PAX Tech Seating & IFEC April 2024

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MRO, Interiors & IFEC APRIL 2024 | MRO, Interiors & IFEC ENTERTAINMENT COMFORT CONNECTION: The complete inflight package SEATING, IFE & CONNECTIVITY

Need for connection

In the lead up to next month’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), event organizers tell us there are 40 firsttime exhibitors signed up, indicating a healthy return to business as almostusual. In fact, the event saw attendance increase by 59 percent in 2023 from the previous year. Airlines are signalling this return with significant investments. Etihad signed on with Viasat at the end of last year for high-speed IFC and live TV streaming solutions for its new 787-9 Dreamliner fleet. As you’ll read in the issue, Etihad’s Eduardo Matos, Director of Customer Care, says the airline’s Dreamliner fleet embraces evolving passenger expectations for an onboard experience akin to what they are accustomed to on the ground. The fleet introduces increased living space with slim Economy Class seats, IFE from Safran and RAVE Ultra 13.3inch 4K touch-screens. In Business, Collins Aerospace’s Elements seat offers lie-flat comfort and 17.3-inch 4K screens with the ability to pair IFE with Bluetooth headphones. To maximize roominess and convenience, the suites offer wireless charging and

lots of storage space. Now this is a cabin we cannot wait to review!

Our journalists are keeping a pulse on the trend toward prioritizing comfort, inflight entertainment and connectivity to build brand loyalty and quite frankly even be considered by passengers. As business travel picks up, I’ve been gravitating toward airlines that offer uninterrupted gate-to-gate connectivity so that I can stay connected with all of you regardless of where I am flying to.

Whether our Publisher Aijaz Khan is en route to Lisbon for an exclusive airline interview, or our writers are covering the latest news while inflight to Hamburg, one thing we all have in common is the desire—nay need—for connection. So don’t be shy, connect with our team ahead of AIX 2024 to share news, highlight what you’ll be exhibiting and promote what your company is doing as an active player in enhancing the passenger experience through interiors innovation.

We hope you enjoy this issue of PAX Tech and yes, we are counting down the days to AIX 2024 too! | PAX TECH | 3 PAX Tech Mississauga, Ontario Canada Website: PUBLISHER Aijaz Khan E-mail: EDITORIAL OFFICES Jane Hobson, Managing Editor Tel: (1 416) 997-3914 E-mail: Robynne Trueman, Business Editor Tel: (1 705) 471-4110 E-mail: Alex Preston, Senior Editor Tel: +44 (0) 7969 092913 E-mail: ART DEPARTMENT Jessica Hearn, Art Director E-mail: 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 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. 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





PAX Tech speaks with Hernan Abbes, Vice President of Global Sales, Panasonic Avionics, about its partnerships with Saudia and Egyptair for Astrova IFE


Etihad’s incoming fleet of 787-9 Dreamliners is offering passengers an elevated experience with free IFC, upgraded entertainment systems and spacious seating configurations SEATING


LSEAT’s Yves Hendrickx reveals how the company’s Economy kit can change the way airlines deliver the Economy Class experience


Expliseat’s TiSeat has been selected for the cabin renewal program on Air France subsidiary HOP!


A look at how RECARO is delivering an enhanced comfort experience to Air India passengers while prioritizing sustainability and space on Southwest IFEC


Juraj Siska talks caching data, connectivity trends and the future of inflight entertainment as it relates to the Inplay Edge solution from IdeaNova


Thales Group’s Celie Navatel explains how the AVANT Up IFE system is closing the gap between at-home entertainment and the IFEC experience LIGHTING


IFPL Group’s Cobalt Spectrum LED drop-in mood lighting system has been selected by multiple airlines in 2024, providing cost savings and delivering a restful inflight experience for passengers



Cabin air quality contributes to the comfort and well-being of passengers and crew alike inflight. Ola Häggfeldt of CTT Systems tells PAX Tech how the company is helping protect against the hostile environment encountered at cruising altitudes


ABC International is displaying its seat track covers at AIX Hamburg in May EVENTS


The Aircraft Interiors Expo is returning to Hamburg from May 28 to 30, with the Passenger Experience Conference kicking things off a day prior

4 | PAX TECH | MARCH 2024
This issue of PAX Tech looks at the inflight entertainment and connectivity trends pushing the industry forward




From onboard caterers to connectivity and all the latest in aircraft cabins, the PAX Readership Awards will once again recognize those in the industry that go above and beyond.

The award winners will be announced on Wednesday May 29, 2024 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Hamburg.

Award winners will be featured in a special spread, as well as in our e-Newsletter.


