the Caribbean and North and South America starting in August. The platform will deliver Caribbean View, the airline’s free inflight entertainment service of movies, TV shows, games, magazines and other Caribbean-centric content, directly to passengers’ personal devices. “Caribbean Airlines is focused on enhancing the customer experience, and we are excited to introduce Caribbean View as part of our inflight entertainment package,” said Garvin Medera, Chief Executive Officer of Caribbean Airlines, in a statement from the company. “The wireless service will be free to all Caribbean Airlines passengers and the Bluebox Wow platform gives us the quality we want to deliver, in a flexible solution that fits our service upgrade plans.” Kevin Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Bluebox, also commented: “We’re extremely pleased that Caribbean Airlines has selected Bluebox Wow for engaging its passengers. Bluebox Wow offers a powerful and flexible proposition that will ensure Caribbean Airlines can deliver a fresh and vibrant service that is extremely easy for passengers to access, two things we know are important to an engaging IFE service.”
HAECO Vector in Airbus A350 catalog HAECO Cabin Solutions announced that Airbus has approved the company as an offerable supplier for passenger seating. The Vector brand seat is now included in the A350 aircraft catalog for line-fit selection. HAECO has also secured a launch customer for line-fit A320 series seating with a “sizeable carrier in Asia,” according to the company. Offerability in the catalog is achieved after Airbus determines a supplier’s ability to reliably deliver seats to meet production line and customer requirements. Having Vector Economy approved by Airbus enables HAECO Cabin Solutions to present and offer seating solutions to line-fit customers more efficiently. HAECO Cabin Solutions and Airbus have also launched the offerability process for Vector Economy on A320 family
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aircraft, and Vector Premium for both the A320 family and A350 XWB family. “With Vector, HAECO has developed a true platform-based product, which shares many parts and features between the Economy and Premium versions of the seat,” said Doug Rasmussen, President and Group Director of HAECO Cabin Solutions. “Adding line-fit offerability demonstrates the trust Airbus has placed in HAECO Cabin Solutions to deliver this seat platform to line-fit customers with tighter lead times.” HAECO Cabin Solutions achieved FAA Technical Standard Order (TSO) C127b authorization in March 2018 for the Vector Premium seat, following the authorization of Vector Economy in 2016. Adding Vector to the Airbus catalogue will expedite the process for airline customers to select the platform.
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airBaltic bring A220-300 to 2018 Farnborough Airshow The Latvian airline airBaltic participated in the 2018 Farnborough Airshow July 16 and 17 with Airbus displaying the A220-300. “With our firm order of 50 airBaltic crew take Airbus A220-300 and the to the tarmac at the Farnborough Air Show additional 30 options, we are in a strong position to take advantage of the unmatched economics of this new aircraft,” said Martin Gauss, CEO of airBaltic, in today’s announcement. On May 28, airBaltic announced a firm purchase agreement for the sale and purchase of 30 A220-300s (previously the CS300 by Bombardier) with options for an additional 30 aircraft of the same type. Previously, the airline had an order for 20 A200-300s. Thus far, airBaltic has carried more than 1,300,000 passengers on the A220-300 aircraft with every fourth airBaltic passenger flying on one. The A220-300 has completed more than 13,000 flights and flown more than 35,000 block hours. The A220-300 was designed for wider seats, larger windows, more hand luggage space in the cabin and improved lavatories. It also has a smaller noise footprint and reduced CO2 and NOX emissions. airBaltic serves more than 70 destinations from Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius. For summer 2018, airBaltic has introduced eight destinations from Riga to Malaga, Lisbon, Split, Bordeaux, Gdansk and Almaty as well as Sochi and Kaliningrad. In addition, airBaltic launched a new direct route connecting Tallinn and London.
WestJet picks Recaro seating for Boeing aircraft Recaro Aircraft Seating has received an order for 4,700 Economy and Business Class seats from WestJet. The Canadian airline is equipping 10 Boeing long-haul aircraft with CL3710 seats. For short and medium-haul routes, Recaro will also be supplying BL3520 Economy Class seats and CL4710 Business Class seats for 10 of the airline’s aircraft. The seat deliveries will begin this year. The CL3710 long-haul Economy Class seat sets weigh less than 12 kilograms. The ergonomic headrest can be adjusted in six ways, adapting to passengers of different heights and statures while ensuring optimized neck support. On short-haul routes, WestJet will be deploying Recaro’s BL3520 seats throughout its entire 737 MAX cabins. The Canadian airline selected the CL4710 for its Business Class on short- and medium-haul routes. The Business Class seat features a variety of stowage compartments for personal belongings. A leg rest, which can be adjusted in length and angle to adapt to the needs of individual passengers, contributes to superb comfort. The seats can also be equipped with the lastest inflight entertainment equipment.
Recaro’s CL3710 will be installed on WestJet’s Dreamliner fleet
Emirates Engineering reconfigures second 777-200LR Emirates Engineering has successfully completed the reconfiguration of the second 777-200LR aircraft in its fleet. The conversion of the aircraft from three- to two-cabin classes was executed at the company’s hangars in Dubai. The reconfigured aircraft also features new, wider Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 format, a new social area in Business Class, as well as a fully refreshed Economy Class providing customers a superior inflight experience. The first reconfigured Emirates 777-200LR aircraft took to the skies in early March. The eight remaining 777-200LR aircraft in Emirates’ fleet will be progressively reconfigured by mid-2019 and deployed to a number of other cities on the airline’s global network including Santiago, Chile, Emirates’ latest destination in South America. Emirates has invested more than US$150 million to reconfigure the 777-200LR aircraft in its fleet. Working with internal stakeholders as well as external suppliers, it took Emirates Engineering 22 months from the time the decision was made to reconfigure the airline’s
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777-200LR fleet to the completion of the first reconfigured aircraft. Finalizing the design was core to the reconfiguration process and the layout of the cabin that was finally selected was one of eight proposed blueprints. The engineering team also had to secure approvals from regulatory authorities including the GCAA and the FAA in order to modify the aircraft from its original design. Once the design was finalized, Emirates Engineering worked with suppliers to ensure that all the necessary parts and spares were available to complete the reconfiguration of the aircraft. In total, the team had to work with over 30 suppliers and had to manage more than 2,700 parts and spares at any point in time. Key suppliers such as Boeing, Jamco, Panasonic, Rockwell Collins, Zodiac, and ATG were present on-site to provide assistance. Overall, the Emirates Engineering team invested the equivalent of more than 16,000 collective labor hours in the design and implementation of this aircraft reconfiguration project.
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Aircraft Interior Solutions
waste management SPIRIANT shares its excitement about a dual product launch the company feels will turn the waste cart on its head and benefit airlines, cabin crew and customers alike by RACHEL DEBLING
SPIRIANT’S waste bag holder in action
When collapsed, these foldable drawers can free up nearly 85% of the space in the trolley
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ith the recent resurgence of attention around inflight sustainability and airline catering’s contributions (or lack thereof) to the environment, onboard waste management has once again become the topic du jour. Though many airlines are taking initiatives to reduce the amount of pollution and waste created through their catering programs, no matter how many changes are made, there will inevitably still be garbage to dispose of. Enter SPIRIANT and its foldable trolley drawers and waste bag holder, a combo that it says solves many space and cost issues affecting airlines today. Daniel Knies, Director Design and Products for SPIRIANT, says that utilizing space already available on the aircraft by folding the drawers down to a compact size and adding a bag holder to the front of the trolley – thus transforming it into a waste cart – could allow airlines to do away with separate waste management solutions altogether.
