PAX International | PAX Tech October 2021

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OCTOBER 2021 • WWW.PAX-INTL.COM

New s and analy sis for the passenger ser vices executive

Catering and comfort BEYOND THE CABIN

PLUS b

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W W W. F R A N K E N B E R G . C O M

SPICE UP YOUR

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FLIGHT


EDITOR’S LETTER

PAX International PAX Tech Mississauga, Ontario Canada Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 Website: www.pax-intl.com

PUBLISHER Aijaz Khan E-mail: aijaz@globalmarketingcom.ca

EDITORIAL OFFICES Rick Lundstrom, Editor-in-Chief 723 Jefferson Street, NE Minneapolis, MN 55413, USA Tel: (1 612) 354-2343 Mobile: (1 612) 859-4502 E-mail: rick@pax-intl.com Jane Hobson, Editor Tel: (1 416) 997-3914 E-mail: jane@pax-intl.com Ash Khan, Social Media Coordinator E-mail: ash@pax-intl.com

ART DEPARTMENT Jessica Hearn, Art Director E-mail: jessica@globalmarketingcom.ca

PAX International and PAX Tech are published a total of 10 times a year by PAX International, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. International Distribution.

Subscriptions: $200 for one year; $300 for two years; $400 for three years. Art and photographs

T

News in hand

he way that humankind accesses news has been evolving for centuries, arguably since the beginning of time. In journalism school, professors teach about how ‘town criers’ were the main source of news communication in medieval England. They literally shared news by shouting it in town to anyone who would listen (the pre-paywall days). Then came the Gutenberg press, invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-1400s. It was the first mechanical device used to effectively print newspapers as there was a large jump in literacy rates. In a simplified account of history, you could say this evolution is what led to the forms of mass communication where we access news today – magazines, online news engines, Twitter. All this to say that as we write the October editions of PAX International and PAX Tech, we suspect you may end up scrolling it on your mobile device or at your home office desktop computer. Despite our longing to print in hardcopy, it’s gratifying nonetheless to be able to present the industry with a magazine at this crucial time. In the final months of 2021, there’s hope that we’ll be meeting in-person. This is a welcome sign for the return of business travel. The American Hotel and Lodging Association projects that by the end of this year, business will be down more than US$59 billion in travel revenue compared to 2019. “Business travel is the hotel industry’s largest source of revenue and has been slow to return since the onset of the pandemic,” said the group. “Business travel includes corporate, group, government, and other commercial categories. Business travel revenue is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024.” Business travel could still use a boost, but what is perhaps the most leisurely of leisure travel is making a comeback. With a brief report on page 27 of this issue, you can see a number of cruise lines are again putting tonnage in the water and beckoning travelers with the lure of far-off destinations and sights. By the end of the year, Carnival Cruise Lines is expected to have its entire fleet in the water. Other ships are being deployed again, some after more than 500 days out of service. If the last 18-or-so months has revealed anything, it is that we must continue to adapt to the times. We take seriously the quest for quality journalism and presentation, making it easily digestible and shareable among colleagues from a work-from-home setting. Whichever way you enjoy your news – digital or shouted at you – it remains a human need and the phenomenon of sharing it remains permanent in a time when much of life seems fleeting and short lived.

will not be returned unless accompanied by return postage. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher or editor. July 2019. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. © PAX International magazine

ISSN 1206-5714 Key title: Pax International

Rick Lundstrom Editor-in-Chief PAX International & PAX Tech

PAX-INTL.COM

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CONTENTS

16

Features PROFILE

14

FLYING FREE Despite lockdowns and restrictions, airlines around the world still recognize what is important, and in Aeromexico’s case it is traditional food on an important holiday

GUEST COLUMN

16

SOLA’S SOLUTIONS Hans Engels, Export Manager at Sola, introduces three new cutlery designs and highlights the company rebrand that unifies all divisions under one brand on the eve of its 100-year anniversary

AMENITIES & COMFORT

18

INDUSTRY WAKING UP The industry is seeing indications of recovery, with Airport Dimensions’ sleep ‘n fly Sleep Lounge at Hamad International Airport recording nearly half a million hours of sleep, relaxation or socially distanced time at the Qatar airport since September 2020

20 HONG KONG ON THE HUDSON

FORMIA is finding success in the Americas with its new Manhattanbased office

22 OCTOBER 2021 • WWW.PAX-INTL.COM

New s and analy sis for the passenger ser vices executive

Catering and comfort BEYOND THE CABIN

PLUS

bonus cruise covera ge

ON THE COVER

Lounge revenue streams will be significant in the post-COVID era, and Airport Dimensions is already seeing an increase in demand. More on page 18.

Departments EDITOR’S NOTE

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NEWS

8

ASSOCIATION NEWS

44

WHAT’S HOT

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COMFORT IS A CONSTANT GIP’s new products in the comfort collection are positioned to help airlines keep passengers calm and comfy in the cabin

CATERING

24

CULINARY EXPLORATION Autoclaving has been used over the years in a variety of food applications, but now LSG Group is evaluating the process for airline food service for a variety of practical reasons

CRUISE REPORT

28

SHAKING OFF HARDSHIP As summer moved into fall, the number of cruise passengers in 2021 reached the seven-figure mark and lines were relaunching and planning big for 2022

EVENTS

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46

MEETING IN MIAMI The Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo and Cruise Ship Interiors Expo is set to take place in Miami Beach October 28 to 29 VIVA LAS VEGAS Future Travel Experience Founder and CEO Daniel Coleman gives an update on the what to expect at FTE Global coming up in December, which marks the 15th anniversary of the event


The natural choice for your inflight service Our line of sugarcane bagasse products are an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic items. 100% biodegradable, from sustainable sources.


CONTENTS

38 Features

42

IFE

38 40

OCTOBER 2021 | www.pax-intl.com

MRO, Interiors & IFEC

NOW SCREENING: THE RETURN TO TRAVEL

e perfect solution needs of the narrow world.

ON THE COVER

Safran Passenger Innovations is now taking orders for its next generation IFE system RAVE Ultra. Read about updates in IFE in the screens report on page 38.

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www.geven.com

EDITOR’S NOTE

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NEWS

34

ASSOCIATION NEWS

44

WHAT’S HOT

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SELLING THE EXPERIENCE Thales Group heads into this fall with a new entertainment solution in its Avant Up system with improved displays, power supply and revenue opportunities for airline customers EVOLVING ENTERTAINMENT Global Inflight Products is adapting to trends in inflight headsets with its latest line of soothing sound products

PROFILE

Fly around the world, tailor made in Italy.

Departments

THE NEXT TURN Over the summer, a cabin full of 4K IFE screens on Cathay Pacific Airways marked a first in the industry, and it holds the promise for many more to follow

ONE-STOP SHOP ABC International has positioned itself as more than a cabin branding specialist, with a new Chief Commercial Officer at its head

EVENTS

45 46

MEETING IN MIAMI The Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo and Cruise Ship Interiors Expo is set to take place in Miami Beach October 28 to 29 VIVA LAS VEGAS Future Travel Experience Founder and CEO Daniel Coleman gives an update on the what to expect at FTE Global coming up in December, which marks the 15th anniversary of the event



NEWS

SUPPLIER

Sanitizing wipes, sustainability and comfort products remain in demand, says RMT Global Partners It seems developments are moving faster than ever during the pandemic, but RMT Global Partners tells PAX International orders for many key products remain consistent among its customers. “We have a strong demand for sanitizing wipes and bulk canisters of galley and cockpit wipes,” says RMT President and CEO Richard Tuttle, adding that the company is investing in US-based production facilities for sanitizing wipes. The goal is to help its customers counter the increases in freight cost and lead times for products. Meanwhile, demand for passenger personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, has dropped because more and more passengers prefer to bring their own, he says. Sustainable and eco-friendly options are still trending; and among RMT’s most popular are paper and pulp-based products. To respond to this demand, the supplier has introduced a range of bagasse meal items, including cutlery and ovenable dishes. The lightweight bagasse cutlery is strong, 100 percent biodegradable and an alternative to traditional or wooden cutlery. The ovenable bagasse dishes can withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes when used in conjunction with RMT’s aluminum foils and lids. The 100 percent compostable dishes are available in varying sizes and can be customized with customer logo. When it comes to comfort products, Tuttle says there are signs of industry recovery and passenger confidence.

“We have received a number of enquiries for new blankets and bedlinen, which is a good indication that airlines are looking ahead to a better future with more international travel as these items are more frequently used on long-haul flights.” RMT offers a range of textiles, including rPET blankets and polyester woven blankets that are designed to withstand frequent sanitizing laundry cycles.

RMT has introduced a range of bagasse meal items in response to the demand for eco-friendly products

COMPANY

John Horsfall acquires Orvec John Horsfall has announced the purchase of Orvec, welcoming the passenger comfort product supplier into the Group. Orvec is especially known for its in-cabin textile products, with particular focus on non-woven items. The acquisition allows John Horsfall to diversify its product range. “This is a fantastically positive acquisition for our business, with many synergies in terms of product area and customer base,” said Peter Horsfall Benson, Managing Director at John Horsfall.