AERQ’s AERENA takes to the sky on Discover Airlines Royal Jordanian selects Viasat IFC for multiple fleets

Royal Jordanian Airlines has selected Viasat’s inflight connectivity solution to make high-speed Wi-Fi a priority across multiple fleets. The airline will equip more than 40 aircraft with Viasat connectivity systems, including plans to factory-install the system on its E2, A320, A321 and 787-9 fleets. The airline will also retrofit its 787-8 wide-body aircraft with the advanced Wi-Fi solution.

“We are committed to providing our passengers with a superior inflight experience. By introducing high-speed streaming Wi-Fi on our new fleets, and even installing it on some aircraft of our existing fleet, we are enabling state-of-the-art connectivity while inflight,” said Samer Majali, Vice Chairman and Board Designee CEO of Royal Jordanian Airlines.

Viasat’s IFC service will be configured to provide an online experience that delivers fast internet speeds and the ability to stream entertainment inflight.

“As Royal Jordanian Airlines looks to enhance its passenger experience for the future, we are proud to be part of enabling a next-level experience through fast and resilient connectivity wherever Royal Jordanian Airlines flies,” said Don Buchman, VP and GM of Commercial Aviation at Viasat.

AERQ has announced the installation of its AERENA in-seat system on Discover Airlines, a Lufthansa Group airline, in one of its A320 aircraft. The aircraft with tailsign D-AIUQ will serve medium-haul flights starting with the airline’s summer schedule.

“We are very excited that AERENA now takes off and an airline as well as passengers get to experience what our platform has to offer. This is an important milestone for us and our parent companies,” said Arnd Kikker, Co-Managing Director at AERQ.

AERQ’s open IT platform AERENA is supported by cloud-based infrastructure and allows passengers to connect through personal electronic devices. With this in-seat system, Discover Airlines can deliver IFE to passengers on its narrow-body aircraft for medium-haul flights.

An STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) for the installation of the AERENA in-seat system has been issued by the EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency), marking an important milestone for AERQ.

6 | PAX TECH | APRIL 2024
Royal Jordanian will use Viasat’s IFC solution onboard multiple fleets AERQ’s AERENA in-seat system onboard Discover Airlines


What pairs best with interior?

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aviationscouts highlights lightweight Geven PIUMA C7 seat

aviationscouts has revealed its new factory seat from Geven SpA. The rare and lightweight Geven PIUMA C7 Economy Class seat for the A330 and A340 family feature blue leather covers, in nine abreast full Economy configurations.

“We have a shipset of 436 PAX of Geven PIUMA C7 Economy Class Seats, meticulously crafted for comfort and efficiency,” aviationscouts said. The seats are ready to ship now.

Muirhead to unveil chrome and heavy metalfree leather tech at AIX

Muirhead will unveil its chrome and heavy metal-free tanning solution called FreeTAN at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in May.

FreeTAN with free FR technology is completely free from heavy metals, chrome and glutaraldehyde. It is a non-toxic, halogen-free and fire-retardant treatment that offers low-environmental impact aviation leather.

The manufacturer has fully replaced its existing tanning chemistry with compostable technology as part of its commitment to eliminating the use of fossil fuels, oil-based elements and heavy metals from all its operations and products.

“Tanning is a crucial part of leather production, whereby raw hides are treated in drums to transform them into our high-performance material. For over two decades, we’ve invested heavily in new initiatives

to develop future-proof tanning systems that deliver unparalleled consistency and high technical excellence without relying on chrome salts and glutaraldehyde,” said Stephen Hems, Innovation Manager, Muirhead. Hems also said the technology is central in Muirhead’s path to increasing the bio-based renewable carbon content of its leather by 90 percent or above, eventually working toward a product that is 100 percent bio-based and free from chrome and heavy metals.

“[FreeTAN® technology] enables us to enhance the biodegradability and compostability properties of our products, all without compromising on technical performance,” said Myles Hobbs, Aviation Director, EMEA and The Americas, Muirhead. Muirhead will be exhibiting at Booth 6E95 at AIX.

8 | PAX TECH | APRIL 2024
The Geven PIUMA C7 Economy Class seat
Muirhead’s FreeTAN tanning solution


PAX Tech speaks with Hernan Abbes, Vice President of Global Sales, Panasonic Avionics, about its partnerships with Saudia and Egyptair for Astrova IFE

Astrova continues to take Panasonic Avionics to new heights as more airlines around the globe select the innovative system. Last year, the company developed partnerships with both Saudia and Egyptair, expanding its presence in the Middle East and Africa. As the tech giant looks ahead to what is next for its growth at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) event, PAX Tech spoke to Hernan Abbes, Vice President of Global Sales, Panasonic Avionics, about evolving IFE solutions, industry trends and feedback from Astrova users.

