for the future
FORMIA is proud to celebrate two decades of creating exclusive, premium airline amenities with increased value creation and sustainability at the forefront.
A huge thank you to our entire ecosphere of customers, partners and our people for the continued support as we look forward to curating meaningful concepts and experiences for passengers for years to come.
FORMIA would be delighted to welcome you to our stand at the APEX expo 2022. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Mississauga, Ontario Canada
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Rick Lundstrom, Editor-in-Chief
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Jane Hobson, Managing Editor
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Tel: (1 416) 822-1758
Ash Khan, Social Media Coordinator
CONTRIBUTORSMary Jane Pittilla
Jessica Hearn, Art Director
PAX International and PAX Tech are published a total of 10 times a year by PAX International, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. International Distribution.
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The last word
As is usually the case, the Editor’s Letter in our magazine is the last assignment that is written, and this fall it was no different for PAX Tech
For 25 years, I’ve generally avoided personal opinions, opting instead to hunt for the most recent bit of news or research, and build up the facts with some context or thoughts.
This time, I am the news.
After I leave this year’s October APEX EXPO I’ll be also leaving PAX Tech and moving into retirement.
In Long Beach, attendees will have the opportunity to meet Stephanie Philp, the publication’s new Editor. She’ll be working alongside our Managing Editor Jane Hobson.
As I step away from the job, I’m happy to see that the resilient industry that was battered by 9/11, epidemics and financial crisis is snapping back. That we’ve survived them all is a tribute to our Publisher Aijaz Khan, who could have said at any time that the headwinds were too strong.
There have been editors, writers and ad salespeople who have passed through the company for 25 years. They were colleagues and friends whose talent and contribu tions kept the magazine fresh and challenged me to match their enthusiasm.
It’s no different with the current group who have hung with us through the pandemic. Jane, now also managing our Travel Retail title, will be helping Stephanie transition into the job. Jessica Hearn will continue to provide the clean, professional look you see in the magazine’s design. Ash Khan will handle social media and other duties. You’ll see bylines from Mary Jane Pittilla, former Editor Rachel Debling and Jeremy Clark, Our Man in Asia.
For the immediate future my plans are few. Pastimes and house projects will be taking up much of my day. I’d be happy to hear from any of you. May the New Year to come bring you happiness and health.
A word from Publisher Aijaz Khan
We are so grateful to have had Rick’s support for the magazines and the industry for the last 25 years. We consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have had you, Rick. We will miss you very much, but we wish you a relaxing and fulfilling retirement filled with much joy and peace.
Publisher, PAX Tech
Boeing, Geven and Ethiopian partner on new venture
In Addis Ababa, a new insulation blankets manufacturing facility marks a major outcome from a recent partnership between The Boeing Company, Geven-SkyTecno and Ethiopian Airlines.
The partnership, entitled “Ethiopian Sky Technologies,” will focus on crafting products tailor-made for 737s.
CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group Mesfin Tasew said in a recent press release that he is “keen to expand the scope of activities to other aerospace products to the mutual benefit of all parties.”
The joint venture will help realize Ethiopian Airlines’ vision to develop the aerospace manufacturing industry in Ethiopia while also enhancing international trade connections. “We can leverage this capability and experience to further develop our aerospace manufacturing capability and eventually make it one of the key strategic business units of the airline,” Tasew said.
Managing Director of Geven-SkyTecno Alberto Veneruso noted that SkyTecno will provide a team of highly trained technical engineers and hold responsibility for qualification processes.
“Our manufacturing excellence combined with our expertise in process technology, industrial efficiency and world-class distribution capabilities will provide our custom ers with best-in-class insulation solutions,” he said.
The primary manufacturing facility is at Bole Airport, where products will be made in a multicultural environment. As outlined in the commitments of each party, Ethiopian Airlines and SkyTecno are manufacturing products in Ethiopia and Italy as suppliers to The Boeing Company.
The joint venture will help realize Ethiopian Airlines’ vision to develop the aerospace manufacturing industry in Ethiopia while also enhancing international trade connections
Stellar’s MD looks back at turbulent two years
Stellar Entertainment’s latest contract wins are with major flag carriers in the Asia-Pacific region, including Thai Airways, Philippine Airlines, and two Australian airlines.
For the past two years, Stellar Managing Director Sam Allen has faced the daunting job of navigating the most challenging environment in aviation history. As an inflight entertainment specialist, Stellar had to move quickly and renegotiate content agreements to give airlines much needed relief.
“Looking back now, this difficult period highlights Stellar’s resilience and strengths which included giving our airline clients the flexibility they needed during times of low flight levels and grounded fleets,” said Allen.
Since steering the company, Allen was able to retain his entire IFE team, avoiding redundancies, and therefore providing consistent expertise and support throughout the pandemic. This allowed Stellar to design tailored IFE solutions for the airline’s specific needs instead of off-theshelf products.
Allen added, “We also maintained excellent relationships with Hollywood and all our international content partners, enabling us to advocate on behalf of our clients and explain their unique circumstances to Hollywood.”
With the recent addition of Ricky Jardine to the manage ment team, the company says it further strengthen its capabilities and market position.
IdeaNova launches Inplay Content Loader
IdeaNova Technologies has officially launched its Inplay Content Loader, a system that perfects the way videos, audio and other content is uploaded to aircraft.
“With content upload frequency and content quality demands growing, airlines and IFE providers have been looking for ways to make the upload process faster and more efficient,” said a release from the company. “Inplay Content Loader is designed to respond to this need by dramatically improving the content upload process.”