8  OCTOBER 2021

Through the acquisition, John Horsfall will retain Orvec’s UK and China production facilities, with all sales enquiries, order processing and account managing happening in-house at John Horsfall’s Huddersfieldbased headquarters in West Yorkshire. The main point of contact for Orvec’s USA customers remains Erick Ray, while all other sales and customer servicesrelated enquiries regarding airlines and train products will be handled by Ellie Parkes of John Horsfall.


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NEWS

SUPPLIER

FORMIA launches premium class Bvlgari bags for Emirates featuring exclusive fragrance Passengers flying Emirates’ premium classes expect an exquisite experience at every step of their journey. Along with delightful inflight food service and stunning cabin details, Emirates’ premium class passengers will also receive a classy aromatic experience thanks to a new amenities concept between the airline and Italian luxury brand Bvlgari. FORMIA joined forces with Emirates and Bvlgari to create a collection of eight bags for First and Business Class travelers. Each is embossed with the distinctive Bvlgari logo, has Bvlgari branded inner lining and outer color palettes that complement the exclusive 30 milliliter Bvlgari fragrance inside. The fragrances are part of the Bvlgari ‘Le Gemme’ collection, inspired by different gemstones. The ‘female First Class’ fragrance ‘Rubinia’ showcases ruby; the ‘male First Class’ fragrance ‘Tygar’ is named after the magnetic gem Tiger’s Eye. Both are presented in sleek black faux leather amenity bags, with red and tan trim respectively. For Business Class passengers, the ‘female’ bag features a gold faux leather finish with the fragrance ‘Omnia Crystalline.’ The scent is inspired by pure crystal. The ‘male’ bag comes in a two-tone fabric with a functional carry handle, featuring the fragrance ‘Aqva Pour Homme.’ Passengers also receive Bvlgari luxury lip balm, body lotion and face cream – all in respective fragrances.

Christoph Schmitz, Chief Executive Officer at gategroup effective November 1

FORMIA designed the eight bags for versatile uses, from cosmetic bags to travel pouches. The company also created essential and sustainable onboard comfort products to help ensure satisfied passengers: toothbrushes; combs and mirrors made of wheat straw; and, a dental kit that comes wrapped in rice paper. “We are particularly proud of the results of this collaboration. Not only does it ooze sophistication and opulence, it also addresses the growing need for reusable and long-lasting designs,” said Roland Grohmann, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner at FORMIA.

The FORMIA First Class kit features the fragrance ‘Rubinia’

PEOPLE

gategroup names new CEO gategroup has announced that Xavier Rossinyol will step down as Chief Executive Officer effective November 1, 2021 to pursue new challenges outside of the airline industry, and will be succeeded by Christoph Schmitz. Schmitz joined gategroup as Chief Financial Officer and member of the Executive Management Board in January 2015 with more than 20 years’ experience as CFO at multinational companies. In his capacity as Group CFO, Schmitz has been involved in all key strategic projects of the group. He led the public-to-private ownership transition in 2016, the acquisitions of Servair and LSG Europe, the changes of ownership in 2018 and 2019, and the restructuring initiatives in 2021 to secure the group’s financial position. In addition, he has led a significant consolidation of the group’s IT infrastructure and applications landscape achieving material efficiency gains. Rossinyol joined gategroup in April 2015 and led the company through a strong growth phase with record year-on-year financial results; and navigated the complex COVID-19 pandemic.

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Precision with every plate


NEWS

AIRLINE NEWS

SWISS launches ‘Best of SWISS’ Starting in September, SWISS is offering Business and First Class passengers a selection of creations from the past few years of its ‘SWISS Taste of Switzerland’ program on long-haul services from Switzerland. Business and First Class passengers will receive selected creations from top Swiss-based chefs. The dishes, which are accompanied as usual by Swiss regional wines and specialty cheeses, reflect the broad variety of Switzerland’s cuisine. Of the 70 guest chefs included on board since the program began in 2002, Silvia Manser, Silvio Germann, JeanMarc Soldati, Mike Wehrle, Thomas Amstutz, HansJörg and Anja Zingg, Franck Reynaud, Christian Kuchler, Lorenzo Albrici and Rolf Hiltl are currently featured. Passengers in First can choose between two dishes: a starter of marinated lobster with pecorino cheese and cauliflower panna cotta, followed veal tenderloin with black truffle sauce. The choice of main includes sautéed cod with seafood nage and potato and fennel brandade. The menu is rounded off with a choice of two desserts: a blueberry slice with chocolate crumble and Appenzeller beer ice cream. For Business Class, SWISS travelers have the choice of

a vegetarian option: beetroot tabbouleh with green pea guacamole, which is offered alongside a Balik salmon sashimi with avocado, cucumber and wasabi vinaigrette. Main courses include a ‘Meat Love’ meatloaf with morel sauce created. The menu concludes with the sweet delight of a cheesecake with chocolate sponge and citrus fruits.

Business Class meal beetroot tabbouleh with green pea guacamole and nut crumble

COMPANY

DFMi highlights popular inflight snacks and trends DFMi, the premiere sales and marketing company that works with brands to bring their quality food items to airline customers, is highlighting “best brands in flight” as the industry leans toward recovery. The Georgia-based company works with supplier partners including 88 Acres, Danone, Lesser Evil, Novel Foods, Nuttee Bean Co., Gourmet Nut, La Colombe, Revolution Foods, Wildway and more. Some popular airline snacks by these companies include Nuttee Bean Co.’s Favalicious fava bean snacks;

snacks with organic ingredients from Lesser Evil; trail mix and Simple Slices Apple Chips by Gourmet Nut; snack bars and seed butters from 88 Acres, #indulge savory products from Novel Foods; and ready-todrink beverages from La Colombe Coffee Roasters. DFMi told PAX in September minimal touch remains a big consideration for inflight snacks. “There is still a focus on reducing touch points, and I don’t see this going away anytime soon,” says Kim Brown, Director of Marketing at DFMi.

The Dark Chocolate Sea Salt bar from 88 Acres

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NEWS

PEOPLE

Kerry Philipovitch joins Intervine Board of Directors Former American Airlines Executive Kerry Philipovitch has joined the Board of Directors of Intervine, an international wine and program management supplier serving airlines and the travel sector. Philipovitch brings to Intervine more than 20 years of senior airline experience. She most recently served as Senior Vice President – Customer Experience for American Airlines where she supported a global team of 70,000 and managed a multi-billion-dollar operating budget. Intervine is a full-service management company representing more than 500 wineries around the world for sales, marketing and distribution to airlines, airport lounges and cruise ships. Pre-COVID, Intervine sourced and supplied more than 1.4 million cases of wine flying on 30 airlines in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America as well as sailing on more than 15 major cruise lines. “It’s cliché, but we are absolutely thrilled to have Kerry join our Board!” said Intervine CEO Ed Matovcik, in the announcement of the new board member. “There are a lot of executives with her experience,

but few with her intellectual curiosity, emotional IQ and passion for wine. She’s a unicorn in this business and we are so proud to have her on our team.” Intervine also announced that Sandra Pineau-Boddison has been named Board Chair after serving on the board for two years. She has more than 30 years of airline experience, serving in key corporate leadership roles, most recently as Senior Vice President, Customers at United Airlines. She is currently an independent consultant and partner with The Hayward Partnership and President and board member of the International Flight Services Association Foundation.

Kerry Philipovitch, Board of Directors, Intervine

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PROFILE

The MiQ seat from Collins Aerospace was specially modified for Aeromexico’s 737 Max aircraft

Flying free by RICK LUNDSTROM

Despite lockdowns and restrictions, airlines around the world still recognize what is important, and in Aeromexico’s case it is traditional food on an important holiday

I Chiles en nogada was on the menu September 5 on Aeromexico’s flight from Mexico City to Madrid

14  OCTOBER 2021

n early September, Aeromexico’s flight AM01 from Mexico City to Madrid brought aboard the flavors and smells of Puebla, a city in the east-central part of the country, through an association with the airline and El Palacio de Hierro, one of the country’s well-known fashion and culinary retailers. The occasion celebrated Mexico’s Independence Day which is September 16. Along with the traditional dish of chiles en nogada, the 270 passengers


LED mood lighting is part of the interior design to help alleviate jetlag

on the 787-9 Dreamliner were served Tattinger Champagne and the menu was made with fresh ingredients from Calpan, Puebla, including Creole peach, Panochera Apples, sweet-milk pears, pink pine nuts and Castillian walnuts. “It was an interesting logistics to serve one of the iconic dishes of our country, and it allows us to continue offering our customers unique travel experiences,” said Christian Romero, Aeromexico’s Senior Onboard Services Manager. Headquartered in Mexico City, El Palacio de Hierro is one of Mexico’s most upscale department store chains. The boutiques and stores within sell highend luxury fashion brands, from Jimmy Choo and Moschino to Balmain and Rimowa. There is no shortage of dining options and gourmet products at the Gastronomia Palacio. Here, renowned chefs, unique dishes and exclusive brands in cantinas, cafes, bistros, wines, mezcals and more come together to offer “the best gastronomic options in the city under one roof,” reads the website. Aeromexico passengers experienced a taste of traditional Palacio de Hierro fare with the retailer’s chefs preparing the meals. Gate Gourmet in Mexico City and Madrid assisted in handling the plating and transport. “It is a significant year that we could not ignore,” said Chef Guillermo