An unprecedented uptake

Abbes says the response from Saudia and Egyptair has far exceeded expectations.

“Astrova has a higher rate of selection than any of our previous IFE solutions. We’re very excited about our new system, and the response from the airline industry has been extremely positive,” Abbes says.

He notes that what separates Astrova from Panasonic’s previous IFE solutions is the design. The system features OLED 4K screens that are HDR 10+ with an infinite contrast ratio. The audio experience is elevated with high-fidelity multi-channel spatial audio technology. Astrova provides full cabin Bluetooth enabling passengers to connect personal wireless headphones to the system.

The solution’s in-seat power feature is also a draw for many airlines, explains Abbes. The system offers 67 watts of fast-charging capabilities

10 | PAX TECH | APRIL 2024
Hernan Abbes,
Panasonic’s Astrova in Business Class

for mobile devices and laptops via USB-C; airlines can choose to offer up to 100 watts of fast charging.

Panasonic Avionics first announced Astrova had been selected by Egyptair in November 2023, marking the IFE solutions’ first agreement in Africa. The focus for the airline was on the line-fit program with its A350 fleet, “providing a system that could adapt to evolving consumer technology while safeguarding their investment in IFEC,” explains Abbes.

Astrova’s modular design is also an asset to Egyptair’s business objectives. With airlines looking to reduce TCO (total cost of ownership), Abbes says the ability to keep up with consumer technology trends without switching to a new system is important to airlines.

“It allows airlines to continuously update their cabin equipment with the latest technology,” he says. “In the

past, airlines would have to select their cabin equipment one-to-two years in advance of the first aircraft delivery, resulting in outdated systems being installed in new aircraft. With Astrova, airlines can continuously upgrade their systems as new technology becomes available, ensuring their passengers can always enjoy the latest consumer technology and experience they are accustomed to on the ground.”

The modular design lends itself to retrofitting simply and cost-effectively, reducing an airline’s operational expenditure. The IFE components can be upgraded independently of the other cabin elements, resulting in fewer service disruptions for the airline. According to Abbes, this is what makes the technology so appealing.

The agreement with Saudia, signed last June, primarily focuses on retrofitting the airline’s A330 and 777

fleets. Abbes says Saudia’s enthusiasm was driven by the system’s ability to reduce TCO while elevating the viewing experience for passengers.

“At Panasonic Avionics, we believe that this approach to IFE allows airlines to continuously keep their systems up to date, even between full cabin retrofits. It also supports airline sustainability efforts by reducing the need to recycle materials and maximizing the lifespan of the system. Additionally, the significantly lighter weight of Astrova compared to previous IFE systems helps airlines reduce fuel consumption.”

Expanding opportunities for IFEC

As AIX returns to Hamburg in 2024, the industry looks to the largest global marketplace for the world’s cabin interiors and inflight enter- | PAX TECH | 11
Fast charging for passenger’s personal devices with Astrova

tainment to see what’s on tap for the year ahead and the latest tech innovations, Astrova among them.

According to Abbes, demand in the aviation industry overall has rebounded to pre-COVID levels, prompting many airlines to enhance onboard offerings, including IFEC. Panasonic Avionics saw a higher global adoption rate for Astrova, compared to the company’s previous IFE solutions.

Abbes adds that the combination of Astrova, IFC and technical services available from Panasonic puts the company in a position to effectively meet the needs of its airline partners around the world.

Elevating passenger engagement

“From our viewpoint, airlines are seeking to establish IFEC as their third digital channel,” Abbes says. “They desire increased control over the dayto-day management of content and digital services to optimize engagement with their passengers. This objective can be achieved by choosing the right IFE system, coupled with global, high-speed connectivity, digital solutions and global aftercare support.”

The company’s vision centers around “Engagement, Beyond Entertainment” and Abbes notes that an airline’s app offers an engagement

opportunity based on passengers’ usage frequencies and durations, ahead of web and mobile channels.

“We are therefore seeing forwardthinking airlines recognize this potential to enhance digital passenger engagement by building brand loyalty, improving [Net Promoter Scores], enhancing operational efficiency, and generating revenue,” he explains.

Panasonic Avionics helps airlines establish that digital third channel via Astrova to integrate the passenger’s digital experience from booking to the destination. They can use the App Manager to develop and deploy the third-party application to the seatback.

The company has also taken a new approach to its IFE operating system, allowing airlines to elevate the passenger experiences it delivers.

“Our OS encompasses a collection of shared system services and utilities that facilitate quicker delivery, streamlined maintenance, and accelerated innovation-to-market velocity. By leveraging our OS, which is equipped with well-defined, reusable capabilities and services, airlines can rapidly build, test and deploy new applications using industrystandard technologies,” Abbes says.