SPIRIANT designed both products to work with the service trolleys that an airline is currently flying (“The waste bag holder concept is designed to be used with every Atlas and ACE trolley,” Knies says) and ensured they would be both sustainable and easy-to-use for the crew. “The waste bag holder was developed first, and the foldable drawer was a natural evolution of that,” notes Joachim Fröschle, SPIRIANT’s Engineering Manager, who helped engineer the two products. “To make the waste bag holder efficiently work with the trolley, we needed to generate enough space for the waste bag, even when it’s fully loaded with trash. That’s how the idea of the drawer arose; it can be folded down even when it’s not in use, so it works for both circumstances.” The combo, Knies explains, addresses two big issues faced by airlines: limited galley space and waste collection. “The foldable drawer generates up to 85% of space in the trolley when folded down. This gives airlines flexibility with
storage, and they can use the service trolley for other purposes too.” Fuel savings are also a natural side effect of this onboard solution – fewer trolleys and carts equals less weight, which in turn equals less fuel usage. Plus, airlines can use that gained space to generate revenue by using it to store buy-on-board items, Knies points out. Passengers will also feel the benefits of the change, he notes – a faster service process from the crew translates to a smoother and more enjoyable flight for an airline’s passengers. After showcasing the products in Hamburg this past April, interest in the solution is piquing, according to Knies, and the combo has already been tested in flight – in fact, it’s flying on board one of SPIRIANT’s to-be-announced customers as we speak. The future of this functional concept, Knies predicts, is bright. As he told PAX, “It’s this integrated approach that airlines highly appreciate and we’re happy about the positive reception of the idea.”
Passengers will also feel the benefits of the change, he notes – a faster service process from the crew translates to a smoother and more enjoyable flight for an airline’s passengers. Joachim Fröschle, SPIRIANT’s Engineering Manager
Daniel Knies, Director Design and Products for SPIRIANT
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 11
IFE & CONNECTIVITY
The hackathon’s team was given 48 hours to produce solutions for inflight entertainment
Hacking out solutions A marathon technical collaboration in a historic Central London district brought together two teams of software developers for Spafax bent on creating new solutions that help pave the way for the next steps in inflight entertainment development
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hat better way to spend 48 hours in the short, precious United Kingdom summer than hunched over laptops, drinking coffee and interacting with colleagues and technology? If you’re part of the software development team at Spafax, it could be better than a stroll through Hyde Park or sipping a pint and watching the world go by. The company held its first in a series of hackathons this past June at Spafax’s Marylebone offices in the heart of Greater London, where two teams of the company’s developers were tasked with finding inflight entertainment solutions using the latest trends in artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Jonathan Gilbert, Spafax’s Director of Digital Content and Innovation,
sought to dispel some myths about what exactly takes place at a hackathon. “‘Hackathon’ is a misleading name, and people often understandably mistake it for an event in which IT professionals race to hack into a system. In fact, it has nothing do with that,” he said. What is required is the desire to solve a problem, the ability to dream up new solutions and ideas, and the capability to do it in short amount of time. The two days were informal and designed to bring fun and competition together with problem solving. PAX International posed a few questions to Gilbert and Senior Developer Joe Mitchard, one of the hackathon participants, to learn what went down during the two days of collaboration.
Hackathoners hard at work
PAX International: What sort of technological tools and practices did the developers use during the hackathon? Joe Mitchard: We’re primarily .NET developers and created our solutions in Microsoft’s Azure Services. We made heavy use of the Microsoft Bot Framework, Language Understanding Intelligence Service and Cognitive Services. PAX: What were a few of the ground rules set at the beginning? Jonathan Gilbert: We wanted the hackathon to be a level playing field where all could be involved in the research and creation process, so we only shared details on the background topics a few days in advance. On the first day, each team received its brief, access to the tools, as well as research resources. Each team also had
Joe Mitchard, a Senior Developer at Spafax, was one of the hackathon’s participants
access to stakeholders who could provide broader perspectives on the business challenges they were trying to solve. It was up to the teams involved to think about how they would approach the problem, do any research, build an initial solution and then present that solution back to us at the end of the hackathon. The teams were allowed to speak to each other and share ideas and progress, though natural competition meant that didn’t always happen! On day two, both teams presented their solutions to the panel, including two working demos, and I think everyone was impressed at how much had been achieved in such a short space of time. Mitchard: The development team was split into two teams of around five developers, each tasked with using emerging technology to tackle a problem. My team was given the chance to experiment with
Microsoft’s new Bot Framework to create a new way for users to communicate with the solutions we build in our day-to-day jobs. We were each given a specification to work towards, but how we achieved the final solution was largely up to us. Our manager had recently been to Microsoft Build in Seattle and had seen the new AI-based technology that is offered on Azure, the Microsoft cloud platform. It was suggested that we use the Bot Framework because it allows us to create a way to gather information that is more natural to the user than interacting with a traditional user interface. PAX: What sort of solution(s) emerged from the hackathon? Mitchard: My team created a chatbot that was capable of inferring intent from what the user entered. From this, the bot would
Jonathan Gilbert, Director of Digital Content and Innovation at Spafax
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 13
ask questions to figure out which flight a user was going to be traveling on. Once the bot gathered enough information, it would query the Spafax Profile API to find out what entertainment would be on board their flight. (In the prototype, this was limited to films.) As an extended challenge, we added facial recognition to the solution using Azure Cognitive Services, allowing us to identify actors or directors in an uploaded image and find films on board that feature them. The other team created a video indexing service capable of extracting vast quantities of metadata, such as who was in the video and what was said, from uploaded media. This service could be trained to recognize specific things inside videos such as nudity, strong language or brands, and could flag when and where they occurred. Gilbert: With our Amazon Alexa app for American Airlines, we have already built a powerful chat-based interface for entertainment discovery that you can talk to in your home. We wanted to take our conversational user interface (UI) and chatbot experience to the next level by adding AI smarts to it. So, following what we learned in the hackathon, we are now able to build chatbots for Cortana, Facebook and the web that you will be
able to speak to in hundreds of different languages, that maintain contextual understanding of an ongoing conversation, and can intelligently interpret and respond to requests for complicated searches and data sets – as you might expect in a flight booking application, for example. PAX: What did you learn from this hackathon and how will you apply it to the next? Mitchard: I learned a lot about interacting with Microsoft’s new AI services and, as this was my first hackathon, how to rapidly turn ideas into prototypes with my team, as the pace of a hackathon is much faster than normal development. I think that next time around we will be much more comfortable rapidly turning ideas into solutions. An important lesson learnt for me during this hackathon is to not try and create the perfect solution the first time around but to create something that works which we will be able to tidy up and fix later. Gilbert: We knew we wanted to test and learn with the hackathon project, so our objective now is three-fold. First, we want to make sure the learnings and outputs from the hackathon are grown
Passengers on American Airlines will soon be able to plan their inflight experience with the help of Amazon Alexa
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and implemented in our technology and product suite. Secondly, we want to grow the scope and impact of the hackathon by working with our partners and bringing them into the process – looking at real challenges and opportunities our partners are facing through the hackathon lens and a broader suite of APIs. Thirdly, we want to make it an even bigger and brighter event that brings more teams to the challenge. We are also keen to gamify the hackathon experience, so over time expect it to become more fun, competitive and hopefully rewarding for all those involved. PAX: Could we get some background on the Alexa Solution for American Airlines? How did this solution arise? Gilbert: The Spafax Profile Skill for Alexa is a natural evolution of our goal to bring entertainment to every step of the passenger journey – and to enable our clients to serve their customers at the moments that matter. It is an interactive, voice-activated service that allows passengers to plan their entertainment pre-flight. The digital service is an extension to Spafax’s Profile entertainment personalization platform. Using Alexa-enabled devices, American Airlines customers can ask a variety of questions about the entertainment on board their upcoming flight, including what titles are available, featured actors, ratings and much more. Queries are as easy as saying, “Alexa, ask American Airlines what TV shows are available on my flight,” or “Alexa, ask American Airlines to tell me more about the TV show Veep.”