Martinez from La Cantina Palacio. The supplier also came through with a colorful gift bag with Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate and small commemorative items from El Palacio de Hierro. Aeromexico tells PAX it is looking at future partnerships with the fashion and culinary retailer as the airline has more cabin service plans. Menus of the future will stress seasonal fresh ingredients, paired with the return of regularly rotated inflight entertainment at the two-month interval starting next year. Other features have been added to the Aeromexico Panasonic IFE system to make the airline’s food service more touchless. Aboard the airline’s 787s, passengers can access the menu via a convenient icon on the inflight entertainment system. Aire, Aeromexico’s official inflight magazine, is available digitally by scanning a QR code. Aeromexico is touting a number of features for its dozen new 737 Max aircraft. The first of the new order is due to arrive in October. Windows on the Max are 20 percent larger than previous models. Inside the cabin, LED lighting reflects the time of day, or which stage the flight is in, which can promote relaxation and help reduce the effects of jetlag. One of the most prominent features aboard the Max aircraft is the

custom designed seating that the airline developed with Collins Aerospace. The seats are made from Collins’ existing MiQ model of regional Business Class. They are equipped with USB ports, 13.3-inch screens with handsets and will have Bluetooth connectivity, and built-in cameras. Passengers can work efficiently and seamlessly with onboard Wi-Fi, charge personal electronic devices or enjoy IFE offerings during flight. In addition to Collins, Aeromexico also tapped London-based design company New Territory in development of the seat. The parties sought to make a product that will have a long life in service and a number of storage features and comfort benefits for the passenger. The design will continue through the new deliveries. The airline’s observation of Independence day and interiors updates come alongside strong indications of a return to travel. In August, Aeromexico carried more than 1.53 million passengers, 85.8 percent of the passengers carried during the same month in 2019. Though there are still restrictions for destinations such as London, Japan and parts of Europe, domestic service has been brisk, as travelers opt to explore domestically. August load factors were at 78.3 percent.

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GUEST COLUMN

Sola’s solutions The Nordica design from Sola

Hans Engels, Export Manager at Sola, introduces three new cutlery designs and highlights the company rebrand that unifies all divisions under one brand on the eve of its 100-year anniversary

W

hen Bernd Koperdraad, Export Manager Airline and Railway Europe & Africa, started with Sola, immediately he could see the immense scale of the inflight catering industry. Little did we know at the time, the COVID-19 crisis was coming our way. Still as of today, the pandemic is seriously affecting our daily business. But we have used the time to push two major projects forward. In this time, Bernd has been part of the development of our single-use plastic cutlery replacement and the complete re-brand of Sola that saw the launch of the new website, logo and brand colors in early-June. The rebrand encompasses all Sola divisions unified under the same brand image to bring attention to the overall success of the company since our foundations in 1922. Our customers can find all Sola entities on the same webpage: Sola Hospitality Cutlery, Sola Airline Cutlery, Sola Railway Cutlery and Sola Cruiseline Cutlery.

16  OCTOBER 2021

Through this downtime we have introduced three new cutlery designs, suitable for First and Business Class; Amsterdam, Aura and Nordica. Unlike any of our other existing cutlery, these three designs can be changed in size and weight to match the airline’s inflight food service. With our cutlery range for Premium and Economy, the ultra-lightweight steel cutlery as a single-use plastic replacement, and our introduce coffee and tea pots, thermos flasks and bread baskets, our range is complete and can fulfill all airline needs. As our industry moves toward a restart, we are already seeing a steady increase in demand and we hope that everyone will experience this in the year ahead. We are so proud to be part of this industry that has seen many crises in the past and has always been able to recover. New challenges undoubtably await us, some that we’re already tackling, such as the demand for a more sustainable way of production. We are excited to reconnect with

The Aura design from Sola

everyone at the 2022 trade shows, when Sola will celebrate its 100th anniversary. We will continue what we have been doing since the beginning; designing, manufacturing and supplying innovative cutlery designs and steel onboard products to meet passenger demands and trends of the future. It is in our Sola-DNA.


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AMENITIES & COMFORT

Industry

waking up The industry is seeing indications of recovery, with Airport Dimensions’ sleep ‘n fly Sleep Lounge at Hamad International Airport recording nearly half a million hours of sleep, relaxation or socially distanced time at the Qatar airport since September 2020 by JANE HOBSON

A

mong the predictable industry headlines throughout the pandemic about grounded flights, suspended dining programs and supply chain interruptions, there has been lately a glimpse of recovery in the lounge market. Airport Dimensions reported in March 2021 that survey figures indicated that lounge revenue streams would be significant in the post-COVID era. A month later, it reported that the US lounge market had seen the first substantial increase since the start of COVID, indicating strong growth in domestic travel and increasing passenger confidence. And the market has continued to recover at a rapid pace since then, Nancy Knipp, President (Americas) at Airport Dimensions, tells PAX International in September. “Visitor rates at our The Club lounges in the US are trending positively with over 65 percent of our locations experiencing week-on-week growth,” she says. “Growing demand for lounges

18  OCTOBER 2021

is positive news for the wider travel industry, indicating that more passengers are returning to the skies and are also willing to pay for enhanced services that improve their overall travel experience.” Lounges at Charleston International Airport, Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport and Boston Logan International Airport have also continued to see double digit week-on-week volume growth. On the US Labor Day weekend, several lounges reached pre-pandemic levels. The Charleston S.C., The Club CHS lounge exceeded 2019 Labor Day volumes by more than 16 percent. In addition, Knipp says, prospects for the global lounge network are also trending positive.

Major milestone

During the first twelve months, Airport Dimensions’ sleep ‘n fly Sleep Lounge at Hamad International Airport in Doha recorded nearly half a million hours of sleep, relaxation or socially

distanced relaxation time from travelers in transit at the Qatar airport. Airport Dimensions acquired the sleep ’n fly brand last year and opened its first non-traditional lounge featuring the sleep concept at Doha last September, joining a network of three sleep lounges in the Gulf. The 50-bed Sleep Lounge offers single, couple and family pod options to suit all passenger needs, giving travelers the opportunity to relax and rest during their journey. Airport Dimensions lounge access varies, but they are open to those who pay for entry or members of a qualifying program.

Privacy, hygiene, and relaxation

With growing concerns over hygiene and social distancing because of the pandemic, lounges offer a clean, private space away from the busyness of the airport. “The current trends driving passengers to airport lounges – such as the


A sleep ‘n fly double bed cabin at Hamad International Airport in Doha

C Connector, and an international location in Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1. More will be announced in select locations over time.

An Airport Dimensions lounge at sunset

desire to socially distance in private, hygienic spaces – look set to remain in the post-pandemic environment as more travelers return to airports and terminals become busier,” Knipp says. To keep up with the demand, she says Airport Dimensions has been inviting feedback from passengers and has deployed updated disinfection and hygiene procedures and contactless check-in at its lounges. At Hamad International, for example, the lounge uses high-tech nanotechnology disinfectants that neutralize viruses and germs for extended periods of time.

Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club

The lounge company is also partnering with JPMorgan Chase to unveil a new concept Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club. The first three locations that will eventually feature the lounges include New York’s LaGuardia Airport in Terminal B, Boston Logan International Airport Terminal B to

No1 Lounges and Connecta to come

Airport Dimensions announced in June an agreement with joint venture partner Swissport to acquire No1 Lounges business through SwissportALD. Under the agreement, the partners will operate nine No1 lounge and Clubrooms spaces at London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Birmingham airports. The Clubrooms brand offers guests a First Class luxury lounge experience in a private and intimate setting. In response to traveler expectations for contactless and digital services, Airport Dimensions has launched Connecta. The e-commerce platform drives revenue by knitting together the physical and digital traveler experience through the airport space. The company also works with F&B marketplace partner Servy and duty free ordering with digital platform Inflyter to cater to passengers’ digital expectations. “These commercial services provide additional opportunities to add value to a passenger’s journey, as well as creating important new revenue streams that are helping airports to recover from the after-effects of the pandemic.”

British Airways has introduced two new cocktails as part of its lounge reopening plan

BA CONTINUES LOUNGE OPENINGS

In September, British Airways announced that it would transition to the next phase of its lounge reopening plan, another move indicative of a lounge market recovery. The airline opened the doors to its Concorde Room (specifically for those in First) at JFK and Heathrow on September 1, on the heels of the airline’s flagship US lounge reopening at the start of August. To coincide with both Concorde Rooms opening, British Airways will be introducing a new cocktail menu, created exclusively for the airline, with two special cocktails. The ‘Barton’ and ‘Lawford,’ after Lynne Barton, the first female British Airways pilot, and Bill Lawford, the first ever British Airways pilot in 1919.