The new product has several unique features that simplify aircraft content delivery. It is capable of transferring a portion of the content library and retransmitting only the remaining portion whenever connectivity to the aircraft server becomes available.
“We have seen a 10-fold or even higher change of speed when engaging the right transport protocol,” said Juraj Siska, IdeaNova Technologies CEO. “There’s also a significant discrepancy between various versions of USB transfer when used in the traditional ‘sneekernet’ configuration. Our new product allows usage of all types of connectivity to maximize throughput. We even work with laser assisted LiFi technology that provides very promising speeds and convenient content transfer.”
When packaged with Inplay content processing tools such as content packager or IdeaNova cloud platform, the product becomes an invaluable
component for all modern aircraft operations or airlines that are looking to reduce cost and improve efficiency of aircraft content maintenance.
“It’s no longer acceptable to refresh content quarterly when there are many new sources of entertainment available. This might be content from the traditional providers such as studios or even user generated content in the form of popular YouTube or TikTok videos,” said the IdeaNova release. “The traditional standard definition content is quickly being replaced with high definition or even 4K/HDR content. Content volumes are much larger, taxing inefficient upload processes, creating a new hurdle for airlines and IFE providers.”
The new product has several unique features that simplify aircraft content delivery
Online learning part of Anuvu’s new content
Anuvu has entered into a strategic partnership with Skillshare, the world’s largest online learning community to distribute the platform’s content across maritime and aviation markets.
The partnership, which excludes U.S.-based airlines, offers travelers access to exclusive online learning resources beyond the streaming video on demand (SVOD) platform’s paywall. For the maritime market, specifically, Anuvu’s partnership with Skillshare brings crews educational opportunities while at sea for extended periods of time.
Travelers and crew can access Skillshare’s online learning content and community spanning topics ranging from lifestyle, entrepreneurship and personal development to creative writing and branding.
“Passengers today have a different set of priorities than in
the past,” said Anuvu Senior Vice President Media and Content Estibaliz Asiain. “There is a growing desire to blend work and leisure when traveling, creating a strong demand for learning content.”
Skillshare members get unlimited access to thousands of inspiring classes taught by industry leaders and working professionals, on topics including illustration, design, photography, and more. The partnership is a crucial next step in Anuvu’s strategy to transform the media and content industry across the global mobility market.
“At Skillshare we know creativity can be a source for good and growth in peoples’ lives, and we look forward to partnering with Anuvu to help drive that creative spark in all travelers,” said Scott Sullivan, Skillshare Director of Brand Partnerships and Business Development.
Up close and personalized
Through IFE, Panasonic Avionics is showcasing its approach to developing products and services that drive revenue and passenger engagementby MARY JANE PITTILLA
Panasonic Avionics unveiled what it dubs “the future of airline passenger engagement” with the launch of its new IFE seat-end system: Astrova.
Introduced at AIX in Hamburg this year, Astrova seeks to demonstrate the company’s new approach to the market and its mindset in developing products and services to help airlines drive higher net promoter scores (NPS), enhance
passenger engagement, boost revenue and deliver operational efficiencies through IFE. It uses the latest consumer innova tions to deliver unique passenger experiences that help carriers achieve their business goals, the company tells PAX Tech.
Astrova was created to redefine the role of seatback IFE and reinforces its position as a prime opportunity for airlines to engage with passengers. Because the average flight is five hours, in-seat IFE offers a much longer dwell time than airline apps and other marketing channels. Astrova has been designed to provide “significantly” more opportunities to immerse passengers in an airline’s brand experience for both single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft, according to Panasonic Avionics.
The solution is described as a seamless blend of newly developed hardware, software and enterprise solutions that aim to revolutionize the inflight entertainment experience. It lets airlines quickly and easily optimize the seatback experi ence to their individual commercial objectives, transforming the in-seat system into a highly valuable, flexible and easily configured passenger experience that caters to the personal and business needs of travelers each time they board an aircraft.
Cinema-grade 4K OLED screens
Onboard Astrova-equipped aircraft, every passenger immerses themselves in cinema-grade 4K OLED screens with high dynamic range (HDR). Passengers also enjoy high fidelity audio through traditional wired connections or via Panasonic Avionics’ Bluetooth technology. By seamlessly interfacing their personal devices to the IFE system, passengers can create a multi-screen, multi-purpose environment which they are accustomed to at home.
As an industry first, Astrova will provide a dedicated 67W of USB-C power to fast-charge pas senger devices including notebooks and laptops.
Panasonic Avionics’ newest IFE seat-end solution also features programmable LED lighting that enhances passenger experience and enables airlines to optimize the cabin environ ment. Airlines can easily change the lighting to complement various phases of flight like the food and beverage service. Travelers also have the option to customize the lighting experience according to their own personal preference.
Designed with modularity, scalability and flexibility as a priority, Astrova seeks to address the needs of modern airlines operating in a fast-changing market. Key hardware and soft ware components can evolve over time to meet changing mar ket requirements and satisfy ever-increasing passenger expecta tions. For example, a removable peripheral bar gives airlines the ability to easily add, upgrade or remove features such as USB power, Bluetooth audio and other options. It is also designed to be backward-compatible with other Panasonic Avionics’
systems such as eX1, eX3 and NEXT, enabling operational commonality in areas such as media loading, spares and repairs for some line replaceable units, and cabin crew operations.