12 | PAX TECH | APRIL 2024
Panasonic Avionics CEO Ken Sain (left) and Saudia Group Di-rector General His Excellency Engr. Ibrahim Al-Omar signed the agreement for the Astrova so-lution in June 2023 Panasonic Avionics announced the agreement with Egyptair in November 2023

Comfort and


Etihad’s incoming fleet of 787-9 Dreamliners is offering passengers an elevated experience with free IFC, upgraded entertainment systems and spacious seating configurations

Etihad Airways had a tremendous year of design updates and passenger experience upgrades in 2023. As its new fleet of 787-9 Dreamliners takes off in 2024, Etihad is introducing more privacy for passengers, complementary inflight connectivity and an IFE experience like the airline has never had before.

Keeping passengers connected

In 2023, Etihad signed an agreement with Viasat for high-speed inflight connectivity and live TV streaming solutions for its new 787-9 Dreamliner fleet. Eduardo Matos, Director of Cus-

tomer Care, Etihad Airways, tells PAX Tech that while the fleet has only just entered service, the airline is confident in how the elevated experience available to passengers will be received.

The first aircraft of the updated fleet touched down in Abu Dhabi in February, marking the beginning of this exciting era for Etihad. The two-class aircraft features Economy and Business Class seating, with 32 Business Suites and 271 seats in Economy.

“We were thrilled to take delivery of three new 787 Dreamliners which offer our newest cabin interiors and the latest inflight entertainment,” Matos says. “These aircraft have only just started flying but we’re sure our

guests are going to love the ability to stream content to their own devices when they purchase a Wi-Fi package.”

The inflight Wi-Fi offerings are available to all passengers travelling on Eithad’s 787 Dreamliner fleet, free of charge.

“Regardless of cabin, all our guests have access to our Wi-Fly Chat and Surf packages. Everyone receives | PAX TECH | 13
Eduardo Matos, Director of Customer Care, Etihad Airways
Etihad’s upgraded Dreamliner fleet features free inflight Wi-Fi for all cabin classes and upgraded entertainment systems

complimentary ‘Chat’ messaging throughout their entire flight by signing in with their Etihad Guest membership,” Matos explains.

He adds that even new members will benefit immediately. This strategic move to increase customer loyalty is one being adopted by many airlines in the current climate, due to the changing demands from passengers. Travellers no longer need to fly with an airline for years and thousands of miles to benefit from the perks of their membership—they can enjoy the same benefits as other passengers straight away, simply by registering for the Etihad Guest Membership and signing in.

Seating and IFEC

Etihad and Viasat are also bringing passengers an entertainment experience akin to what they are used to

in the comfort of their own homes. In addition to free inflight Wi-Fi connectivity on their PEDs, passengers travelling on Etihad’s new 787-9 fleet will have access to live TV channels from 30,000 feet.

“Etihad offers a huge range of programming on E-BOX, including live TV channels such as Sports 24 which has proven very popular,” Matos says. “We’re able to broadcast live coverage of some of the world’s biggest leagues and competitions to passengers inflight, so they don’t miss a minute of the action.”

Etihad’s incoming fleet of 787-9 Dreamliners is also set to elevate the passenger experience with increased living space and comfort. In the 787-9 Economy Class, the seats have a lighter, slimmer profile. They are outfitted with IFE technology from Safran,

featuring RAVE Ultra 13.3-inch 4K touch-screen monitors. Passengers will have the option to pair their personal phones and tablets wirelessly to the screen, using the PEDs as a remote.

Passengers travelling in the new Business cabin will enjoy suites featuring a customized version of the Elements seat manufactured by Collins Aerospace. The suites offer fully lie-flat beds with a 17.3inch 4K screen in each. The IFE system pairs with Bluetooth headphones, offers wireless charging and has plenty of storage space.

Matos explains, “The cabin experience we’ve designed gives our guests a wonderful feeling of space and comfort while also adding to their privacy, something which we recognize is important to our guests in premium cabins.”

14 | PAX TECH | APRIL 2024
Etihad’s upgraded 787 Business Class cabin offers spacious seating for maximized comfort and living space


LSEAT’s Yves Hendrickx reveals how the company’s Economy kit can change the way airlines deliver the Economy Class experience

LSEAT is expanding its presence in the aviation marketplace with announcements scheduled for later this year. Currently, the company is gearing up for the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg.

“Since the beginning of Economy Class, Economy passengers, which make up around 86 percent of the passenger population, have been seated in a chair instead of a seat,” Yves Hendrickx, CEO at LSEAT Engineering, tells PAX Tech.