ESSENZA Essentially: class! Geven's latest response to the newest quirks of high density comfort seating. Light and tight - Essenza's little body is all you need to carry passengers in comfort in spite of the smaller pitches. Essential in design, but substantial in reliability. Conceived for the short haul - its life cycle is one you can count on for the long haul.
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Eye on Italian design Iacobucci HF Aerospace showed the world its new design for Business Class single-aisle at AIX 2017. Now the seat has won a major design award and may be on the verge of a launch customer
Two views of the Cambiano Business Class seat
by RICK LUNDSTROM
acobucci HF Aerospace has for years been a company that has worked to establish itself in a market of luxury business and commercial aviation, developing bespoke products and fine designs for a discerning group of customers that are highly demanding and seek distinctive features for aircraft large and small. The experience gained outfitting wide-body aircraft for VIP customers with custom-made products has paid off with a winning design for its Business Class seat, the Cambiano. This year, the seat was honored with an International Yacht and Aviation design award by Luxe et al magazine,
Lucio Iacobucci at the 2017 Aircraft Interiors Expo, where the industry got its first look at the Cambiano
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an international publication that covers the yacht and aviation industries. The seat’s design success came from a desire by the company to build a seat for a burgeoning aviation trend that “enhances the experience of the Business Class during mid- and long-range flights, upgrading it to the standards of First Class,” said a release from Iacobucci. Despite its expertise in designing and manufacturing everything from galley equipment to trolleys and other cabin accessories, Iacobucci could not do it alone. Like many airline seat manufacturers, it is turning to the automobile industry for ideas and designs. And when in Italy, who better to turn than the company that designs interiors for Maserati and Ferrari? Pininfarina is located in Cambiano, Italy, and its design mark is found on Ferrari and Maserati automobiles that roll off the assembly line. And though luxury design is the company’s forte, the Cambiano seat will have a distinctly practical use once Iacobucci sells the product to a launch customer. “Cambiano is a seat project born of specific demand,” Lucio Iacobucci, President and CEO of Iacobucci HF Aerospace, tells PAX International. The aircraft in the A320neo family and the 737 MAX have new capabilities, with stage lengths that can span continents and the Atlantic Ocean. With those abilities will also come demands for Business Class seating that offer full-flat recline and lots of
comfort and perks for passengers. Cambiano can be installed in a single-aisle cabin at a 67-inch pitch, with PC power outlets and up to three USB chargers for each passenger. There are private drawers lined with Alcantara patterns, a 16.1-inch screen and plenty of room for developing and designing additional elements, such as a different-sized monitor. The seat has a one-leaf meal try and the shell is designed for the level of privacy that has become an important part of the Business and First Class markets. Iacobucci said the Cambiano was in development for a year and half before its introduction at the 2017 Aircraft Interiors Expo. Its design relies heavily on composite material and, once the seat is certified and delivered to a launch customer, Lucio Iacobucci said Cambiano will come in 10% to 15% lighter than the models of its competition. Production of the Cambiano will be in the company’s plant in Ferentino. Lucio Iacobucci said there are two prospective customers that the company cannot name at this time. Though seat products currently account for approximately 20% of the company’s business, Lucio Iacobucci predicted that with demand throughout the industry “the [seating] division will grow faster than the others.”
Professional wash-up systems for Inflight Catering
Cleaned for take-off Fly on the wings of perfection in terms of cleanliness, hygiene and safety: MEIKO Inflight Catering warewashing systems. Security and safety are the most important values an airline can offer today. A great number of checks are required before the captain and cabin crew of an aircraft are finally able to welcome the first passenger on board. This includes, making certain that travellers will receive a clean and hygienic service. With our warewashing systems for Inflight catering, we at MEIKO stand for a clean and perfect start. Whether you are city-hopping or launching for a long haul flight, MEIKOâ€™s professional warewashing systems are guaranteed to reach the recommended level in purity, hygiene and cleanliness without comprise. This is the reason why you can find our technology everywhere around the globe where reliability, safety and efficiency count â€“ from small business airports to large international traffic hubs. Discover the versatility of our tailor-made warewashing systems. Find out what we at MEIKO call the clean solution.
COMBINING COMFORT AND PERFORMANCE Tapis Corp is responding to evolving market trends with new seat cover innovations from specialist manufacturer Ultrafabrics and speedy, global service by MARY JANE PITTILLA
Tapis Corp’s products are flying with many major airlines across the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East
o great fanfare, Ultrafabrics launched the PromessaAV product line at the 2018 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg with what promises to be a leading aesthetic in the industry. The high-performance top layers offer class-leading colorfastness as well as abrasion and flexing resistance to ensure that seat covers remain comfortable and will last maintenance-free during their lifespan. With its FR Twill backcloth, stretch is controlled in an almost omnidirectional orientation, ensuring the product does not sag or bag under use and works equally well laminated or non-laminated. Its lightweight construction using the Japanese Takumi™ process aims to provide one of the lightest seat covers in the industry. In addition to this innovation, Tapis Corp, which works as Ultrafabrics’ sales agent in the commercial aviation industry, offers a number of best-selling products. Within its vertical surface
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product group, most customers seek a unique color, finish and texture, so over 90% of its work in this sector is custom. Within the seating segment, Ultraleather® by Japanese manufacturer Ultrafabrics has been the best-seller, but Tapis has a wide range of other offerings. Ultraleather® Original is still a market leader in leather-free performance fabrics after more than 20 years. The touch and softness of the product allow it to be upholstered in a unique manner, giving the seat covers a tailored aesthetic that seeks to enhance perceived value. Lighter than PromessaAV and with enhanced stretch, this fabric is best suited to laminated seat covers and tightly tapered upholstery that require detail and comfort. Brisa® is probably the lightest seat cover material on the market, according to Jason Estes, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Tapis Corporation. Engineered using the same Takumi™ four-layer technology
The new PromessaAV by Ultrafabrics product line offers class-leading colorfastness as well as abrasion and flexing resistance to ensure that seat covers remain comfortable and will last maintenancefree during their lifespan
but with added microperforations, this fabric offers a breathable alternative to leather. Breathability has long been acknowledged as the key attribute in determining passenger comfort, and Brisa® has held this position for over 10 years. Ultratech™ is the newest and most innovative product from Ultrafabrics. The five grains in the collection have a surface texture similar to a fabric, making it suitable for long-haul Economy seating, in particular where the greatest perception of comfort is
The touch and softness of market-leading Ultraleather® Original allow it to be upholstered in a unique manner
We can see that passengers are demanding more comfort and higher perceived value from their airline ticket.”