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AMENITIES & COMFORT

The reusable amenity kit by FORMIA for JetBlue Core (Economy) experience

Hong Kong on the Hudson FORMIA is finding success in the Americas with its new Manhattan-based office by JANE HOBSON

W

hen it comes to travel, onboard passenger comfort and amenities are the details that bring a refined and thoughtful tone to the passenger experience. Amenities suppliers are shifting focus from vital COVID-related offerings to new and more expected partnerships and projects returning to the news headlines. FORMIA shared the launch of its reusable amenity kits for New York airline JetBlue in August. The kits for JetBlue’s Core (Economy) experience are available on the airline’s new transatlantic flights, between New York JFK and London Heathrow (LHR), and JFK and London Gatwick (LGW). In September, Roland Grohmann, CEO & Managing Partner at FORMIA, told PAX International the partnership is a result of its strategic focus on the North American market and its recently opened Manhattan-based office. “New York City is a vibrant district known for its prominent arts and culture scene, providing an energizing and inspiring backdrop for innovation and creativity,” Grohmann says. “The FORMIA Americas team is experiencing a surge of activity in

20  OCTOBER 2021

the market, and following the recent JetBlue Core kits launch, we are excited to be in the process of developing further concepts and collaborations with new airline customers to be introduced over the coming months.” Hong Kong-based FORMIA began its venture into the North American market in 2017 and established the New York City office last year, with a dedicated team to further accelerate growth and support airline customers and brand partners in the region. Along with JetBlue, its other airline customers include American Airlines, Canada’s WestJet, Aeromexico and Ohio-based private jet company NetJets. In May, FORMIA announced it would supply American with amenity kits for premium cabin transcontinental and international long-haul passengers in partnership with Detroit luxury design brand Shinola and Brooklynbased perfumers D.S. & Durga. For WestJet, FORMIA curated an onboard experience alongside the airline’s Dreamliner launch in 2019 for flights from Calgary to London, Paris and Dublin. It included a boarding and disembarkation playlist and vegan amenity kits from Montreal-based

FORMIA supplied American Airlines with premium cabin amenity kits in partnership with Detroit luxury design brand Shinola and Brooklyn-based perfumers D.S. & Durga

Matt & Nat featuring products from Canadian brands including Province Apothecary based in Toronto. The New York office is the regional hub for many of the company’s brand partners, giving FORMIA the opportunity to communicate in real-time. It also brings FORMIA closer to its US-based sustainability partners, a major importance to FORMIA as part of its sustainability strategy launched in 2020. The New York City team includes representatives covering client sales, customer service, business development, marketing, brands and design for North America, in addition to FORMIA’s representation in Mexico to cover Latin America. It brings the opportunity to host, meet and inspire customers and brand partners in person – a rarity in a world now dominated by virtual meetings, Grohmann says. “Our aim is to curate exclusive branded products and experiences with added value to better serve our Americas customers and the differing needs of their passengers. Looking to the future, we are developing ways to continuously evolve in this fast growing and important region for FORMIA.”


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AMENITIES & COMFORT

The Avioluxe Cushion by GIP is an ultra-lightweight and foldable cushion that adds support and comfort without taking up much room in the cabin

Comfort is a constant

The new comfort collection from GIP offers premium duvets, comforters, blankets, support cushions and pillow cases

by JANE HOBSON

GIP’s new products in the comfort collection are positioned to help airlines keep passengers calm and comfy in the cabin

T

he pandemic has introduced a new concept of comfort. Business meetings are for the most part conducted from home offices, and spending weeks in inside has become customary for many. But as people begin to transition back to prepandemic activities, such as travel, the desire for comfort remains consistent. “As always, passengers expect the same level of comfort, quality and design in the aircraft cabin as they experience at home, during hotel stays and when shopping in retail,” says Lisa Benzaoui, Chief Executive Officer at Global Inflight Products (GIP). The onboard products company has launched a new comfort collection, which reflects the “beauty of comfortability,” Benzaoui tells PAX International, adding that the product range can be described as “elegant, cohesive, minimalistic and cozy.” It includes duvets, comforters, blankets, support cushions and pillow cases. “In response to our airlines’ requests, our comfort line features custom-designed products that illustrate understated elegance that is also practical for inflight use. GIP always keeps the focus on the customers’ dreams to

22  OCTOBER 2021

deliver customized, quality, cost-effective onboard products,” Benzaoui explains. The duvets and comforters are available in various fills, such as goose down and synthetic, and customized patterns, colors, weights and sizes depending on airline customer needs. Soft fleece and microfiber blankets can help passengers stay warm. The options include double-sided, anti-pill, lint-free, custom stitching, embroidery, printing and trim. The woven modacrylic blanket is offers an upscale look with woven-in custom logos or patterns to enhance the airline brand and cabin interiors. The Avioluxe Cushion adds support and comfort. It is an ultra-lightweight and foldable cushion that is practical for the limited space cabin. The ultrasoft Spunlace, non-woven single-use pillow case for onboard pillows brings a relaxing and fresh experience to the passenger. It can also be customized with printed patterns or logos in any size. Pillows are available in vacuumpacked slim, stackable packaging to offer savings on transportation and storge costs, as well as to make inventory handling easier. In the comfort category, sustainability is an important consideration

when airlines make their buying decisions – and this remains to be the case post-pandemic. Benzaoui says the ‘Green Is Possible’ line is the best choice from GIP for airlines looking for sustainable and eco-friendly options. “An amazing option for a ‘green’ blanket is manufactured from recycled plastic bottles (RPET) that are transformed into a fine thread which is woven into an amazingly soft blanket,” she says. The comfort products can be combined with GIP’s amenity kits for an overall cohesive look that enhances the airline branding and customer experience. “Design and product development drive our business when working with our customers – from sketched ideas to product manufacturing, to develop functional, practical solutions that are beautiful to the eye,” Benzaoui says.

Benzaoui retires from GIP

GIP tells PAX International that Lisa Benzaoui is retiring from her position as CEO at the company after nearly two decades. The GIP team says they are incredibly grateful for her dedication and leadership in the past 16 years and express that she will be truly missed.


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CATERING

Culinary exploration Autoclaving has been used over the years in a variety of food applications, but now LSG Group is evaluating the process for airline food service for a variety of practical reasons by RICK LUNDSTROM

Jörg Hofmann, LSG Group’s Head of Culinary Excellence

I

n making the case for space exploration, defenders will often say enduring the cost and danger over the decades has led to several discoveries that have made their way into everyday life.

24  OCTOBER 2021

Space travel has been directly responsible for the development of cardiac defibrillators, temper foam, portable breathing systems for firefighters and even enriched baby formula. However, none of those were probably on the minds of food developers at LSG Group when they when the set out to create meals which could last months without refrigeration for German astronauts at International Space Station (ISS). The most recent development will be for astronaut Matthias Maurer who will be going into space at the end of October.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic

Now that the airline foodservice environment has changed — more than likely forever — the company’s Space Food products is being studied for catering. So far, LSG Group has been producing shelf-stable food that is both tasty and able to retain its nutrition through a long-accepted process called autoclaving. Under high pressure and temperature in an autoclaving unit, bacteria are killed. After the cool down, what is left is a product that has not only retained nutrition and flavor,


A shelf life of nine months for meals would reduce waste and require fewer refrigeration units

A French company, Steritech supplied LSG Group’s autoclaving unit

but can be stored at ambient temperatures for, in some cases, up to two years. The food is a perfect fit for places like the ISS. Whether it will be a fit for applications in airline food service is something LGS Group is evaluating with its single autoclave unit from a French company called Steritech. While the practice holds promise, Jörg Hofmann, LSG Group’s Head of Culinary Excellence says the use of autoclaving is still is in “project mode” and in need of defining processes and training, among other things. “Because, as we all know to extend the shelf life of food is quite a risky process, if you do not do it in the proper way,” Hofmann says. “Meaning, we need to learn a lot and we seriously need to educate all the staff related to those technologies.” Right now, LSG Group is working on the solution with a small autoclaving unit and a goal of storing food at ambient temperatures for up to nine months. It is nonetheless touting the possibilities and the

TRAVEL CATERING & COMFORT SERVICES

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25


CATERING

advantages through its participation in the Best Chef Awards which took place in September. It will also be supporting Maurer on the October 31 launch to the ISS where he will also be a part of the BigCityBeats Space Club Kitchen. BigCityBeats Space Club Kitchen is organized by a Frankfurt-based concert promoter. Early next year, during Maurer’s time, he will be the first astronaut to prepare a full meal on the ISS and will also DJ a set. Maurer’s selection of meals for this mission are 30 servings of beef rendang with vandouvan rice, azuki beans and yogurt. It’s a pungent heavily seasoned Indonesian dish with a flavor combination that includes coconut milk, onions, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, kefir lime leaves and tamarind that is added to the braised beef. The recipe was developed by a well-known television chef Tim Mälzer. LSG Group worked with a partner MK Mentor over a six-week period to develop the dish. MK Mentor specializes in events, catering and hotel food service. Over the years, it has taken food products into space and found ways to efficiently transport and store the products which endure up to 9gs of force on takeoff and cost somewhere in the neighborhood of €22,000 (US$25,800) per kilogram to store aboard the ISS. Maurer is the second astronaut to take LSG Group autoclaved meals into space. In 2018, the company developed a selection of meals for astronaut Alexander Gerst. The selection of dishes are vital to making the autoclaving process work, says Hofmann. Beef, such as tenderloin will dry out, however products like braised short ribs and rice are perfect for the process.