To assist airlines in meeting sustainability goals, Astrova offers significant weight savings compared to other seat-end architectures. This will reduce fuel burn and help meet the airline industry’s climate goals.
To demonstrate Astrova’s industrial design, ease of instal lation and an improved passenger experience, Panasonic Avionics partnered with Recaro Aircraft Seating, combining Astrova with Recaro’s CL3810 Economy Class seat.
The seamless integration of the Astrova seat-end solution into the CL3810 optimizes the passenger journey for single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft. While experiencing the comforts of the CL3810 seat, travelers can simultaneously enjoy entertainment amenities such as a 4K OLED screen with high dynamic range (HDR) and Panasonic’s award-winning Bluetooth technology, as well as 67W of USB-C power to fast-charge smart devices.
Several major airlines have selected Astrova, and Qatar Airways was recognized during AIX 2022 as the first airline to choose Astrova for its fleet.
Driving airline loyalty
Also in Hamburg, Panasonic Avionics announced that it had joined forces with Adobe to advance the next generation of IFEC through enhanced content delivery, data collection and activation, journey orchestration and experience intelligence services.
PANASONIC WELCOMES LEADERSHIP TEAM MEMBERS
Following the successful launch of Astrova, Panasonic Avion ics announces new executive appointments which come amid industry recovery and increases in passenger traffic.
Satyen Yadav joined Panasonic Avionics as Chief Technol ogy Officer on August 8, 2022. Yadav is responsible for leading the company’s software and systems engineering teams, cloud, hardware and IT/security. He serves as a key member of Pana sonic Avionics’ executive team and is responsible for over 800 employees spread across Panasonic’s Irvine, California headquar ters, as well as the Bay Area office and other global locations.
John Wade joined the company as Vice President, Connectivity Solutions on August 1. Wade is responsible for the overall strategy, performance and day-to-day operations of the Connectivity business unit. He oversees a team of network capacity engineers and satel lite experts, while working closely with sales, engineering and prod uct management to drive revenue and support airlines worldwide.
Tom Eskola takes on a new role as Vice President, Panasonic Techni cal Services. Eskola brings a deep knowledge of Panasonic and com mitment to its customers. He joined the company more than 10 years ago and most recently served as Vice President and General Manager of the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA). Eskola continues his EMEA responsibilities until the company names his replacement.
QATAR AIRWAYS FIRST OUT OF THE BLOCKS
Visitors to this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Ham burg were immersed in Day One activities when the long-awaited and long-anticipated event began creating news of important product developments and deals.
The early-morning press conference where Panasonic Avionics announced the development of its Astrova inflight entertainment system was followed the same day with news that Qatar Airways would be the launch customer, outfitting a fleet of 40 777x aircraft with a system designed to enhance passenger engagement, and drive opera tional efficiency, while cutting back on weight. It will also offer a rich viewing experience through its cinema-grade 4K OLED screens throughout the cabin of the 777x.
The announcement made a splash in Hamburg, lead ing the coverage on the Issue 2 of the show daily publi cation, where the many features of Astrova were listed. Quick-charging USB-C power ports, home-style con nectivity, and light weight were touted along with the systems ease to upgrade. All will be flying when Qatar Airways receives its first 777x equipped aircraft in 2025.
Qatar Airways officials told PAX Tech in July that the airline chose the Astrova system for its unique features faster and more effective data transfer, complemented by fiber optics technology, creat ing a more interactive entertainment device.
Qatar Airways also touted the system’s environ mental bona fides and ease of passenger engage ment for entertainment and its blend of hard ware, software and enterprise solutions.
In addition to receiving the first Astrova system in 2025, Qatar Airways was the first airline to feature the AVANT system from Thales onboard. In addi tion to those two large players in the industry, Qatar
Airways in 2018 selected Donica and Display Inter active system on its fleet of A319s and A320s.
While all the involvement will benefit the airline and the industry in some way, the 2025 launch of Astrova on the 777x will directly benefit the passenger the moment they touch the screens. By the time the system launches, technology will have moved ahead to make available a wider variety of 4K compatible content on the airline’s Oryx One IFE system. The perfect blacks and cinematic colors will pop from 22-inch screens in Business Class and 13-inch screens in Economy Class. They will be able to enjoy a high-fidelity audio through traditional wired connections and Panasonic’s Bluetooth technology.
Qatar Airways is also moving beyond the launch to work with Panasonic on the “Next Astrova” to bring more software applications into the Oryx IFE system.
Adobe, the global leader in enterprise software that enables businesses to create, manage and deliver personal ized customer experiences, and Panasonic Avionics bring together their respective capabilities to drive airline loyalty (NPS), ancillary revenue and operational efficiencies.
Panasonic Avionics will integrate Adobe Experience Cloud’s content delivery, data, journey orchestration and experience intelligence capabilities into its onboard IFEC systems to ease the distribution of content for inflight services while generating and activating on data from passengers’ realtime onboard services, transactions and in-trip experiences.
Airlines will gain behavioral insights from their customers’ IFEC interactions to accelerate service and enhance loyalty while connecting the inflight experience throughout each passenger’s journey.
Personalization and targeted services have been hailed as the next frontier in IFEC to accelerate the customer experience. Panasonic Avionics and Adobe share the vision that airlines can drive more value out of IFEC by using data-driven services to drive new revenue opportunities and increase airline NPS through service recovery.