reserved for fabric. Lighter than most wool and wool-blend fabrics and without the need for dry cleaning or repeated change-outs, the lifetime cost of ownership beats fabric, says Estes. With the advent of the newer aircraft types and their ultra-long range capabilities, Tapis is seeing a renewed emphasis on comfort. “Traditionally, the problems to solve were always about longevity, maintenance and weight. Whilst all of those things are still very important, weight is less critical as the price of fuel has dropped,” says Estes. “Also, as the millennial generation starts to purchase airline tickets, we’re seeing a lot more feedback, both good and bad, communicated in real time. We can see that passengers are demanding more comfort and higher perceived value from their airline ticket.” As airlines look to save costs, the company is seeing a trend toward airlines seeking engineered solutions like PromessaAV that can help increase durability, comfort, weight and operational savings. Airlines want products that are durable and easy to maintain without sacrificing luxury and comfort, says Estes. He cites Delta Air Lines, which is investing money into comfort research and solutions as it looks toward next-generation products. The PromessaAV product line, which was launched in Hamburg, features a quick-ship program. In addition to stocking open line products and offering next-day shipping, the PromessaAV line will be kept in stock in larger quantities, enough to build five to six shipsets in every color. So, for lease companies or seat OEMs that operate on a catalog program, Tapis is able to fulfill larger order 20 | PAX INTERNATIONAL | JULY 2018
quantities within a few days of receipt of order in Europe, Asia and the US. Additionally, Tapis’ FAA-accepted testing facility has developed a two-stage process to fire-treat PromessaAV, allowing a total-solution package. PromessaAV has been chosen by Delta for use on its upcoming linefit Airbus A330neo fleet and will be introduced into its seat cover specification. The advantages that Delta found with the product over other synthetic leathers included the instant comfort upgrade that a simple material switch gave them, Estes noted. Amid all this innovation, the Tapis team has grown in the last few months. Matthew Nicholls has joined the firm as Sales Director. He is an experienced aircraft interiors professional with over 15 years’ experience in the industry with leather, fabric, seat covers and seat cushion companies. Dr Kevin Hyde also joins Tapis as its Manager of Research and Development. He brings experience in textile and material science to the R&D team. Tapis Corp’s products are flying with many major airlines such as China Southern, China Eastern, Air France (Business and First Class), KLM (Business Class), Spicejet, SAUDIA, United Airlines, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad. The company provides advantageous commercial terms to partners such as Zodiac Seating as well as a stock program for quick shipping within 72 hours from receipt of order for shipset quantities from its facilities in the US, Europe and Asia.
The Ultrafabrics product range is manufactured using a proprietary Takumi™ technology, which is based on a four-layer system
Ultrafabrics and Tapis adapt to a changing landscape Building on a 40-year relationship where Ultrafabrics manufactured product and Tapis supplied the premium engineered materials for both seating and vertical applications, Ultrafabrics and Tapis recently announced a strategic realignment of their distribution partnership in servicing the aviation industry. The two companies have mutually agreed to adapt to the changing landscape of the aviation sector, with each company focusing on its core competencies and competitive advantages to deliver strengthened support to the market’s evolving needs. In private, corporate and VIP segments, Tapis will continue to act as sole distributor for Ultrafabrics’ brands. Additionally, it will continue to supply Ultrafabrics materials for vertical surface applications requiring 65/65 FR specifications to the commercial sector, leveraging its expertise in flameretardant treatments and testing. For commercial upholstery seating, Tapis will now act as a sales agent, dedicated to Ultrafabrics’ decades of polyurethane engineering and craftsmanship expertise directly to the airlines, OEMs and seat manufacturers. After 40 years of successful collaboration between Tapis and Ultrafabrics, they intend to continue to lead the aviation industry in innovation, design and customization.
Engineered using Takumi™ four-layer technology with added microperforations, Brisa® fabric is lightweight and offers a breathable alternative to leather
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Big Chill Bucher is diving headfirst into the trolley market in a big way with the ARCTICart, a new concept the company claims can limit the increase of food temperatures within four degrees centigrade for a whopping 20 hours by RACHEL DEBLING
Francisco Aguilera, CEO of Bucher Aerospace
We are positioning ourselves as the experts in kinematics and mechanisms, or moving parts in the interior of airplanes. We are more and more being recognized as the industry leader in that specific area.”
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ucher Aerospace is known for many things, namely its helicopter and private business jet solutions, but the company is hoping that its name will again be identified alongside another industry item very shortly: insulated trolleys. After showcasing several products at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg earlier this year, including a custom table that is currently flying in a client’s First Class Suite and a fully automatic mechanical deployable table that works without the need for electrical power, Bucher Aerospace has made great strides in establishing itself as an expert in kinematics (that is, the motion of objects), as CEO Francisco Aguilera explains to PAX International. “We are positioning ourselves as the experts in kinematics and mechanisms, or moving parts in the interior of airplanes,” he notes. “We are more and more being recognized as the industry leader in that specific area.” But resting on its laurels is not the M.O. of Bucher Aerospace. Alongside the aforementioned innovations,
the company also showcased its ARCTICart, a highly insulated trolley that limits the temperature increase of meals and beverages inside within four degrees centigrade for up to 20 hours. This longevity has led Bucher to claim that with this new technology airlines can do away with a certain class of energy inefficient, highly cumbersome onboard equipment. “[The timespan] is unreached, and at the end of the day allows us to position this cart as a potential replacement for chillers,” says Aguilera, adding that this is not the only financial benefit carriers can expect to enjoy with the ARCTICart. “Our approach has gone beyond just combining lightweight materials with a lightweight-optimized design. We approached it holistically and systemically, meaning that while we are creating a feature which is in itself lightweight and is actually lighter than most units on the market, the true benefit comes from the possibility for airlines to get rid of chillers and their associated weight.” Aguilera and, by extension, the entire
BUCHER’S IFE SOLUTIONS
Tables and trolleys are just the tip of Bucher Aerospace’s commercial aircraft offerings. As Aguilera notes, the company is developing IFE concepts such as an iPad holder for cabins and the cockpit, which is currently available in the business jet arm of the business. Up next is a highly complicated frontrow video arm, a project that fits Bucher’s kinematic expertise perfectly. “Screens are now growing so much in size that it becomes fairly complicated to store video arms underneath an armrest,” Aguilera explains. “That won’t work with the standard, simple video arm design that you see on the market.” This smart-motion concept, as he puts it, is currently in development for a large program of over 100 aircraft.