26  OCTOBER 2021

Bringing it around

Space and space travel is a hot headline these days. Billionaires are taking short trips into low orbit and recently a group of four people with no astronaut training circled the Earth several times. But back on the ground, airlines and the companies that supply them are still facing hardship. Processes are being evaluated and a new path forward is inevitable. Other needs are more market oriented. Airlines are increasingly relying to ancillary revenue and turning to companies like LSG Group for solutions. Already, the company has been selling shelf stable offerings as a buy on board product to some of the world’s largest carriers. A method of creating shelf-stable offerings in larger batches while retaining flavor and quality could allow producers to develop meals at lower costs. In other applications, Hofmann said autoclaving machines can operate automatically round the clock. With shelf-stable meals transported to the aircraft, there would be less demand for refrigerated trucks and — vitally important — much less possibility for the wastage issue that plagued airline catering for decades. The final equation is the possibility of autoclaving as an environmentally sustainable practice. Many companies are working on alternative materials to plastic now, said Hofmann, but material in the packaging could affect the shelf life of the product. Currently, the company’s Space Food is package in metal cans, per the requirements of the ISS. “We do not want to waste food. It is not in our interest,” says Hofmann. “I believe though the technology is proven I believe it is definitely an innovation and really could help. Especially in the current situation where we are all facing the same problems it could be a game changer.”



CRUISE REPORT The Norwegian Getaway sailing out of St. Thomas

Shaking off hardship As summer moved into fall, the number of cruise passengers in 2021 reached the seven-figure mark and lines were relaunching and planning big for 2022

T

by RICK LUNDSTROM

he breakneck growth of the cruise industry that was continuing unabated in 2019 may have run aground in the last year and a half, but as summer moved into fall some of the venerable ships of the industry’s major players were returning to itineraries in the Caribbean, Europe and Japan. And in 2022, one cruise line is planning something truly big. The lines have had more than a year to prepare for passengers still worried and uncomfortable with travel in any form – but the adventurous may have never stopped. In mid-September the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) reported that since the previous summer, approximately 1.2 million people have boarded cruise lines for trips in various parts of the world. The increase in interest and the desire to open the seas again prompted Celebrity Cruises to take out a two-page ad in the September 19 New York Times posing the simple question: “Isn’t it time?” The fall travel season promises

28  OCTOBER 2021

more choices following the September White House announcement to lift international travel restrictions starting November 19, 2021. Days after the announcement, CLIA said it appreciates the Biden Administration’s recognition of the importance of international travel to the U.S. economy. “The cruise industry is an important driver of international visits to the United States, prompting approximately 2.5 million international visitors to travel to the United States to embark on a cruise in 2019, representing nearly 18 percent of all U.S. cruise embarkations,” said the CLIA press release. CLIA says international cruise visitors in the United States spend US$4.5 billion annually on hotel stays, transportation, retail and other U.S. businesses, supporting nearly 60,000 American jobs. Cruise giant Carnival announced that in September and October the number of ships sailing again will total 15. In September, the Carnival Glory began operating out of New Orleans,

the Carnival Pride from Baltimore and the Carnival Dream from Galveston, Texas. In October three ships will be operating out of South Florida: the Carnival Conquest and Carnival Freedom will operate out of the Port of Miami, while the Carnival Elation will sail out of the Port Canaveral. Wrapping up the October launch is the Carnival Sensation out of Mobile, Alabama. “Our plan envisions successfully bringing back our entire fleet by the end of the year,” said Carnival President Christine Duffy, in the announcement of the ships’ launch. The onset of fall caught Norwegian Cruise Line in the middle of its Great Cruise Comeback and redeploying the Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Gateway in the Mediterranean. A third of the line’s 17 ships are now back in operation after a suspension of service for more than 500 days. The final three ships with names that honor the seafaring Dutch will be going into service in 2022 when the Noordam, Oosterdam and Westerdam of Holland America Line sail itineraries in Japan, the Mediterranean and Alaska. With ships calling in countries


The first passengers will look over the poolside scene on the Wonder of the Seas in March of next year

EXHIBITORS ANNOUNCED FOR CRUISE SHIP HOSPITALITY AND CRUISE SHIP INTERIORS EXPOS The Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo and Cruise Ship Interiors Expo is set to take place in Miami Beach October 28 to 29. Here is a preview of hospitality and interiors exhibitors: Mapei – Booth 255: The MAPEI Marine line products are developed through a process of research, with attention innovation, sustainability and the environment, to provide complete system solutions. MAPEI also specializes in other chemical products; waterproofing, mortars, grouts, concrete admixtures, repair products, decorative and protective exterior coatings. www.mapei.com Globaltext USA – Booth 609: Globaltex Fine Linens seeks to revolutionize the hospitality industry by supplying the very best cotton that Turkey and USA have to offer. www.globaltexusa.com VIKAND – Booth 530: VIKAND is a leading global maritime health solutions provider offering healthcare and air and surface decontamination solutions to the industry. Solutions encompass a full range of services, technologies, and products for the safety of crew and guests onboard cruise ships, yachts, and commercial vessels. www.vikand.com

around the world, the cruise industry faces much the same challenges as the airlines. They must negotiate a patchwork of regulations and that are specific to each country. In September, Carnival policy allowed adults and children under 12 travel unvaccinated. They are subject to pre-embarkation testing and testing before debarkation on cruises longer than four days. The test fee is US$150 per person. Norwegian Cruise Line requires all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated. Holland America Line also requires proof of vaccination upon boarding. But an industry that has spent decades seeking to outdo each other cannot sit still long and next year Royal Caribbean International will add an Oasis Class ship that promises to fill the bill, for now. In March, RCI will launch the Wonder of the Seas on itineraries out of Fort Lauderdale. Billed as the largest cruise ship in the world, the nearly 7,000 people the ship will accommodate will find themselves wandering through eight distinct “neighborhoods.” Waterslides, surf simulators, rock climbing walls and zip lines will entertain young and old and in the evenings a boardwalk inspired by Coney Island will take visitors to a dining spot known as Central Park.

Gojo – Booth 635: GoJo helps people experience greater health and wellness by leveraging 75 years of experience to introduce improved ways to keep hands, and the surfaces they frequently touch, clean. The clearest example of this commitment is our PURELL® brand – a badge of hand and surface hygiene that is trusted everywhere. www.gojo.com DEDON – Booth 319: DEDON furniture brings outdoor space to life for many of the world’s leading hospitality brands. From restaurant terraces to poolside lounges, exclusive spas to rooftop bars, far-flung beach clubs to the decks of luxury cruise ships, DEDON furniture helps to create unforgettable atmospheres keeping people coming back for more. www.dedon.de Florida Seating – Booth 211: Florida Seating, a Certified Woman Owned Business, is a leading supplier of commercial furniture to the restaurant, hospitality, and design industries. Committed to providing durable seating with the shortest possible lead time and at the most competitive price. Florida Seating works with awardwinning designers and strive to expand the furniture collection to meet the highest standards for sustainability, quality, and trends. www.floridaseating.com Creative Works – Booth 374: Entertainment options to keep guests engaged and help create amazing memories. Creative Works, helps create powerful emotions and memories through immersive attractions like virtual reality, escape rooms and laser tag. www.thewoweffect.com

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NOW SCREENING: THE RETURN TO TRAVEL


NEWS

AIRLINE

Aeroflot to upgrade IFEC on 777s Aeroflot has announced an agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation to provide upgraded IFEC solutions for its entire fleet of 777 aircraft. The agreement will see Aeroflot’s fleet of 777-300ER aircraft retrofitted with Panasonic Avionics’ eX3 IFE system and satellite-based IFC system. The system features full 1080p HD monitors, in-seat power, and HD video handsets with capacitive touch. It can deliver more than 700 hours of on-demand entertainment, offering 1080p content with enhanced video color support.