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THE LATEST RAVE
In the run-up to the APEX Expo, Ben Asmar, Vice President Products and Strategy, Safran Passenger Innovations, spoke with PAX Tech’s Mary Jane Pittilla about the company’s RAVE IFE system and other new developments
PAX TECH: What new products or features will you showcase at this year’s APEX EXPO?
BEN ASMAR, VICE PRESIDENT PRODUCTS AND STRATEGY, SAF RAN PASSENGER INNOVATIONS:
During the last two years, we have been busy updating the capabilities of our core IFEC platform RAVE OS, making it one of the most feature-rich platforms on the market. RAVE OS started flying late 2021, and since then it has been operat ing on six RAVE customers and growing, and the feedback we are getting is ter rific. Passengers really love it.
Ben Asmar Vice President Products and Strategy, Safran Passenger Innovations
This is just the start. At this year’s APEX Expo, we are showcasing some of the features we will be launching in the next 12 months. This includes our third-
party application platform, which allows third-party developers to create apps that can run on RAVE. This provides flexibility for our customers, allowing them to deploy new IFEC applications to their system outside of the long software development lead times and be in control of their own development.
We are also showcasing RAVE applications that have been developed using our own third-party tools, which will be deploying to customers soon. The mobile payments app allows a passenger to purchase items onboard through the IFEC system and pay for them on their own mobile device using a credit card or a payment service such as Apple Pay or Google Pay. The Advanced Survey app is a fully featured off-the-shelf survey application that we have packaged using our third-party tools to make it available on RAVE. This package comes with a powerful survey authoring tool that our customers can use to make their own surveys and publish them to their entire fleet, as well as offloading survey responses that can be imported into existing customer satisfaction tools. We are excited to be able to bring these types of applications to IFEC without requiring long lead-time software development.
Another exciting feature we will be launching next year is content recom mendations. While this is not a new con cept, we are thinking about it differently, making it more engaging. Like most other media platforms, we will support recommendations in the movie selection menu and at the end of a movie. We will provide recommendations that are different to the current selection, guiding the passenger to content they may not have naturally selected, providing a surprising and delightful moment. Our recommendation engine supports multiple modes, from metadata-match ing to using our onboard AI engine, creating targeted recommendations in the same way we do for advertising.
Following an announcement earlier this year, we are excited to be bringing Sony’s award-winning 360 Reality Audio technology to RAVE IFE, in an exclusive partnership with WalkMix. com. Compatible with all connected headphones, 360 Reality Audio supports broad consumer adoption. RAVE
spatial audio is the next frontier for inflight multimedia and can take a passenger from their seat and virtually transport them into the middle of a
concert hall. We believe this immersive experience will be a compelling point of differentiation for RAVE customers.
PAX TECH: How are you seeing the ongoing industry recovery?
ASMAR: The signs are very encourag ing. This is also translating into IFEC, where we are seeing a tremendous amount of activity across most regions when it comes to new proposal requests, which is positive news for the mid-term and seems to be broadly in line with the latest recovery profile for new narrow body and wide body aircraft. Proposals for line-fit are far outpacing retrofit pro posals, and we anticipate that this will likely be the trend for at least the next 12 months.
In the near term, we are starting to see some stability in the production lines of both major OEMs where aircraft deliveries are beginning to become more predictable after a series of unprecedented industry disruptions. While this is good, the challenge that most suppliers have is a reliable supply chain, so the challenge becomes meeting the demand when parts are scarce. Managing the supply chain at the micro level and daily parts allocation meetings have become the norm. So far, this careful management has allowed us to allocate parts where they are needed the most to minimize disruption to our customers. This has only been possible with closely partner ing with our customers and OEMs.
PAX TECH: What IFEC features are airlines most focused on?
ASMAR: It’s fair to say that just Adver tising-based Video On Demand (AVOD) and a connection to the internet will not be enough as we approach the 2030s. The themes we are seeing are:
Digitization of the cabin: This is providing passengers with a personalized experience that also goes well beyond a personalized greeting at your seat. It’s about linking your airline profile with your inflight experience and allowing preferences to follow you from flight to flight, incorporating loyalty, providing targeted retail experiences and the ability for airlines to continue engaging with the passenger after their flight. This is also a key pillar of Safran Passenger Innovations’ strategy over the next three years. We have started a new product line called RAVE Digital which
is devoted to inflight digital experience and helping our customers meet their goals when it comes to digitization.
Revenue generation: At Safran Passenger Innovations, we are totally rethinking how to approach IFEC revenue generation. Previous models have proven ineffective, so there is a need for something different.
We are launching this effort later this year with our new digital advertising platform, RAVE Advertising. This is not an inflight advertising solution. Rather, it’s a digital ad platform that we are using onboard an aircraft. Our vision is that seat-back screens just become another digital billboard in the digital ad ecosys tem. In fact, some advertisers may not even know they are advertising onboard an aircraft. This is just step number one. Our strategy also includes digital pay ments, ecommerce, and digital retailing.
Environmental impact: As an industry we have pretty lofty goals to meet in the next couple of decades and IFEC must also play its role. Airlines are looking for solutions that are lighter weight, use less power and reduce drag. This will become critically important as we start to see the next generation of aircraft being produced with significant carbon reduction targets in mind. At Safran Passenger Innovations, we have always been focused on reducing the impact of our system on the operation of the aircraft, while still providing a fully featured system. In each generation of hardware, we have removed weight and reduced power consumption and we plan to keep doing that as we design next-generation systems. We need to think differently about onboard systems and look to new technologies to reduce the number of LRUs (line-replaceable units) required, reduce cabling require ments and at the same time look at the materials we are using to ensure that our parts can be recycled, limiting the impact on our environment. It’s not just about the product, it’s about the whole lifecycle.