Bucher team considers the ARCTICart to be advantageous on several levels. First, there is the reduction of weight by eliminating the need for chillers. Second, the energy savings airlines will reap by no longer needing to power said chillers on the aircraft, and third, the additional galley space that will be made available by their removal. This newly claimed space can be re-allocated for retail on board or other revenue-generating programs. “Chillers are also highly maintenanceintensive equipment – an airline told us that they are replaced every other year on average,” Aguilera adds. Plus, with the ARCTICart airlines can work with fewer catering stations because a filled cart can be used for several flights, which in itself also provides an additional cost savings. (News that may not be welcomed by global catering companies who are often competing for these routes, but that’s another story.) One additional passenger-facing benefit of the ARCTICart is that by replacing chillers it contributes to less noise pollution on the aircraft,
keeping both crew and guests happy and distraction-free. Chillers can also add to the overall energy usage per flight, Aguilera adds anecdotally, since flight attendants may increase the temperature of the cabin to compensate for the cold air expelled by these units. Long-haul routes would especially benefit from this product, he notes, and the company is currently in the process of proving its efficacy via a test case with 30 carts and a small airline. As Aguilera describes, “Those carts will be filled in Kuwait and will fly to southern Spain, another rather warm country, and back, only being loaded and filled once in Kuwait. The flight is approximately eight hours, so twice over is 16 hours plus parking time, which means we are getting close to the 20 hours that we would need to provide such a service without chillers.” The results of this test will likely go public in the first few months of 2019, and PAX will report back with its findings at that time. So far Bucher’s efforts to enter the trolley market have been paying off. Since the ARCTICart’s debut in
Hamburg this past April, Aguilera says that large network airlines have approached Bucher to discuss the potential to carry the product; in fact, it was the request of a commercial OEM back in 2015 that sparked the idea. “They said we should look into this, so we took immediate action,” Aguilera recalls. “There is no conflict of interest here – Bucher does not produce any chillers and has no interest in pushing chillers into the market. With that neutral position, it was pretty clear that this idea has a huge reason to exist if we were able to come up with the right design.” Three years of development later, Bucher believes they have landed on just the right solution to bring the concept to life. This is just the beginning for the ARCTICart. Bucher is already in the process of developing a family concept for the carts, including a half-sized version. Both the full-size and the half-size products are Atlas standard, but Aguilera points out that the company is “happy” to make the corrective adjustments for airline clientele that work with non-Atlas standards. And it doesn’t stop there. “We are adding other features to optimize the product for the needs of our customers,” Aguilera says. “Right now, we are listening to the market, to what our customers are finding requirement-wise, and then including these add-ons or modifications into the design.” www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 23
Already an expert in mattresses and home bedding solutions, Studio Moderna is making waves in the aviation industry with its start-up Vanema and Octaspring technology by RACHEL DEBLING
Unlike materials used in traditional cushion manufacturing, the design of the Octaspring provides thorough airflow
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ometimes the difference between a passenger deeming a flight “good” or “bad” is as seemingly simple as the type of material positioned under their posterior, especially on flights that surpass the eight-hour mark. That’s where Vanema comes in. Though the company only officially entered the aviation market a little over a year ago when it presented its Octaspring technology at the 2017 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, it is well on its way to improving the experience of international airline customers, one soft-and-springy piece of foam at a time. “The industry is really exciting,” Ieva Baradouska tells PAX International of the commercial aviation market. As the Head of Marketing and Communications for Vanema, she has seen the company grow from a direct marketing business selling third-party products under the name Studio Moderna (Vanema’s parent company) to a Crystal Cabin Award winner praised for its lightweight alternative to the standard foam padding often found in aircraft seating. And though its foray into the business has only just begun, Baradouska feels as though she and her team have already absorbed ample information and that the market is ready for what it has to offer.
A true “inside look” at the Octaspring in an Economy Class seat
Studio Moderna has more than 15 years of experience in the mattress and home bedding market – it currently sells products under the high-end brand name DORMEO in more than 40 countries through retail outlets such as Mattress Firm in the United States and Sleep Country in Canada. DORMEO is manufactured using Octaspring technology, a light and airy foam spring that was introduced by the company in 2011 after purchasing the patent from its Belgian designer. As Baradouska explains: “He was trying to create the best sleep technology available. He said foam layers are great, but they tend to get hot. Metal box springs are good mattress technology, but they create pressure points.” So, he combined the two technologies to create the Octaspring, which is now the backbone of Vanema’s aviation offering. Upon realizing the potential for this new market two years ago, Vanema presented their idea to Airbus, and it was received enthusiastically. The company’s first prototype was a Business Class seat, but Baradouska notes that it was just the beginning of the technology’s potential. In Hamburg this past April, Vanema showcased how the Octaspring could be applied to any cabin with Economy and First Class offerings, as well as a new project that was created through a partnership with STELIA Aerospace (which, along with BOXMARK, helped Vanema secure their 2017 Crystal Cabin Award) – crew mattresses that use 50%
We use half the amount of foam in the construction of the springs, so there is less waste.”
less material than the current models. The benefits of the lightweight spring are numerous, Baradouska explains. “Based on our sleep studies, our mattresses and toppers reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep because the surface is much cooler – an average of two to three degrees difference in temperature because it is very breathable,” she says. A cooler temperature means the body can fall asleep faster and stay in the REM cycle longer, leading to a more restful night’s sleep. As the design of the springs allows a more thorough airflow, it also saves the airline money and weight by negating the need for electronic cooling mechanisms in the seating. Then, of course, there is the comfort factor. By using different densities of foam and individually placing the springs in the most economical and ergonomic sequence, the seats are better able to support aching bodies, even in the longest of flights. “It is a more manual, labor-intensive [manufacturing] process because of the individual placement of the springs,” Baradouska notes. “However, we use half the amount of foam in the construction
of the springs so there is less waste, making it a very environmentally friendly, cost-competitive solution.” And the environment is of concern to Vanema. The company has received funding through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program program (grant number 757130), support which further bolsters the eco-friendliness of their technology. Vanema currently does not use recycled materials in its Octasprings. However, the company is aiming to extend the lifecycle of its products by recycling the foam into carpet or automotive padding. Though not yet flying, Vanema is very close to several agreements – there is a “big demand” for new material in the seating sector, Baradouska tells PAX. Furthermore, the automotive industry has expressed interest in Octasptring, as has the cruise ship and home furnishing industries, and the company has recently launched a travel accessory range of pillows and seat cushions that will be sold direct to consumer. “You will be able to take [these accessories] on board and experience the same benefits wherever you are,” says Baradouska, adding that on a personal note the new series has made her own travel much more enjoyable. Still, having the opportunity to test her company’s mattresses and toppers has perhaps spoiled her for overnight, out-of-town hotel trips. As she puts it: “I cannot imagine sleeping on anything but my Octaspring mattress.” www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 25
IFE & CONNECTIVITY
Newsstand in hand With weight and logistics costs an ongoing concern among airlines, several have moved away from distributing onboard print, and a French company is waiting in the wings to snatch up more potential customers BY RICK LUNDSTROM
The new version of ACES from Adaptive has made browsing particularly easy for smartphones
A six-month rollout put ACES in the hands of all passengers on Scandinavian Airlines