He explains that the benefit to airlines of adapting LSEAT’s Economy kit allows low-cost carriers to create a more comfortable experience in 20 to 30 percent of seats onboard, offering an ergonomic seat with a sleeping position of up to 45 degrees while maintaining the existing seat pitch. Then, part of a classic Economy

Class cabin can be easily converted into a “Premium Economy Low Cost” without reinvesting in new seating.

The Form 1-issued LSEAT kit is produced by a British company that designs cabin layouts for several airlines and supplies interiors to Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Bentley. Installing the LSEAT kit takes less than 20 minutes. The ergonomic mechanism is activated by the passenger shifting their body weight. Since no power supply is needed for this to occur, the seat and cabin certification can remain unchanged.

According to Hendrickx, the investment in the LSEAT kit pays for itself in less than three months if the airline adds a small markup to the regular Economy Class ticket price for the seats featuring the mechanism.

LSEAT will be exhibiting at the

Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg this May, at booth 6B80. The company will have an Economy Class seat with the kit and another seat without so delegates can experience the additional comfort for themselves. | PAX TECH | 15
The LSEAT solution in Economy Class

Human-centric design

Expliseat’s TiSeat has been selected for the cabin renewal program on Air France subsidiary HOP!

Expliseat tells PAX Tech Air France has selected its TiSeat for the cabin renewal program of its Embraer 190 fleet operated by its regional subsidiary, HOP!

The aircraft will be fitted with a new model of the TiSeat, making Air France the launch customer for the product. The series of seats is set to be unveiled at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg this May.

“Partnering with Air France—known through the airline industry for its high-class brand, aesthetics and engineering standards—marks a pivotal moment for Expliseat in our pursuit of innovation. Together, we’re setting new standards in cabin design. This collaboration underlines Air France confidence in our technology and the commitment to delivering exceptional experiences for all passengers,” says Amaury Barberot, CEO of Expliseat.

The newest iteration of the TiSeat builds upon Expliseat’s patented titanium and composite fiber frame, utilizing its existing lightweight properties for enhanced sustainability. Through collaboration with Air France, this evolution aims to not only reduce seat weight but also to bolster durability, comfort, and design improvements, promising a more robust and enjoyable experience. The seats will be produced at Expliseat’s factory in Angers, France.

Details of the new TiSeat remain confidential until its official unveiling in May, but Expliseat hints at a “new human-centric design philosophy.”

16 | PAX TECH | APRIL 2024
Expliseat’s TiSeat is 30 percent lighter than traditional seats Expliseat’s TiSeat
Air France’s HOP! Embraer 190 aircraft


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A look at how RECARO is delivering an enhanced comfort experience to Air India passengers while prioritizing sustainability and space on Southwest

RECARO Aircraft Seating recently announced partnerships with both Air India and Southwest Airlines, expanding its global reach. The seating giant is retrofitting Economy and Premium Economy Class seats for Air India under the airline’s updated brand identity, delivering a host of ergonomic features. Its Economy seats for Southwest are similarly focused on passenger comfort while supporting the airline’s sustainability initiatives through the lightweight design of the BL3710.

PAX Tech spoke to Dr. Mark Hiller, CEO of RECARO Aircraft Seating and RECARO Holding about these 2024 partnerships and what they represent for the seating company and passengers worldwide.

Comfort and customization for Air India

In February, RECARO and Air India announced that their partnership will see more than 22,000 RECARO seats installed on the airline’s fleet in both line-fit and retrofit programs in the next five to six years. The airline selected the CL3710 and the CL3810 for Economy Class, while the PL3530 will be used to retrofit and line-fit its Premium Economy seats.

In designing the seats for Air India’s Premium Economy and Economy Class, RECARO is customizing the upholstery and trim to reflect the airline’s updated brand identity.

“The dress covers have an embossing effect in the stitch line areas and foam lamination, which adds additional comfort and aesthetic to the seat,” Hiller explains.

18 | PAX TECH | APRIL 2024
The Air India Economy Class seat from RECARO

The initial phase of the retrofit is already underway. RECARO’s PL3530 seats for Premium Economy feature a seven-inch recline and an array of ergonomic features, including a six-way adjustable headrest, designed to elevate the passenger experience.

“The PL3530 was built to elevate sleeping comfort, as the seat structure uses a recline instead of a fixed back shell and an innovative calf rest to increase living space,” says Hiller. “This provides a more supportive ergonomic posture/body opening angle while in a sleeping position.”