PAX TECH: Can you talk about any new IFE hardware you’re planning?
ASMAR: Our current generation of hardware, RAVE Ultra, has been flying since the fourth quarter of last year and is being installed on more and more of our customers’ aircraft. This generation is what we will be deploying for the next few years. With our 4K dockable displays in seven sizes, we continue to bring
The seatback RAVE system from Safran Passenger Innovations offers passengers features such as Bluetooth, picture-in-picture and an intuitive user interface
the high reliability of our Seat Centric architecture with displays that are lighter and thinner than ever. In addition to displays, our small lightweight headend is stocked with 16TB of storage as well as a range of power supplies to suit any scenario from 60W USB-C in every seat and AC power outlets. Our current generation hardware is available for line fit on both Boeing and Airbus aircraft.
In terms of next-generation hardware, we have started working on this, even though our current generation has only just started flying. We are working on the next two generations of hardware now. The next generation will focus on weight reduction and efficiency targeted at narrow body aircraft, and we expect to see this coming to market in 2024.
PAX TECH: You are the hardware sup plier for the Airbus Airspace Link HBCplus, its new flexible satellite connectivity solution. What has been the response? ASMAR: The response has been posi tive, and customers are interested. For
HBCplus, customers will select this equipment as SFE (supplier-furnished equipment) from Airbus and Safran Passenger Innovations will then supply the equipment to Airbus for installation on the line. Although we are a supplier to Airbus in this case, we have been involved in many of the initial customer conversations.
There are two key aspects of this solution that are getting people excited. First, this SFE solution offers a streamlined connectivity solution as part of the aircraft specification. Second, the agnostic capability of the hardware means the airline can select from a number of service providers that are compatible with the hardware and then change service providers in the future with as little as new software or a change to the modman, depending on the configuration. All of the other equipment remains the same.
In addition to HBCplus, we are also offering this hardware solution for retrofit programs, allowing airlines to
have a common set of hardware across their fleet. We also plan to have this solu tion available on Boeing line-fit aircraft. This is a significant change to the status quo of inflight connectivity and our expectation is that this will ultimately reduce costs for airlines and further expand the deployment of connected aircraft.
PAX TECH: Are supply chain shortages impacting Safran Passenger Innovations?
ASMAR: Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has been able to escape the supply chain shortages and Safran Passenger Innovations is no different. It seems likely that we will continue to see supply chain issues well into 2023. Although I expect to see improvements throughout the year, it is unlikely we will see what we would call normal until the end of 2023 or early 2024. My hope is that as an industry we can rally and pull together and help each other as we all navigate these challenges on the path back to normal.
ANZ SITTING PRETTY
New Zealandby MARY JANE PITTILLA
Safran Seats and HAECO have been chosen to outfit Air New Zealand’s (ANZ) cabin interior for Business Premier and Economy Class, respectively, and both companies have come through with products filled with features and the latest in technical improvements.
In June 2022, Air New Zealand unveiled a new cabin interior featuring its latest Business Premier cabin, designed and manufactured with Safran Seats. They are due to enter in service in 2024 and retrofit the airline’s current 787-9 fleet.
ANZ selected a concept to create a ‘home away from home’ experience. The seat is specially designed for 787 aircraft maximizing the available space in the aircraft type.
The Business Premier seat offers a comfortable and private area for sleep. If traveling with a companion, the middle row allows passengers to share their flight and dining experience.
The herringbone configuration of the cabin creates an equal experience for all passengers and ensures a better sleep with the head of passengers being far from the aisle. A private environment for the passenger with high shells combined with adjustable aisle and center dividers helps for a restful flight. Passengers have stowage areas that are certified for Taxi, Take-off and Landing (TTL) as well as multiple surfaces including an electrically assisted large single-piece meal table. The suite has wireless charging and with an active backrest offering the passenger another way to manage their personal comfort, certified for variable TTL positions.
This premium front row is offered across multiple Safran products in which the layout replaces the traditional front row monuments to provide the utmost privacy and space to the passenger whilst maintaining the same footprint. This also provides new and enhanced experiences such as welcoming another passenger into a suite. For ANZ, this increases the usable space for the passenger by 25 percent.
“We really encouraged Safran to think differently and push the boundaries with what we can do with the Business Premier seat to optimize the configuration and customer experience,” said Air New Zealand Head of Aircraft Programs Kerry Reeves
EUROWINGS GIVES GEVEN A BOOST
Geven’s best-selling Essenza Seat model has once again fit the bill for Lufthansa Group, having been selected for the Eurowings fleet retrofit program.
As part of a larger partnership, which began in 2017, Essenza was Lufthansa Group’s first choice for line-fit seating across the various airlines of the German group. The Essenza model for leisure air line Eurowings features an exclusive design scheme and dedicated Eurowings trim and finish.
“The highly successful and ergonomically crafted Essenza delivers incomparable comfort on board for a memorable passenger experience with the utmost cost efficiency,” says Geven.
Essenza features in-arm and rear meal tables with an all-device accommodating dedicated holder, coat hook, as well as customized litera ture, amenity pockets and life vest pouch.