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t’s enough to make a grizzled newspaper reporter, copywriter or any other ink-stained wretch weep tears for the past. The digital revolution is slowly (or not so slowly, depending on an individual’s point of view) turning how consumers read from an ink-and-paper format to a flickering image encased in glass and manipulated with the flip of a finger. Media like newspapers, magazines and books are making way for the future. Changes in the way print media is consumed, combined with a desire by airlines to reduce weight and the logistics cost connected with handling and distributing print media in flight, has led to a number of changes in recent years. Trend-setting airlines such as Singapore Airlines, SAS, TAP Portugal, Air France and more than two dozen others have added a digital media platform to their services that use the capabilities of a French company called Adaptive. Adaptive’s success in gaining new customers can be attributed
as much to the devices passengers travel with as to the changes airlines are constantly making to enhance the travel experience. Just four years ago, SITA conducted a trends survey that showed more than eight in 10 passengers traveled with a smartphone while more than 40% carried a laptop or tablet. In addition, 18% of the passengers carried all three devices. At about the same time the survey was conducted, the airline industry was feeling the first rumblings of a revolution of its own, brought on by an expanding offering of IFEC solutions. Fixed and portable boxes were joining embedded IFE among the offerings and satellite companies were beginning to weave constellations of orbiting technology that now are on the verge of linking airlines around the world with high-speed digital content. About that time, the term BYOD (bring your own device) began to take on an important meaning and shape airline decisions. With these changes came new opportunities for airlines to
Laurent Safar, CEO of Adaptive, headquartered in Toulouse, France
A look at the ACES program from Singapore Airlines as used on an iPad
learn about their passengers by following the digital footprints of everything they watched, read and purchased on board. This summer, PAX International caught up with Adaptive’s CEO, Laurent Safar, who was in the midst of several projects, among them improvements to the company’s ACES digital press product which delivers curated content previously found only in print to a number of airline customers and in multiple languages. The company had recently signed with a large Asian airport interested in providing media to passengers at the gate and in transit. Adaptive cemented its relationship with Air Caraïbes and its new spinoff carrier French Bee, which provides low-cost long-haul service to five destinations. Safar said the company was also on the verge of announcing two more new customers. Adaptive has also made changes to the ACES product to improve the passenger experience on several types of devices. The past year was important in terms of evolution in the digital press, said Safar. Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways both moved away from distributing print media. Other airlines like Finnair have also indicated a phase-out of print media.
“In both cases, these are very significant players and I’m sure that has an impact on other players in terms of maturity,” said Safar of the move by Singapore and Qatar. With pace-setting airlines now moving to digital distribution of magazines and newspapers, Adaptive organizers set about improving the capabilities of the ACES system, a project that has now been completed. Several important changes have been made to the ways passengers can access media on ACES. One change occurs at the passengers’ fingertips, allowing them to “dig into” the details of a magazine or newspaper article and view the content in a greater variety of ways. Safar said the company sought to get away from the “PDF experience,” which is essentially flat viewing of a page. With the new technology, Safar says users have a more fluid and convenient experience, particularly if they are viewing material on a smart phone. The other improvements took place in the back end of the system. With the ACES viewer, whether it is standalone or combined with an airline’s app, knowledge of the passenger’s viewing habits and preferences can be passed on to the airline. The other
improvement makes ACES similar to an airline’s inflight music system. Like selecting music to suit a certain mood or experience, passengers can use ACES to select news topics and stories using certain access words. And Adaptive has a massive selection of available press titles. While first-tier titles such as The New York Times, Financial Times and The Economist are among the most sought out by readers, Adaptive can offer airline customers a selection of more than 10,000 titles. In addition to journals from around the world, the company has an inventory of city guides, movies, games, sports news, music, and lifestyle and shopping publications. Even though the company has grown since its founding in 2009 to more than 30 airline customers, Safar said one of the challenges to selling digital content is tackling misconceptions of potential customers. “It is perceived as complex by airlines because it involves many people,” he said. “Inflight entertainment and operations. Lots of people in different departments.” However, several airlines are clearing the perception hurdles when they consider the costs of providing printed material, which adds weight to the aircraft and additional cleaning time after reaching the destination. And with news delivery moving at breakneck speed, a passenger with a newspaper in hand is getting a story that could likely change by the time he or she lands. “[With print] half the time you’re serving what they want and half the time the passengers don’t get what they want,” Safar added, pointing to another benefit of their system — happier, more well-informed passengers for their airline clientele. www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 27
IFE & CONNECTIVITY
Marketing low-profile antennas has been a high-profile effort for ThinKom Solutions. Now, the company plans to spread the word of its products’ reliability as it moves toward three million hours of operation
uffice to say, striving to make a name for oneself in the competitive inflight connectivity and satellite market is a tall order. ThinKom Solutions – pronounced “thin-com” and not “think-com” – knows this well, and over the course of its lifespan has leveraged its expertise in the military aero and commercial satcom-on-the-move (SOTM) sectors to make a splash in commercial aviation inflight connectivity. Perhaps known best in the onboard connectivity realm for their work with Gogo on their 2Ku system, ThinKom has amassed what it sees as an impressive and substantive track record. The company’s Chairman and CTO, Bill Milroy, tells PAX International that its ThinAir® Falcon-Ku3030 system (privately labeled as Gogo’s 2Ku antenna subsystem) is currently on approximately 825 tails, about half of which belong to Delta Air Lines, averaging about 3,500 flights per day. The company has accrued no less than 2.7 million hours of time on their systems, a vote of confidence for the reliability and performance capabilities of ThinKom’s products, Milroy says. “We think this is an important consideration in terms of the value proposition in that, although we have a lot of able competitors, we have a pretty big lead in terms of actually being out there and being qualified on a huge number of aircraft,” he explains. “We’re growing our adoptions
The low profile of ThinKom’s antennas, such as the ThinAir Ka-band series, is one of its many cost-saving features
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by RACHEL DEBLING
in these areas all the time, and so we like to think there must be a good reason we are able to do that.” As he thinks back to his start in the industry more than 30 years ago, Milroy recalls that airlines were not always so eager to be the testing grounds for inflight Internet solutions, though the capability is now becoming more commonplace, if not expected, by passengers on every flight. In fact,
“When you are domespotting, you can tell it’s ThinKom’s antenna because it looks significantly more compact than the other systems.” BILL MILROY, THINKOM’S CTO
Gogo’s recent Global Traveler Study reported that three-quarters of the airline passengers surveyed agreed that having access to the Internet during their flight makes them less anxious because they can reach family and friends. “From an industry standpoint, we’ve come a long way,” he explains. “Airlines once thought, ‘Why would I want to put more equipment on my aircraft? What kind of profit am I going to make off that equipment?’” During his time in the satellite connectivity industry, Milroy says he has benefitted from seeing inflight Wi-Fi evolve from a few early adopters, to the concept being mainstream, to the latest adopters hopping aboard. As he puts it: “The airlines are now saying, ‘I don’t need to make money off this – I have to do this because my customers are choosing what airlines they go on based on the quality of the IFC.’” ThinKom’s wheelhouse is producing low-profile phased-array aero antennas. Its sleek design is one of the unique elements that the company banks on to set themselves apart from the competition, with antennas that are about three-and-a-half inches tall; depending on which radome that is selected, it grows to only six- to eight-inches in height. “When you are dome-spotting, you can tell it’s ThinKom’s antenna because it looks significantly more compact than the other systems,” Milroy says. This