Sustainable seating for Southwest

RECARO also announced earlier this year that it is expanding its footprint in the Americas with a BL3710 seat for Southwest Airlines’ 737 MAX 8 Econ-

RECARO’s PL3530 seat for Air India featuring seven-inch recline

omy Class. Hiller tells PAX Tech that the partnership is a long time coming.

“Since RECARO Aircraft Seating expanded to the U.S. 25 years ago, it has been a long-term goal of the Fort Worth, Texas, facility to work with our neighbours – Southwest Airlines,” he explains. “From their servantleadership and people-centric culture to their stance on sustainability and involvement in the community, we see a lot of similarities in the cultures and values at our companies.”

The Fort Worth facility has produced more than 14,000 pax of the award-winning BL3710 seat. Hiller notes that the partnership with Southwest Airlines will expand RECARO’s footprint in the Americas while increasing sustainability.

The BL3710 seat was created for airlines with sustainability at the

forefront. It is a lightweight seat that maintains functionality and prioritizes passenger comfort, allowing airlines to reduce emissions without compromising on the passenger experience. Southwest undertook an extensive research process prior to selecting the seat, including direct feedback from hands-on testing, interactive workshops and comfort studies.

RECARO partnered with Southwest for additional enhancements to the BL3710, adding in-seat power, a personal electronic device holder and dual cup holders on the seatback tray with left-handed passengers in mind. The seats maintain the width and legroom that passengers are accustomed to on Southwest’s existing aircraft configurations.

“Producing the BL3710 locally will make an impact on our development efforts within the Dallas-Fort Worth community as we continue to expand our workforce and onsite capabilities,” Hiller adds. “This partnership will allow RECARO to help provide comfort to millions who travel with Southwest Airlines.” | PAX TECH | 19
RECARO’s PL3530 seat for Air India



Juraj Siska talks caching data, connectivity trends and the future of inflight entertainment as it relates to the Inplay Edge solution from IdeaNova

he demand from passengers for uninterrupted inflight content streaming is ever-growing, but some airlines may not have the necessary bandwidth to keep pace and virtually no airline will have bandwidth for streaming content to all passengers at once. This is where IdeaNova Technologies Inc.’s (IdeaNova) software solution, Inplay Edge, comes into play.

The software package, designed for deployment on pre-existing IFE hardware, presents an opportunity for passengers to load the content they want to watch pre-flight, ensuring they have access to engaging entertainment regardless of the airline’s inflight connectivity solution. PAX Tech spoke with Juraj Siska, Co-Founder of IdeaNova, about

how this software is a solution to a problem plaguing many airlines.

Two benefits to airlines

Siska says there are two primary issues facing airlines when it comes to connectivity and bandwidth limitations.

First, airlines are paying a high cost for connectivity, which scales today because only a few passengers are willing to cross the paywall to access the internet. Secondly, no connectivity provider can guarantee a sufficient level of bandwidth to stream high-quality (full high definition) content to all 300-plus passengers on a large aircraft. He adds that many passengers bring multiple devices onboard, expecting to be able to use them all comfortably.

“Inplay Edge addresses both these problems,” Siska says.

20 | PAX TECH | APRIL 2024
Inplay Edge allows airlines to provide content to 300-plus passengers onboard large aircraft, across multiple devices
Juraj Siska, Co-Founder, IdeaNova

The software allows the existing bandwidth to load content on the aircraft once. Then, content is cached on the aircraft for subsequent users to access via the local area network without costly internet connectivity.

The initial content load for IFE can take a long time, which is why IdeaNova recommends preloading the basic content library outside of the aircraft’s connectivity. The subsequent incremental content upload is much quicker, depending on the bandwidth of the aircraft.

“How often airlines need to load new content really depends upon how much new content they want to provide passengers,” Siska explains. “Typically uploading up-to-date news and current events is hard for tradi-

tional IFEs, whose content upload processes are several days, sometimes even weeks long. With Inplay Edge, this content upload is not only quick but also an economically feasible solution.”

The cost of Inplay Edge is typically license-based, but IdeaNova works with airlines to find a price that meets the needs of their business models. Siska explains that one such possibility is basing the fee for the product on bandwidth cost reduction.

What’s the cache?

Caching refers to the storing of data for future use to accelerate upload times. The cache, rather than the original source, can provide the data instantly, which is why Inplay Edge was created as a software-only

package to be deployed on existing IFE hardware for airlines.

“Inplay Edge operates under constrained network and hardware resource conditions,” Siska says.

“While traditional CDNs operate with a much larger hardware footprint, as they need to satisfy a large population of users, Inplay Edge is custom-built for aviation.”

Siska explains that this allows airlines to control the storage with content that can be either pre-positioned before takeoff, or cached during the flight once it is accessed by the passenger. This solution allows airlines to use existing bandwidth more efficiently.