Essenza carries super-comfort bottom cushions, completed for the Eurowings fleet with a play of light and dark gray, finished with a personalized accent of violet-red on the backrest for the dress covers.
The tailor-made product created for Eurowings, says Geven’s program manager, Pasquale Savelli, is the result of close teamwork between Geven and the airline, which has proven to be the driving force for the two teams.
“We are delighted at the success of our coopera tion with the Lufthansa Group and proud of the sat isfaction with the product they have expressed,” says Alberto Veneruso, Managing Director, Geven, which is headquartered in Naples, Italy.
“We are especially proud of the punctuality with which the stringent Eurowings delivery schedule is being met – 23 ship sets, all at a rhythm of two per week between April and July of this year . Geven has a record of 100 percent on-time delivery, which we mean to keep
in June’s announcement in Hamburg. “Working virtually throughout COVID added another layer of complexity. Without being able to travel to the Safran site to validate our ideas and concepts, we paralleled the mock-up build both in New Zealand at our innovation lab and at Safran to ensure we had a common design interpretation and valid feedback on the engineering development of the layout and features.”
Safran Seats CEO Vincent Mascré added: “We are pleased to provide Air New Zealand with a product that meets their needs to offer choice and a product dedicated to ultralong-haul flight. These seats are the fruit of incredible work between our companies, and it will allow a better journey for all their passengers. The creation of this seat displays the remarkable capabilities between Air New Zealand and the experienced Safran Seats teams based in the UK.”
HAECO picked for Economy Class
In related ANZ seating news, announced in July 2022, HAECO Cabin Solutions is supplying Vector Economy –its fully-featured Economy Class seat – for ANZ’s newest long-range passenger cabins on 22 787s. The fleet will serve international destinations for its ultra-long-haul route network.
unblemished. The teamwork on both the line-fit and this Eurowings retrofit program was fruitful and synchro nized in such a way as to meet with maximum precision the needs and expectations of this exacting customer.”
Veneruso continues: “There is sound confidence that the product delivered to Eurowings is one of high customization and one which will offer the long-term service performance such a customer commands.
“We at Geven – and, we believe, our many satis fied customers – are convinced that Essenza is the best solution for onboard comfort thanks to its outstand ing living space and careful ergonomic design which, combined with the lightweight, long service life reli ability and overall low cost of ownership, will surely add value to the already prestigious Eurowings brand.”
Low-cost carrier Eurowings is the largest leisure airline in Germany with a fleet of around 100 aircraft. Eurowings offers non-stop flights to more than 140 destinations in Europe and has 11 international bases, including Palma de Mallorca on Europe’s number one vacation island.
Geven’s Essenza model for leisure airline Eurowings features an exclusive design scheme and dedicated trim and finish
SAFRAN SEATS CHIEF “CONFIDENT” ON OUTLOOK
Passenger privacy and sustainability are two key trends noted by Safran Seats CEO Vincent Mascré at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg in June 2022.
Mascré said passengers expect privacy, such as sliding doors in Business Class.
Safran Seats showcased two seating innovations at the AIX show: Unity, a high-end Business Class seat for wide-body jets, and Vue, a Business Class seat for narrow-body jets. Both have full-flat seats and a slid ing door option and come into service in 2023.
On the subject of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and its impact on Safran Seats, Mascré said that after a strong first quarter of 2020, turnover plunged by 70 percent in early 2021 compared to the pre-COVID period.
Having closed some operations in the UK and Cali fornia, the company “kept key skills to be ready for recovery,” and in particular the innovation team.
The upswing came after the US border reopened in November 2021. “We have seen a boom in traffic and airlines are investing again,” he said, adding that he was “delighted” to be back in Hamburg meeting customers again.
The new Business Class seats are modular in design and can be customized according to an airline’s branding.
Regarding the sustainability requirements of all compa
nies today, Mascré said that airlines are demanding weight reduction and recyclable materials, such as aluminum. They also want their own look and are seeking to increase density.
During the COVID-19 crisis period, Mascré noted the importance of virtual reality (VR) in developing the seats.
He also said he was “confident” of being able to deliver the new products despite the supply chain crisis, which had affected transportation and com modities such as electronic components.
Vector Economy’s features include a high-comfort headrest, an ergonomically sculpted seatback and cushions, an amenity stowage compartment, a 13.3 inch high-definition seatback video screen with Bluetooth audio, and USB-A and USB-C charging ports. ANZ will offer three Economy Class seating options based on the Vector Economy platform: the Vector Economy Skycouch brand that converts into a lie-flat bed; the Vector Economy Stretch that incorporates increased leg room; and Vector Economy Standard – the baseline seat with a full complement of comfort-enhancing features.
Vector Economy is manufactured at HAECO Cabin Solutions’ facilities in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“We were really encouraged by HAECO in the way they approached our journey to think differently about how we could maximize the Economy customer experience,” said Reeves.
“Without being able to travel to the HAECO site to validate our ideas and concepts, we built a mock-up both at our innovation lab in New Zealand and at HAECO’s US facility to ensure we had a common design interpretation, and nothing was lost in translation,” Reeves added.