Aeroflot’s passengers will also be able to enjoy upgraded connectivity from Panasonic Avionics’ global communications network of high-speed, high-bandwidth satellites. The system delivers faster internet, video streaming, VoIP applications, mobile services, and dedicated bandwidth for crew applications. Panasonic Avionics will provide its eX3 IFE system and satellitebased IFC system on Aeroflot’s fleet of 777 aircraft

SUPPLIER

AERQ and ABOVE team up on seamless on media content supply chain AERQ and ABOVE, a media processing and distribution platform, have collaborated to automate the media content supply chain for commercial aviation in the cloud, foreseen to be available Q4 2023/Q1 2024. In this collaboration ABOVE will focus on media file encoding, metadata generation, DRM protection and watermarking. AERQ develops automated, cloud-based, fast system integration workflows that allow customers

34  OCTOBER 2021

to quality check proper CMS integration in the cloud – and spare them that extra trip to the system rack. In addition to optimized workflows and savings up to 10 times, the parties aim to provide transparency and control to airlines unlocking the whole potential of the end-to-end media journey. Airlines will be able to integrate existing media and ancillary revenue partners such as content service providers.



NEWS

AIRLINE

Burrana powers up start-up airline in Hong Kong Burrana has been awarded a contract from Hong Kong-based start-up carrier Greater Bay Airlines (GBA) for the supply of in-seat USB cabin power on its 737-800 fleet, Burrana’s RISE USB Power. GBA has applied to operate to a total of 104 destinations across the region, including Chinese Mainland, North Asia, Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.

Critical to Greater Bay’s selection is Burrana’s ability to offer an easy installation with a lightweight system. “Our ability to meet an aggressive modification timeline of fewer than six months was key for GBA to comply with EASA certification to be able to start commercial operations in early October 2021,” said Ryo Lee, Director Asia Pacific at Burrana.

SUPPLIER

Recaro makes moves with new complex and shipset orders from two airlines Recaro Aircraft Seating celebrated its new building complex September 13 with an exclusive inauguration in Schwaebisch Hall, Germany. The €50million (US$59 million) investment was designed with a KfW-Effizienzhaus 55 standard and was constructed with sustainable materials. From energyefficient solar shades to district heating integration, the new facility was built to improve the end-use of energy and be a resource-saving future during operations. The seating company has also announced that Air China will be the launch customer for its new CL6720 seat with an order of 10 shipsets for its A350 aircraft. First unveiled in 2020, The CL6720 is designed to enhance the travel experience with additional privacy features and

increased living space. With the lightweight structure, combined with an efficient seat configuration, the CL6720 can save airlines thousands in fuel costs and help reduce their carbon footprint. And, Recaro has equipped Qatar Airways with the CL3810 Economy Class seat. Starting at the end of 2022, 20 shipsets of the seat will be installed on the A321neo fleet. Qatar Airways is one of the first airlines to select the CL3810, which was unveiled in 2020. The customized seat features offer a wider backrest for increased comfort and privacy, as well as a six-way headrest with adjustable neck support feature, a signature of Recaro seats.

Air China is the launch customer for the CL6720 Business Class Seat

36  OCTOBER 2021


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IFE

Cathay Pacific has four A321neo flying with 4K resolution throughout the aircraft

THE NEXT TURN Over the summer, a cabin full of 4K IFE screens on Cathay Pacific Airways marked a first in the industry, and it holds the promise for many more to follow

L

by RICK LUNDSTROM

ike any other part of cabin service, inflight entertainment has a history of innovation, trial and error and breakthroughs that become part of the saga of air travel. History says that the first inflight movie was called Howdy Chicago! and was shown on Aeromarine Airways in 1921. However, it wasn’t until the early 1960s that someone developed a 16-millimeter projector that was safe enough to

Simon Cuthbert, Entertainment, Platforms and Connectivity Manager – Customer Experience Design at Cathay Pacific

38  OCTOBER 2021

be used in an aircraft. Like anything in everyday life that has been adapted for an aircraft cabin, bringing aboard movies was harder than it appeared. Plenty of milestones in IFE evolution have happened since then, and this a fortunate time in that a lot of them are happening within a much shorter period. Where the first flight of an aircraft cabin fully fitted with 4K screens will fit into that history is yet to be written. But the milestone was achieved in early August on an A321neo operated by Cathay Pacific Airways. Even though the cabin fully equipped with 4K is an industry first, people are quick to point out that the technology and capability have been in the works for several years and marketed aggressively to the airlines. The platform flying in August was the Panasonic NEXT system. On the A321neo, passengers in Economy Class are sampling entertainment on an 11.6-inch screen and in Business Class on a 15.6-inch screen. Panasonic and Cathay Pacific have been working together, outfitting the

airline’s fleet with IFE since 2007. Cathay Pacific was also the launch customer for the company’s live television product that debuted in 2016, and Panasonic IFE is on more than 130 Cathay Pacific aircraft. The timeline to the summer launch of 4K screens began three years ago with the development of software and hardware capabilities to support evolving studio requirements, including compliance to APEX specifications. “The journey continues, and Panasonic Avionics is working to obtain additional content approvals, including major Hollywood studios,” says Andrew Masson, Vice President Product and Portfolio Management at Panasonic Avionics. Simon Cuthbert, Cathay Pacific’s Manager of Entertainment, Platforms and Connectivity – Customer Experience Design tells PAX Tech that the airline is currently flying four A321neos linefit with 4K IFE on routes from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai Pudong and Taipei. He says the airline is showing “big scale” action movies and nature programming


The RAVE Ultra system from Safran Passenger Innovations

The RISE overhead system from Burrana

with 10 movies and 10 television shows in the highest definition. Cathay Pacific has also produced a short miniseries in 4K about travel from Hong Kong to various locations around Asia. “This is a modest start that we plan to expand as we get more aircraft equipped with 4K screens in the air as passenger numbers increase,” he says. Offering 4K on aircraft that fly shorter routes helps the airline send the message that the quality of its IFE content is consistent and available to passengers in all classes when they are transferring through Hong Kong on a long- or short-haul trip. “The huge content set, 4K hardware, and Bluetooth headphone pairing ensures our passengers can enjoy their inflight entertainment experience to the fullest extent,” he says. The breadth of the color gamut and the contrast ratios that consumers see all the time in the latest iPad, desktop computer screen or the television in their living rooms have significantly improved over the last few years. One IFE provider that makes use of the off-the-shelf technology in its

seat-centric RAVE system is Safran Passenger Innovations. The company is now taking orders and delivering the next generation IFE system called RAVE Ultra. The newest generation will begin flying in early in the fourth quarter of 2021 and more rollouts are happening month by month this year. Jared Siqueland, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Safran says the company offers monitors in 4K resolution from 13.3 inches all the way up to 43 inches for a First Class suite. However, Siqueland says that hardware is only one part of the equation. He adds that on a standard RAVE system at a video resolution of 720 pixels can be as good as a 4K video at a fraction of the cost and file size. At the last APEX event in 2019, the company did a side-by-side test with the same video at pixel counts at 480, 720, 1080 and 4K. “Most attendees were not able to pick the 4K video over the 720 and 1080 videos,” Siqueland says. In addition to the greater cost, there is still a shortage of content in the 4K realm available for airlines,

many of which feature hundreds and even thousands of hours of video entertainment. Companies like Safran Passenger Innovations monitor production in Hollywood and elsewhere to keep track of available content. Siqueland says there is no one-size-fits all answer to whether breakthroughs like the 4K cabin pave the way for other adopters. “Some customers want to protect their ability to have 4K in the future. However, the hardware is only one aspect of this and such things as the cost of 4K content will temper the true use of 4K for a bit,” he adds. The seatback component of the RISE platform from cabin systems provider Burrana will, in the future be developed for 4K. When that happens it will match the company’s overhead screen which now has the capability. “Our company vision is to continuously innovate and design customercentric, cost-effective, superior-quality cabin technologies and IFE solutions for airlines,” says David Pook, Vice President of Marketing and Sales Support at Burrana. “To this end we will support the enablement of new technologies that significantly enhance the passenger experience at highly competitive prices. Offering 4K delivers on this.” The RISE overhead system can present videos and three-dimensional maps in 4K resolution. To do so requires only one-to-two simultaneous streams, said Pook. The platform supports up to 16 terabytes of content storage which he says gives it more than enough capacity to support 4K video. While acknowledging that 4K panels will use more power than a high-definition screen, Pook said they would still be more efficient than the previous generation HD monitor. Burrana’s ultra-thin retract monitors measure 13.3 inches diagonally and now deliver crisp resolution in HDR that allows passengers to see a clear picture from anywhere in the cabin. The displays are manufactured with anti-glare coating. The company is aiming to make its next generation of displays the most reliable in the industry. Pook said the mean time between failures (MTBF) on RISE is targeted to be 35 percent longer than previous generations. PAX-INTL.COM

39


IFE

Selling the experience

The Avant Up system from Thales will be available for linefit in 2023

Thales InFlyt Experience heads into this fall with a new entertainment solution in its Avant Up system with improved displays, power supply and revenue opportunities for airline customers

W

by RICK LUNDSTROM

ith air travel opening up people and again fly internationally in greater numbers, the need for airlines to update inflight offerings with rapidly changing technology will mean greater demand for new products; and companies like Thales are ready and waiting for tenders and RFP’s to again roll in. And the company also is waiting for customers that want to improve the passenger experience with a new end-to-end IFE product called Avant Up that has been generating interest since the announcement of its development at the end of June. “For the last several months we have been doing a lot of targeted demonstrations with our customers, whether it