In terms of what kind of content passengers can access via this cached data, Siska says that once connected | PAX TECH | 21
A passenger holds a tablet with Inplay Edge

to the internet onboard, passengers are bound by the airline’s streaming policies. If the airline allows streaming, they can preload content on the ground and populate the cache with that content even if it is not yet available onboard. Passengers without inflight connectivity can only watch cached content during a flight.

For the initial release of Inplay Edge, IdeaNova is working with content from Amagi and France 24 and is currently in discussion with other content providers.

“A lot will depend on the success of the initial rollout as we believe this will spur further interest both from the demand side as well as from the content offering perspective,” Siska explains. “Using edge caching on an aircraft just makes sense—and it’s something we won’t be able to avoid.”

The potential for content provid-

ers to grow their subscription base through airline passengers is also present, with travellers inputting airline credentials to access content onboard but investing in a continued platform subscription post-flight depending on their viewing experience.

A focus on the passenger experience

Where the passenger experience is concerned, airlines that implement Inplay Edge will be able to deliver quick streaming to travellers at a reduced cost, thanks to the cached data.

The software uses open standards, making it easier to onboard additional content providers, which ultimately gives airlines more diversity in their content selection.

Airlines offering subscription video streaming services can use Inplay Edge to offer passengers access to a

large library of content delivered to passenger devices or even seatback screens without interruptions or the limitations caused by low bandwidth.

Siska explains that airlines can use Inplay Edge to preload news, sports and other TV streaming updates before each flight to enhance the passenger experience.

Talking trends

Looking at movements in the current IFE landscape, Siska names connectivity as the biggest trend. Specifically, he notes that the introduction of Starlink is changing the vendor landscape and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

“Inplay Edge leverages connectivity efficiently and that is why we believe this technology is here to stay and will remain to positively impact aviation customers,” he says.

22 | PAX TECH | APRIL 2024
PAX Tech Publisher Aijaz Kahn (left) with Juraj Siska, Co-Founder, IdeaNova at the PAX Readership Awards 2023 in Hamburg

The future is IFEC

Thales Group’s Celie Navatel explains how the AVANT Up IFE system is closing the gap between at-home entertainment and the IFEC experience

As digital technology advances, the inflight passenger experience is consistently being compared to how a person enjoys their favourite shows, social media platforms and more from the comfort of home. To keep up with the evolving demand, airlines and innovators are faced with the challenge of creating an at-home IFE experience onboard, closing the gap between the ground and the air.

PAX Tech asked Celie Navatel, VP Solution Manager, Thales, about the AVANT Up system, and how Thales is staying ahead of the curve.

Connection and power

Thales’ AVANT Up IFE system features two Bluetooth connections and built-in Wi-Fi, indicating the increasingly close relationship between inflight entertainment and

connectivity. The IFEC system provides services to passengers that will become the standard, Navatel says.

“Connectivity is a major enabler to maximizing the benefit of any IFE system, which is why AVANT Up features the industry’s most wireless connection options with two Bluetooth connections and built-in Wi-Fi in every screen,” Navatel tells PAX Tech. She continues, “Beyond the hardware, connectivity is an important enabler to maximize revenue or loyalty generated from Thales’ suite of digital services.”

Similarly, the wireless connections on the AVANT Up system enable passengers to use multiple devices inflight. Given the rise in demand for Personal Entertainment Devices (PEDs) among passengers, Thales is giving travellers a chance to expand their IFE experience with two Bluetooth connections and built-in Wi-Fi on each screen,

along with 140 watts of charging to keep the device ready for use.

“In a recent online poll, we saw [more than] 85 percent of participants carry more than one Bluetoothenabled device with them while they travel,” Navatel explains. “PEDs are an important expansion to the inflight entertainment experience, so building a system that can interact with phones, earbuds, headphones, etc. is something that has to be considered when designing an IFE system that will be flying for many years to come.” | PAX TECH | 23
The AVANT Up IFE system in black
Celie Navatel, VP Solution Manager, Thales

Thales also understands many passengers prefer to bring their own content for inflight entertainment, which is why they developed PED casting capabilities. Navatel shared that this technology will start flying next year, enabling passengers to enjoy the content on their PED via the seatback entertainment system’s 4K QLED HDR screens.

Screens like you’ve never seen

The AVANT Up IFE System features the latest 4K QLED HDR displays, the industry’s first line of intelligent 4K HDR displays. These screens were developed in partnership with HARMAN, a Samsung Company, to provide a cinematic experience with a crisp display of more than one billion colours.