Doug Rasmussen, President & Group Director of HAECO Cabin Solutions, added: “We are honored to collaborate with Air New Zealand and highly value them as a strategic partner of the HAECO Group. Vector Economy hits the sweet spot of delivering on multiple goals for both the airline and its customers. Through the use of leading-edge design principles and material selection, including the use of composites and titanium, this seat achieves the dual goals of reduced weight while delivering high durability. Vector Economy also provides a new level of passenger comfort in the economy cabin through industry-leading living space and passenger-focused amenities.”
systems provider Burranaby MARY JANE PITTILLA
Exclusive news reached PAX Tech in the run-up to the APEX EXPO 2022 in Long Beach regarding Burrana’s in-seat power system (ISPS). Two airlines have selected the company’s ISPS one with four 737 MAX aircraft in the Americas and another with four A321 aircraft in Asia.
David Pook, Vice President of Mar keting and Sales Support at Burrana told PAX Tech in September that business opportunities abound for the products.
“As the industry emerges from the pandemic, in-seat power systems now seem to be required equipment on all new narrow-body aircraft, and even on some regional jets. Some of the larger hold-out airlines are now taking deliveries of new aircraft with ISPS that had never done so before, while others are initiating large retrofit programs,” Pook says.
He attributes this to aircraft flying longer routes, the rise in passengers using personal electronic devices (PEDs) and the increase in cost-effective connectivity options that encourage the use of PEDs.
Burrana announced in June that it was authorized to market in-seat power for line-fit on Airbus aircraft. The company has obtained Airbus’ approval to market its RISE in-seat
power solution to airlines for the A320 aircraft family, following successful completion of the Airbus acceptance test in Hamburg. RISE Power is available for factory installation for aircraft deliveries starting in the second quarter of 2023.
Burrana has also secured an unidentified launch customer for the A320 and A321 aircraft types. Under the contract, Burrana will supply more than 50 aircraft with three-amp (15 Watt) USB-A and USB-C combo jacks at every seat, as well as 110 VAC Power outlets in Premium Economy.
The RISE solution has a simple installation architecture with minimal components. It has a small, lightweight unit housing either double USB jacks or 110 Volt plus USB outlets, compact seat power boxes and harnesses. Burrana is also providing product support and manages spares globally.
The solution aims to offer an innovative approach without compro mising on space, weight, ergonomics or aesthetics. It provides airlines with the fast USB charging with 15 Watt (three-amp) charging via both USB-A and USB-C ports. The system can also be upgraded to 60 Watt USB-C ports by swapping out the jacks.
The RISE 48VDC architecture
Longer flights and passengers laden with tech provides means airlines are prime customers for in-seat power
provides greater reliability with reduced size, weight and CO2 emissions. Intelligent power-sharing distribution and load shed management ensures greater utilization and efficiency of available power in the cabin, with multiple levels of redundancy bringing passengers facing failures to almost zero.
The seatback and overhead video components of the RISE platform from Burrana will be developed for 4K in the future.
The RISE overhead system can present videos and three-dimensional maps in 4K resolution. To do so requires only one-to-two simultaneous streams, says 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 acknowledg ing that 4K panels will use more power than a high-definition screen, Pook says they would still be more efficient than the previous generation HD monitor.
Burrana’s ultra-thin retract monitors measure 13.3 inches and deliver crisp resolution in high definition that allows passengers to see a clear picture from anywhere in the cabin. The displays are manufactured with anti-glare coating. Pook says that the mean time between failures (MTBF) on RISE is targeted to be 35 percent longer than previous generations.
Wi-Fi and LCC
One of the largest connectivity installations of the year was wrapping up in October with Spirit Airlines and Thales teaming up — and PAX Tech checked out the latest offeringby RICK LUNDSTROM
Spirit Airlines Flight 42 from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Minneapolis-St. Paul Inter national Airport left on time at a little after 2:30 p.m. August 27 with a full load of passengers and a new antenna linkup with a Thales-manufactured satellite pro viding a high-speed pipe to the aircraft.
It was slightly more than a month after the low-cost airline from Mirmar, Florida announced it was going full-on high-speed connectivity with the help of Thales and its FlytLIVE solution that would cover the airline’s network across the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. When the A320 reached the safe altitude, I set out to work with
a MacBook Pro laptop and iPhone 12 to see how much Internet activity I could cram into the two-hour flight.
Slowdowns and wait times were few during the time I was aboard. I watched YouTube videos, loaded pictures and a news entry onto the PAX International website, while sending text messages on my iPhone and laptop and streaming tunes on Apple Music. Several of those tasks were carried out simultaneously through the trip. The seat pitch in Economy Class made for tight work, but all the technology I brought aboard functioned as desired.
Spirit’s log-in is similar to others in the world’s fleet. To connect, passengers choose Spirit_WiFi and
open a web browser on their personal device. Plans can be selected from there. This year, Spirit plans to enhance the onboard offering with more free content, upgrade ability, Google and Apple Pay, and multi-device plans that offer gate-to-gate coverage.
Spirit Airlines is offering two tiers of service with a browsing tier that starts at US$2.99 that can accommodate e-mail, chatting and social media. The streaming tier starts at US$5.99. The airline says the higher tier is 20 times faster to allow streaming television shows and movies. With durationbased pricing, costs can increase from the base price on longer flights.
The SES-17 satellite that provides connectivity to the aircraft has a downlink capacity of 400 MBS to the ThinKom Solutions antenna that is being installed on the Spirit fleet of A320s and A321s. Thales FlytLIVE supplies the connectivity through the Ka-band and the SES-17 satellite by Thales Alenia Space and Hughes aviation satellite network and technology.