unobtrusive design serves to lower drag and, in the long run, save airlines money on fuel. “That bottom-lines to some really good recurring year-after-year fuel savings on the aircraft relative to competing systems,” Milroy claims. The big reason ThinKom stands out in the market, according to Milroy, is the company’s versatility. The fact that their products are able to work with GEO and LEO/MEO satellites and support high data rates while doing so with speed – ThinKom can move their beam in under a second from point to point in the sky while higher-profile antennas can take anywhere between eight to 12 seconds – is extremely important to airlines that know their passengers expect zero lag time, even from satellites stationed thousands of miles above the Earth’s surface. “We use the term ‘agnostic,’” Milroy says. “We are trying to be agnostic to frequency bands, to modem suppliers, and we are also trying to be agnostic to constellations. We want to win no
matter what moves out there.” (For more information, see ThinKom’s video on GEO/MEO/LEO interoperability, above.) Milroy refers to Gogo’s 2Ku metric as 15-98-98, providing 15 Mbps throughput to each passenger with 98% availability on 98% of the world’s routes, allowing for the consistent streaming experience that passengers are used to on the ground. These capabilities are an important part of ThinKom’s value proposition, as Milroy explains. “We bring a much better OpEx [than our competitors]. We are anywhere from two to eight times more efficient in terms of using the leased transponders on the satellites.” Add to that the fact that the systems can last 10 years on an aircraft, and ThinKom’s compatibility with future constellations can negate the need for frequent and premature IFC technology overhaul. ThinKom has also launched their Ka system, the ThinAir® Falcon-Ka2517, and expects to announce some commercial adoptions in the very near future. But in the meantime, the company
is educating the community through its increasing marketing efforts, trade show visibility and their growing IFC partnerships in the hopes they can dispel some misconceptions about their technology — namely that their mechanically scanned phased-array products are more prone to repair, which Milroy counters by pointing to their two million-plus hours in operation supporting greater-than 98% availability. “Perception is everything,” he explains, adding that ThinKom recognizes misperceptions not as a burden the company must debunk but as a chance to set the record straight. “We have the high-latitude performance, low-prime power and wide channel bandwidth benefits of mechanical gimbled arrays and the equatorial performance, low-profile/ drag, agility and reliability benefits of electronically scanned arrays. I hope we are coming across as the best of both worlds, because that’s how we feel.”
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 29
Taking off to
new heights Following a series of contract award announcements at the 2018 AIX Hamburg show, Italian seating and interiors manufacturer Geven reveals additional major developments by MARY JANE PITTILLA
Piuma AQ Economy Class seating
uring the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg this past April, Geven announced a number of important contracts that were awarded to the Italian seating specialist. The company is now fully focused on successfully implementing and delivering those prized contracts (see sidebar on the next page.) In addition, Rodolfo Baldascino, Marketing and Sales Manager at Geven Spa, reveals that the first Essenza shipset on an Airbus FAL in Toulouse, France, was delivered this past June for an A320neo operated by the Saudi Arabian airline Flynas. “Currently there are several other deals Geven is competing for, and hopefully we can soon announce a new award for the new Essenza seat on both the A320 and the B737,” he says. Geven also recently delivered the first shipset of the Neo-Prestige seat for the ATR 600 Series to the French-Italian turboprop manufacturer as part of a long-term partnership that sees Geven as the single source of ATR seats on newly delivered aircraft since 2010. Geven continues to see the Economy Class seat demand as the most important and fastest-growing. Aircraft OEMs
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are now implementing their strategy of aircraft ramp-up and increasing their monthly delivery of A320s and B737s. These aircraft will be delivered all over the world, but always with special focus on Asia as the fastest-growing market. “Also, South America is playing a larger and larger role in this scenario. These two markets are extremely important to Geven and we can boast an important presence and market share in these regions,” says Baldascino. Geven is currently working on its new long-range Economy Class seat, the Elemento. After a detailed phase of design concept development and having received important feedback from many airlines on the proposed seat and its features, Geven has frozen the preliminary design of the Elemento and moved to the next step of aircraft platform definition and certification. “In our plan the seat will be available from 2019, to be sold on Airbus long-range aircraft (including the A350) and on Boeing B787s in the second instance,” he reveals. Aside from seating innovations, Geven recently opened two new plants in the same industrial area of Nola, Naples, in the south of Italy, where the
company’s headquarters is located. In these buildings, it has concentrated the parts manufacturing and sub-assembly as well as the cabin interior monuments manufacturing, which are now fully operational. As a consequence, Geven is concentrating its seat assembly in the main facility. “We are increasing the number of seat assembly lines there in order to increase the industrial capacity and ability to deliver a larger volume of seats on a monthly basis to properly service Airbus’ increased deliveries and support Boeing’s new orders, which are coming soon,” he says. As the company aims to strengthen its presence in the Americas and Asian markets, it is planning to open a local office and is currently seeking locations. During the first phase, the office will be mainly used for commercial aspects (sales, customer support and after-sales services). This can later develop into spare parts logistics support and, in the longer term, into some manufacturing as well. Discussions are taking place around this future development. “We hope to soon be able to announce important steps towards this direction,” says Baldascino.
The back of the Essenza Economy Class seat
Geven’s Comoda AQ Business Class seating, pictured on the Airbus A340
Geven’s Essenza Economy Class seat as flown on board Flynas
The front of the Essenza Economy Class seat
Geven secures major clients for new Essenza seat
During the 2018 AIX Hamburg show, Geven announced three major clients for its new Economy Class Essenza seat. In a major coup for the Italian company, Lufthansa Group selected Geven to equip its Continental fleet (Airbus A320 and A321) with the Essenza seat. The seating and interiors manufacturer will provide the new Lufthansa Group medium-range aircraft with its latest state-ofthe-art seat for single aisle, offering what it describes as “unmatchable comfort and higher operative performances on the Economy Class seating market.” Lufthansa Group will install the Essenza seat model for the A320 and A321neo fleets of its hub airlines Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS. The selection of the new seat is part of a larger cabin design modernization project that the German group is undergoing as part of its growth plan. The customized seat will be delivered in 50 shipsets for either A320 or A321neo. Deliveries will start from the fourth quarter of 2018 and will last until 2022. The first aircraft en route with the new seats is expected during the first half of 2019. Speaking at the Hamburg show, Alberto Veneruso, Managing Director of Geven, noted that this was the company’s first-ever contract with Lufthansa Group. “Lufthansa Group is a highly demanding and meticulous customer but also an ideal partner for developing new products and solutions to their passengers worldwide and ultimately to the aviation industry,” he told a press conference. Paul Estoppey, Head of Product Cabin at Lufthansa Group, added: “The co-operation with Geven went very well. Due to the combination of seat manufacturer know-how and our customer
perspective, we have jointly developed a great seat that is both technically and ergonomically state-of-the-art.” The Essenza seat incorporates two innovations on the backrest and the bottom cushion. The backrest is made of a single piece of carbon fiber with both structural and aesthetical functions. This design results in a lower number of parts to be managed and a reduced weight. The bottom cushion is installed directly on the seat beams via Velcro and perform both structural and comfort functions, allowing easy inspection and maintenance. In the second announcement, Wizz Air awarded Geven the contract for seating on its new A321/A320neo fleet of 110-plus aircraft – the largest seat order in its history. The leading low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe has taken the Essenza single-aisle Economy Class seat model for its living space, comfort, fresh Italian design and reduced weight characteristics. Geven has been supplying seats to Wizz Air since its first Airbus narrow-body acquisitions in 2007. In the third announcement, Latin American carrier Interjet selected Geven seating to equip its 35 upcoming Airbus A320neo aircraft. First delivery is slated for May 2019. The reclining version of the Essenza seat will be customized to reflect the airline’s need for increased comfort and cabin appeal. Features include a more cushioned seat, a multi-way padded headrest, USB in-seat power supply and a generous seat pitch. Francisco Arias, Interjet Executive Vice President, said: “The seat meets the needs of Interjet not only in terms of comfort, but also for its low part count, light weight and easy, clean structure, thanks to an innovative design and state-ofthe-art technologies.”