40  OCTOBER 2021

is at their locations or in Irvine,” said Cedric Rhoads, Vice President Product Policy, Thales InFlyt Experience. The company is busy educating potential airline customers about the benefits of the comprehensive solution that brings together partners such as HARMAN, a Samsung Company for their Optiq, 4K, QLED high dynamic range (HDR) displays that are part of the package. Passengers will also be able to easily pair the system with their own PED through the two Bluetooth connections. Weight can be cut by nearly a third while Thales says reliability increases by 50 percent. Another feature is the Pulse power management system, which also decreases weight by approximately 30 percent. Thales has built in

improvements that gives Pulse more power per passenger, dynamic power load balancing, significantly reduced size, improved seat integration and reduced operational costs. With the digital services platform, users can work with a wide network of partners on interactive entertainment options, e-commerce and advertising opportunities. The company has not forgotten the need for a touchless experience and passengers can access the features of Avant Up through their mobile phones. “We are really working hard to hit all the value points for the customers,” says Cedric Rhoads. “Whether it is improved reliability or lower total cost of ownership, but more specifically a really stellar passenger experience.” The Avant Up system will be available for line fit in early 2023. However, Rhoads says “our airline customers are just starting to wake up again in terms of putting out RFPs so we definitely have some opportunities in pipeline right now.” Thales currently has Thales embedded IFE is currently flying on 650 aircraft on 33 airlines.


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IFE

Evolving entertainment Global Inflight Products is adapting to trends in inflight headsets with its latest line of soothing sound products by JANE HOBSON

P

assenger experience is critical to the success of any airline. Airlines must deliver a flawless, quality inflight experience for each and every passenger. And, to do so, they must stay abreast of consumer trends that are important to their passengers. “Style, sound and comfort are timeless trends in the airline industry,” says Lisa Benzaoui, Chief Executive Officer at Global Inflight Products (GIP). “New technologies make the industry exciting. Airlines must stay competitive by developing new, unique ways to surprise and delight their passengers.” Through the decades, GIP has seen inflight headsets transition from pneumatic to lightweight wire headbands, ear clips, silicon ear buds, noise reduction and, in more recent years, noise cancellation headsets. GIP is highlighting a newly enhanced line of earbuds in a modern silicon model that provides a comfortable fit for the passenger. “The demand for excellent sound quality has always been very important and GIP consistently works to enhance current headset models with new sound technology,” Benzaoui says. Many airlines are moving toward earbuds in lieu of heavier headbands as they present a lighter, more modern look

42  OCTOBER 2021

and require less packaging, Benzaoui says, adding that this helps make the airline’s onboard product offering more environmentally friendly. Specifically in Economy Class, earbuds in eye-catching colors are in demand, she says. Meanwhile in First and Business Class, the focus is on creating a relaxing, upscale environment with soothing music to help set the tone. This is where noise reduction headsets that fully encompass the ears are most popular. Airlines tend to upgrade the headband earcup cover from foam to faux leather, transforming the headset into a more luxurious looking product with more comfortability. “Both comfort and appearance are extremely important – especially since passengers are now used to the latest technology in headsets for the personal use,” she explains. The headsets are ideal for fee-based programs. “In relation to cost, the sound quality of our headphones is phenomenal. We encourage our customers to compare our headsets with higher-end, brand-name products on the market by listening to classical music so they can hear each and every note,” Benzaoui says. GIP headsets are available in varying colors to match airline cabin colors

GIP offers a range of high-quality inflight headsets, including earbuds and noise reduction styles

and branding, or to delight children with a fun color. The noise reduction headphones are fully customizable to any color or logo imprint, adding to the passenger’s premium experience. All headset models including matching soft or hard-shell cases, which can also be customized with printed or embossed logo.

Benzaoui retires from GIP

GIP tells PAX Tech that Lisa Benzaoui is retiring from her position as CEO at the company after nearly two decades. The GIP team says they are incredibly grateful for her dedication and leadership in the past 16 years and express that she will be truly missed.


PROFILE

ONE-STOP SHOP ABC International has positioned itself as more than a cabin branding specialist, with a new Chief Commercial Officer at its head by JANE HOBSON

Rodolfo Baldascino, Chief Commercial Officer at ABC International

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aving one company operate all services an airline needs goes beyond basic convenience. It brings resourcefulness and collaboration, not to mention helps reduce issues with interruptions in supply chain which have been exacerbated by COVID. But even before the onset of the pandemic, ABC International began to pivot from exclusively a cabin branding specialist to become a global player in the world of cabin interior and refurbishment services. Established in Naples, Italy in 2008, the company began with a major focus on the strategic importance of cabin branding and its effect on passenger retention for its airline customers. As the airlines became more successful and passenger expectations evolved, ABC embraced the realization that differentiation in the marketplace would give it the competitive edge needed to succeed.

Now ABC is bringing a range of interiors products and services to the market, with a new Chief Commercial Officer at the lead. Rodolfo Baldascino joined the company in October 2021, previously holding the position of Marketing & Sales Manager at GEVEN SpA. “During our branding elements discussions, we receive additional requests to complete the cabin customization in line with the brand identity strategy,” Baldascino tells PAX Tech. This makes us not only aware of the unlimited opportunities in the cabin refurbishment market but also of the daily challenges that airlines professionals are facing to maintain a high-quality cabin standard and find ‘off the shelf ’ solutions.” Operating as a one-stop shop, ABC provides quick turnaround and turnkey solutions for airlines, MROs and lessors by including EASA minor mod approval, design, certification and production. The company supplies curtains, carpet and seat cover kits efficiently from its warehouse, and produces bespoke cabin interiors parts such as windscreens, class dividers and closets in a timely and cost-efficient manner by relying on its network of suppliers and DO-PO agreements. With 21J privileges, it can approve new LOPA (layout of passenger accommodations), PSU (passenger service unit) rearrangement and installation of provided parts.

Recently, Baldascino says, three Movable Class Dividers for an A320 were ready in 60 days. A320 or 737 curtain kits can be delivered in 14 days including production, form one and change approval; an A330 can be ready in 21; and a few more days are needed for a complete carpet kit. “Our clients tell us what they need in the cabin, and we deliver the readyto-install solutions, saving them the stress of sourcing parts and handling several suppliers at once,” he explains. ABC has opened a new office in Dublin to support its growth. The engineering department operates under distinct divisions including R&D, design, approval and certification. Here, specialists manage tailor-made products along mandatory engineering milestones: initial design review, design freeze, production and certification, first article inspection and installation. “Every single department of our organization plays a specific role in each project,” says Baldascino. “The skills and background of our people deeply come from both airlines and aviation industry. We have a deep awareness of the business model process of airlines, MRO and leasing companies, thus we know where and what to offer to them across their value chain to bring a simple but concrete contribution to their added value creation.” PAX-INTL.COM

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ASSOCIATION NEWS The Biden Administration has made the decision to allow vaccinated travelers to enter the US, beginning in early November

Land of opportunity APEX and IATA have responded to the United States announcement on easing border provisions for vaccinated travelers come November by JANE HOBSON

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fter nearly 19 months of closed borders and advocacy by industry associations, the Biden Administration announced in mid-September that the country will allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter starting in November. The White House decision to open the borders allows fully vaccinated travelers from 33 previously barred countries to enter, including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe. These travelers must have a negative COVID-19 test result before travel. The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) called on U.S. President Joe Biden to end the traveler blockade in a mid-August letter. APEX cited that refusing entry to fully vaccinated travelers goes directly against Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance, which says fully vaccinated people can travel safely within the United States. APEX continued working closely with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and White House COVID-19 Coordinator Jeffrey Zients to move the needle on the issue. APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader tells PAX International the decision benefits travel worldwide. “We have a bar being set across multiple nations that vaccination is required for travel,” he says.

44  OCTOBER 2021

Now airlines face the challenge of ramping up to support the demand. “Millions retired during COVID-19 without an interest to return to work. Some lost jobs and moved to other sectors. Unfortunately, rising labor costs may trigger catering costs to increase. That’s the last element expected as an impact of COVID-19, the need to broadly increase pay and bonuses,” Leader says, referencing a recent Delta SkyClubs US $2,000 signing bonus advertisement. “When our industry needs more workers, we take the economic steps to find them. Eventually, these higher costs may appear in lounge fees and tickets, but that will be in time. Right now, we simply need to focus on getting airport and airline service levels to what our passengers expect.” The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released a statement on the decision, calling it a major step forward. “This is excellent news for families and loved ones who have suffered through the heartache and loneliness of separation. It’s good for the millions of livelihoods in the US that depend on global tourism. And it will boost the economic recovery by enabling some key business travel markets,” said Willie

Walsh, Director General at IATA. Walsh says those who do not have access to vaccines must also be considered, adding that testing is a solution backed by data. “We must get back to a situation where the freedom to travel is available to all,” said Walsh. Airlines have expressed a welcome response to the easing of entry provisions. SWISS International Air Lines released a statement September 21 saying it is already seeing an increase in demand for leisure and business travel. “North America is the most important air travel market of all for Swiss International Air Lines,” said the release. While still operating at lower capacities, SWISS has restored its route network to cover more than 90 percent of the destinations it was serving from Zurich and Geneva in 2019. “We warmly welcome the easing of the US entry provisions that have recently been communicated,” said SWISS CCO Tamur Goudarzi Pour. The airline has expanded its lounge offer at Zurich Airport and offers flexible rebooking provisions and status extensions. There are testing facilities at Zurich and Geneva airports, as has been the case to date.