Before this year’s APEX event, Spirit expects to complete the transition onto the SES-17 satellite for it for all its Wi-Fi enabled aircraft. Now, a spokesman for the airline said Spirit is experiencing higher demand for Wi-Fi on its cross-country flight between Los Angeles and Las Vegas and some of its larger markets in the east.
Germany’s AERQ aims to provide fast, easy and flexible app integration with its AERENA cloud-based open software architectureby MARY JANE PITTILLA
Airlines are increasingly identify ing digitalization of the aircraft cabin as an opportunity to differ entiate themselves from competi tors. One of the essential parts of the digital cabin experience is relevant and up-to-date apps. Until now, the integra tion of apps took months or even years. This resulted in high costs for airlines that are dependent on their suppliers and the availability of physical test racks.
With AERENA, a cloud-based open software architecture, Hamburg-based AERQ is offering a solution that changes this and provides fast, easy and flexible app integration. Its ground infrastruc ture is based on cloud solutions, automated processes and a virtual test environment. AERENA allows instant onboarding of third parties. Airlines can choose applications, media content and graphical user interface (GUI) and create onboard products easily and rapidly.
With one login only, airlines gain end-to-end control of app management.
Airlines can pick and choose between apps from the entire AERENA platform to tailor the digital experience each aims for. With just a few clicks over a virtual preview, the experience of exploring apps gives airlines full transparency on the app’s performance and how it could con tribute to digital onboard offers. Airlines can test apps remotely in a virtual test environment from anywhere. This aims to reduce the time that airlines currently spend on testing apps on a physical test rack at the supplier’s facilities.
Substantial cost savings
Apps can even be optimized on a day-to-day basis. This superior deployment infrastructure allows updating new applications and media content onto the aircraft to happen in days, not months. This leads to substantial cost savings compared to incumbent media processing and integration costs, according to AERQ.
Beyond the technical innovation
and full control over the digital cabin experience, the AERENA app integration enables significant commercial innova tion. AERQ says that enhancing apps available onboard turns the cabin into a digital channel of the highest com mercial importance. AERENA seeks to facilitate greater passenger engagement onboard the aircraft leading to a deeper understanding of passengers’ inflight behaviors and needs. An airline can then offer passengers the right content, prod ucts and experiences at the right time and thereby open new revenue oppor tunities for itself and selected partners.
“This truly differentiates an airline from its competitors and unfolds its digital potential to kickstart a global economy in the sky,” says the German firm.
Passengers benefit from a true digital and personalized experience onboard.
“AERENA fills the emotional gap of the passenger between start and landing by turning the time onboard even more valuable, productive and worthwhile.
This way airlines will be more than a means of transport, but will bring meaning, joy and value to journeys across their fleets,” concludes AERQ.
This year’s APEX/IFSA EXPO comes at a time when expectations are as large as the challenges, says the Association’s CEO Dr. Joe Leaderby RICK LUNDSTROM
The APEX/IFSA Expo October 25 to 27 in Long Beach, California promises visitors not only a larger event but a glimpse into the future in several segments of the passenger experience.
PAX Tech caught up with APEX/ IFSA CEO, Dr. Joe Leader shortly after attending a successful Future Travel Experience event in Las Vegas. This year’s APEX/IFSA Expo is being held just before another FTE event in Singapore before closing out the year. What he says he’s found through the travel is an industry moving fast into new technological advancements on the ground and in the air. Airlines are rapidly refurbishing and expanding fleets while at the same time wrestling with the worldwide problem of staffing shortages.
All those issues will be discussed by an industry delegation that has grown from last year’s event and returned to Long Beach. In late September, APEX/ IFSA had secured 119 exhibitors, which was a 31 percent increase from the 2021 event. The EXPO will see an
estimated 25 increase in attendance with more than 2,000 people registered. A group of 50 airlines will bring and estimated 300 people to Long Beach.toDr. Joe Leader
Air travel is, without a doubt ramping up as the pent-up demand of people who long to be again on the move. However, Leader sees much of the industry snap ping back quickly as a mixed blessing.
“It kind of was a combination of my highest aspiration and worst fears, all in one,” he says. What has been learned, he says, is the pitfalls of shutting down such a vital sector of travel results in the monumental task of returning operations to normal. Government help stalled in many parts of the world, and now an industry is in critical need to fill its ranks of workers. But the challenge of moving passengers efficiently is being partially met with technology in the face of staff shortages.
“Biometrics is ramping up by storm around the world,” Leader says. Auto mated check-in and bag drops will make it easier for passengers to move through the travel process. At FTE in Las Vegas
visitors saw the future of payment with Amazon Go tracking purchases auto matically without the need for a cashier.
APEX will be hosting a biometrics panel in Long Beach with representatives from Los Angeles World Airports, Star Alliance and others associated with customer experience.
This year’s event comes at a promising time for suppliers as airlines are busy acquiring new aircraft. Leader cited Ryanair’s order of 52 aircraft in a single year and United’s purchase and/or refur bishment plans for 100 aircraft. In the cabin, airlines like Air New Zealand are reshaping the passenger experience with lie-flat bed options (see page 16) that Leader said holds the promise for mean ingful change in the Economy cabin.
“Between the extraordinarily expensive Business Class seats and Economy and Premium Economy seats there is going to be something in between that can give (passengers) the option to rest onboard an ultralong-haul flight,” Leader says.
On the International Flight Services Association side of the event, planners will showing interested visitors the new World Food Safety Guidelines. Organizers are looking to get speakers from government and the industry together for a discussion on maintain ing and improving food safety.