www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 31
Boston on the horizon
Attendees listen with rapt attention to presenters such as Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates (bottom right), at last year’s APEX Expo in Long Beach
Ahead of APEX’s annual North American expo this September, PAX spoke to Katie Goshgarian, Executive Director of APEX, for an exclusive look at what to expect in Beantown. Plus: a look back at the APEX TECH event that took place in LA on June 19 and 20
Katie Goshgarian, Executive Director of APEX
32 | PAX INTERNATIONAL | JULY 2018
On APEX TECH 2018
APEX TECH has evolved into an innovative conference that’s seeing fresh presentations from high-level PaxEx Tech Execs. APEX’s June TECH event continued this trend by including an impressive lineup of speakers and sessions that focused on both inflight entertainment and connectivity. The London School of Economics unveiled its study on the economic benefit of connectivity operations with Inmarsat during the first day of the event. The new report describes how connectivity delivers powerful economic benefits and efficiencies to airlines across operations, safety and environmental areas. This study is further proof of the value of connectivity not only as a passenger benefit but one that has positive financial implications for airlines. The second day of presentations at APEX TECH focused solely on IFE and featured speakers from Amazon Web Services, Aeromexico and the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Overall, a positive tone was set regarding the future of IFE, with panel discussions and sessions focused on content protection, management, new advertising delivery methodologies, and the advent of blockchain, how to define the technology and how it can be implemented by airlines.
ceremony that celebrates innovative and new achievements by airlines and vendor partners. Awards will be given for the APEX Awards, Official Passenger Ratings™, global Passenger Choice Awards (PCAs), APEX CEO Lifetime Achievement Award and the new APEX + Crystal Cabin Best Customer Journey Experience Award.
On what newbies should make note of
For those attending APEX EXPO for the first time, the best advice is to set up appointments with key attendees in advance. It’s definitely an appointment-centric show as opposed to a foot traffic show. APEX members value relationship-building, so that is important to note as well. Attend as many networking events as you can to make those connections. The executive keynotes are also a must-see for any attendees. This year, APEX EXPO will feature a record number of these presentations including Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines; Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada; Claudia Sender, Vice President of Customers at LATAM Airlines Group and CEO of LATAM; Andres Conesa, CEO of Aeromexico; and Stephen Kavanagh, CEO and Executive Director of Aer Lingus. Another highlight for attendees is the annual APEX Networking Event sponsored by SmartSky Networks. This year’s party will feature local Boston cuisine and a celebration of the city’s rich history, all to music of some of Boston’s most famous artists and bands.
On the wide variety of exhibitors
On what return attendees can look forward to
One major change is, due to limited space within the Boston Conference and Event Center, APEX and AIX Americas will be located together, with IFSA and Worldwide Airline Customer Relations Association (WACRA) at the Hynes Convention Center. With more than 100 representatives from airlines and more than 5,000 overall expected attendees, APEX EXPO continues to be the industry’s largest PaxEx event exclusive for experts and decision-makers committed to elevating the level of the worldwide airline passenger experience. The four-day premier event features top-notch seminars led by industry experts, the latest and most comprehensive display of airlinerelated technologies, products and services, and valuable networking opportunities. This year, we are proud to feature a stellar lineup of keynote speakers that includes CEOs from American Airlines, Air Canada, LATAM, Aeromexico, and Aer Lingus. Their combined knowledge and experience will give attendees unique and invaluable insight. This will be followed by an afternoon of breakout sessions dedicated to enabling attendees to learn more about a certain areas of interest. Attendees can also look forward to the annual APEX Awards
There are more than 130 companies and organizations confirmed to exhibit at this year’s APEX EXPO. These exhibitors include manufacturers, content providers and technology solutions developers all showcasing their latest offerings and innovations. Attendees can expect the most comprehensive and diverse display of airline-related technologies, products and services. Some of the first-time exhibitors at APEX EXPO include Aeroplay Entertainment, airfree, APT Worldwide/American Public Television, ELTA (ECA Group), Inflight VR Software GmBH, Intramovies, O’Brien International, RebelRoam, SKYdeals, Telesat, The Television Syndication Company, and TQ-Systems GmbH. Consult the current list of exhibitors for more information.
On how new exhibitors should tackle the event
The best advice to exhibiting companies is to note who is coming and set up meetings on the show floor (or at the bar post-show hours!) to ensure you get the most value from the expo. The 5,000-plus attendees at APEX EXPO are leaders and decision-makers within their respective organizations, meaning they typically having buying power. Exhibitors should also be aware of the Cool Awards. These awards are voted on by attendees who walk the show floor and are given out by APEX to the companies that showcase the most innovative technologies and products at their booths. Winners will be announced at the event on Thursday. Finally, be sure to also promote your organization or company’s attendance by engaging with APEX on social media using the hashtag #APEXEXPO. www.pax-intl.com | PAX INTERNATIONAL | 33
FACTS & FIGURES
A trivial pursuit of IFE, seating, aircraft and airline info, for your reading pleasure Research compiled by ASH KHAN
Number of seats on Emirates’ A380, the most ever recorded on an aircraft, as unveiled by the airline in 2015.
Year the first U.S. seatbelt was patented, though it wouldn’t be until the 1930s and 1940s that they would be common on aircraft.
Year the first feature-length Hollywood movie, The Lost World, was shown in flight by Imperial Airways. Sound was delivered via radio and a live orchestra.
Emotion elicited by the color blue, which is why airplane seats are often this hue, as told to The Telegraph by Nigel Goode, Designer and Director at PriestmanGoode.
1961 Year the first hot and cold food service cart, better known today as a trolley, was patented by Blair Stentz.
34 | PAX INTERNATIONAL | JULY 2018
Howdy Chicago! Name of the first short film that aired in an aircraft. It appeared in flight during 1921’s Chicago’s Pageant of Progress trade show.
Number of flights flown daily to 330 worldwide destinations by American Airlines, making it the largest airline by passengers carried, as per a 2017 article by World Atlas
The top movies watched on Qantas flights in 2017, according to the airline: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
The Boss Baby Logan Hidden Figures Beauty and the Beast Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Lion La La Land Baywatch Kong: Skull Island Baby Driver
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