EVENTS

Meeting in Miami The Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo and Cruise Ship Interiors Expo is set to take place in Miami Beach October 28 to 29 by JANE HOBSON

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he Miami Beach Convention Center in Florida is due to host two co-located shows this month that will bring together the entire cruise hospitality sector. From October 28 to 29, the Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo (CSH) and Cruise Ship Interiors Expo (CSI) will cover everything from galley, F&B, guest experience, restaurant, hotel operations, health and hygiene, interiors, tech and more. The two-day event is composed of an exhibition, conference, and networking opportunities. It marks the first-ever CSH Expo America, previously launched in 2019 as the Marine Catering Expo. CSI Expo America also debuted in 2019. “Cruise line buyers, operations directors and decision-makers will reunite with their peers, customers and clients in addition to meeting fresh and exciting new-to-cruise faces,” says Toby Walters, Chief Executive Officer at Elite Exhibitions, the organizer behind the events. The show will kick off with the reunion party, followed by networking, industry insights and innovative product launches. Speakers feature representatives from Virgin Voyages, Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Tomas Tillberg Design, Cradle to Cradle,

MSC Cruises, and Vikand Solutions. The agenda is stacked, including Cruise Conversations Live and the popular Happy Hour at the end of day one. Cruise Conversations Live is a conference with industry leaders across the hospitality and interiors sectors. Discussion topics include innovations for the digital customer experience; the future of hospitality and service design; design leadership: we are one cruise industry; and, F&B wellness trends. Despite being unable to meet in person throughout 2020, both expos

shared industry news, launched the successful Cruise Conversations webinar series, and hosted a virtual event, Walters says, adding that now, organizers cannot wait to reunite the industry. “The caliber of our visitors is unmatched – attending CSH and CSI is one of the only ways you can meet the entire cruise ship hospitality and interiors supply chains, all in two days,” he tells PAX. Registration for both shows is now open.

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EVENTS

VIVA LAS VEGAS The industry is set to meet in Las Vegas for FTE Global this December 7 to 9

Future Travel Experience Founder and CEO Daniel Coleman gives an update on the what to expect at FTE Global coming up in December, which marks the 15th anniversary of the event

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he December 7 to 9 Future Travel Experience (FTE) Global show in Las Vegas marks the 15th anniversary of the event. And, to top it off, the Biden administration announced in late-September the easing of restrictions for travelers from the UK, EU and international other locations. Just days following the US announcement, PAX Tech spoke with Daniel Coleman, Founder and CEO of FTE, about how these developments are shaping up to make FTE Global a memorable aviation experience. “Las Vegas is where it all began for us. Everybody there has a real purpose, and passion for innovation, which we are really proud to facilitate. We’re extremely happy that we would be able to celebrate our 15th anniversary show with our partners, colleagues and friends from across the industry,” he tells PAX. Fifteen years ago, the show began with a focus on check-in kiosks at the airport. Over time, it became known for its emphasis on the on the end-to-end passenger experience. In the past five years, FTE Global has grown to have a “very unique ‘future’ focus,” highlighting the innovation efforts inside

46  OCTOBER 2021

and outside the industry, revealing what can be leveraged when pushing the boundaries of technology, design and collaboration, Coleman says. The theme of FTE Global 2021 is ‘New approaches for a new world.’ “The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the digital transformation, automation and innovation efforts of the travel sector,” he says. “There is a window here to reimagine how the air transport industry operates, taking advantage of the momentum of collaboration across departments and between stakeholders.” Hosted in a city billed as the entertainment capital of the world, the expo will provide progressive insights from industry leaders, technology giants, disruptors, parallel industries, academia and startups. Attendees will have access to the exhibition, networking events, co-creation workshops, tours, TSA and US CBP briefings, Think Tank unveilings and startup showcases. The show is expected to gather close to 1,000 executives. Some of the speakers include Matt Muta, Vice President Innovation, Delta Air Lines; Michael Leskinen, President, United Airlines Ventures & Vice President of Corporate Development and Investor Relations,

United Airlines; and Dr. Bjoern Becker, Head of Future Intercontinental Experience Program, Lufthansa. There are 50 confirmed exhibitors, with many more expected to join as the date approaches – especially with eased border restrictions, Coleman says. FTE Global will feature unique conference tracks, such as ‘Future Airports’ with sessions on how airports should look and operate in the postCOVID-19 world. The new ‘FTE Air MobilityX Summit’ will help stakeholders understand the latest developments in this space and how they should adapt their strategies, infrastructure and systems to take advantage of the major change in transportation. There will be interactive workshops on topics from virtual queuing and mobility of the future to establishing hyperloop pilot projects and cybersecurity mitigation strategies. McCarran International Airport and the TSA will jointly lead guided tours and deliver briefings on the iteration of the future security checkpoint site at LAS. The US CBP will lead technical workshops on the best approaches to rolling out a biometrics program. Pre- and post-show webinars will be available online for free to look at future industry trends beforehand and further into some of the key topics from the event. Partners for the event include the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), the FTE Advisory Board and host McCarran International Airport.


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WHAT’S HOT

What’s Hot!  Alizé Foaming Hand Soap – PSA & The Calling Snack Pack – Monty’s Bakehouse: Launched in September, the freeze-thaw design of the Snack Pack locks in freshness. Crew thaw the Snack Pack before loading it onto the aircraft so it is ready to serve. Each box is made using bio-degradable, compostable paperboard. Available in four flavors. www.montysbakehouse.co.uk

ton Group: Extra soft, biodegradable hand soap is formulated to carefully cleanse skin, leaving a light citrus scent. Formulated with plant-derived ingredients and dermatologically tested. Free of the following: EDTA, PEG compounds, palm oil, BHT, SLES, Siloxane, coal tar dyes or ethanolamine compounds, formaldehyde and parabens. www.callington.com

 SnackPochetta – ELAG Group: Place sandwiches, rolls and wraps directly inside this snack packaging with included napkin for better hygiene since crew does not touch napkin or snack. Can be customized and is available in three formats to cater to all sandwich-types. Can be ordered to open on two sides or top only. Reduces napkin waste and prevents leakage while eating. www.elagaustralia.com

 Ambient and frozen cakes and muffins – Snackbox To Go: Muffins and cakes produced with the finest ingredients. A six-month ambient life. Packed in a simple flow-wrap or boxed. www.snackboxtogo.com

 Plastic-Free Disposable Razor – The Bamboovement: Bamboovement calls this the world’s first and only 100 percent plastic-free disposable razor. With bamboo handle and a bio-composite cartridge, it holds three high-quality blades for a smooth shave and comes in plastic-free packaging. Available for amenity kit. www.thebamboovement.com

48  OCTOBER 2021


WHAT’S HOT

 Healthy Lav – Interna-

 Lilac-UV – Collins Aerospace: Ultraviolet light solution Lilac-UV disinfects and sanitizes in seconds to minutes, depending on lamp configuration and specific pathogen. Can be applied in lavatories, galleys, flight decks, cargo bays and throughout the cabin, or used for scheduled cleanings or manual application between flights. Uses technology developed by The Boeing Company. www.collinsaerospace.com

tional Water-Guard: Healthy Lav brings touchless disinfection technology to airlines and business jet lavatories. Suitable for line-fit and aftermarket, the product range includes a touchless faucet, flush, trash, soap dispenser, LED UV water disinfection unit and water heater. Designed to effectively increase lavatory hygiene and inspire passenger confidence. www.water. aero.com

 Inplay Suite – IdeaNova Technologies: Inplay Suite is an affordable and attractive solution that uses a single gateway to secure streaming. Inplay Suite is suitable for playback on passenger devices and seatback monitors. Inplay’s chat function allows for a social aspect of flying and a seamless transition from a text chat to a video chat - and even to a web conference meeting. www.ideanovatech.com.

 OneFi – Inmarsat: The OneFi customer experience platform helps airlines monetize inflight connectivity by bringing several onboard services together within a single portal interface. Passengers can access OneFi from their personal devices to order F&B, purchase seat upgrades, get flight and destination info, sign up for frequent flyer programs, browse the internet, stream audio and video, shop and more. www.inmarsat.com

 Kleerdex Custom Translucent – SEKISUI KYDEX: Kleerdex is a fully compliant, decorative translucent thermoplastic. Twelve texture options available. Colors can be mixed and matched to increase intensity or create custom color. Digital imagery can be added. Using KYDEX® FST CLR, Kleerdex meets the strict requirements for fire, smoke and toxicity and is chemical resistant. www.kydex.com

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