“Our new Optiq 4K QLED HDR screens have been very well received in the market and have been chosen

by several leading airlines, two of which will start flying with our Optiq screens later this year,” Navatel says.

She continues, “When deciding on what technology to use for an IFE system it is much different than deciding on technology to buy for your home, you have to consider the environment and how the product will be used, and

what is best for the aviation market.” Navatel explains, “A key difference between the QLED in the Optiq screen is that, unlike with OLED technology, the ambient contrast ratio ensures passengers can still enjoy their content when a light is turned on or a window is opened. The image quality is not compromised by factors beyond the

Thales’ Pulse Power Management

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The Optiq 4K QLED screen on the Thales’ AVANT Up IFE system

passenger’s control and the quality of the image does not degrade over time.”

“Combining the leading technology with being first to market means that many seat pairings for our Optiq displays have already been completed and airlines can benefit from reduced lead times,” she continues. “This is an important standard set by Thales, it’s about going beyond bringing the latest IFE technology onboard, by working with a network of partners to get these innovations to the aircraft as quickly as possible.”

Combatting low battery anxiety

With so much pressure to remain connected 24/7, many passengers experience what Navatel calls “low battery anxiety” during a flight unless they have somewhere to charge multiple devices. Thales’ award-winning Pulse Smart Power Management enables fast USB charging, amid rising demand for access to these ports onboard.

“Beyond the trend to USB, we see an increased demand for fair power allocation. Pulse uses a patented power management technology to

dynamically allocate power to eliminate today’s ‘first come, first serve’ power allocation to guarantee all devices get power, regardless of who plugs in first,” Navatel observes.

Thales’ power solution is reducing the stress for passengers, ensuring they do not land without a charged personal device.

Pulse is the only power solution that can power up to four seatback IFE screens as well as charge personal devices, making it an industry

best, Navatel says. It earned Thales a 2022 Crystal Cabin Award for intelligently changing the way power is distributed on the aircraft.

Navatel concludes, “Thales prides itself on best-in-class hardware technology which enables new and innovative digital services to create cuttingedge solutions for our customers. We continue to bring on partners who are industry leaders in their own domain to expand the IFE offering and remain at the forefront of innovation.” | PAX TECH | 25
Emirates will equip its 777X aircraft with Thales’ AVANT Up IFE system for 2025


IFPL Group’s Cobalt Spectrum LED drop-in mood lighting system has been selected by multiple airlines in 2024, providing cost savings and delivering a restful inflight experience for passengers

IFPL Group is lighting up aircraft cabins globally with its Cobalt Spectrum LED drop-in mood lighting product. Electra Airways, BermudAir and WAMOS have selected the lighting this year. IFPL Group tells PAX Tech it expects the momentum to continue, positioning the company for an expanded industry presence as the year progresses.

“We were thrilled to collaborate with Electra Airways, WAMOS and BermudAir on their fleet re-fits,” Dan Rust, Head of Design, IFPL Group, says. “We know from research into passenger comfort that cabin lighting is ranked second only to smell in regard

to a passenger’s well-being and overall flight experience. Lighting plays a huge part of their cabin experience and inevitably leaves a lasting impression.”

A plug and play system

IFPL and Cobalt Aerospace’s Cobalt Spectrum is a true Plug and Play (PnP) system that makes it easy for airlines to directly replace existing OEM fluorescent tubes and upgrade cabin lighting without modifying the aircraft wiring or ballast system. The installation process for Cobalt Spectrum is straightforward requiring minimal downtime and no specialist tools.

“The system can be fully embodied

during a single shift by following our easy-to-follow step-by-step installation procedure,” Rust explains.

Adam Scott, BermudAir, CEO, highlighted the quick and easy process following the airline’s refit.

“The installation took four technicians one full 12-hour shift. We were very happy with the quality and sup-

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IFPL displays its Cobalt Spectrum lighting system Dan Rust, Head of Design, IFPL Group

port the Cobalt team provided to BermudAir,” he said in the press release.

According to Rust, Cobalt Spectrum has the lowest weight and power consumption on the market with an MTBF above 500,000 hours, thereby reducing operational maintenance and spares-related costs. The system also uses Age Correction Technology to extend its lifespan, reducing waste and HazMat expenses. The tubes are eco-friendly, containing zero mercury.

“We are committed to providing our customers with a sustainable and environmentally conscious solution ahead of the impending RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) mandates,” Rust says.

Setting the mood for a restful journey

Lighting inside the cabin has reached a level of sophistication that enables it to create a sense of depth and space, especially when placed strategically. Various features of the Cobalt Spectrum system allow airlines that install the product to control the atmospheric mood and use of branding inside the cabin.

“Lighting is one of the simplest and best ways for airlines to create an environment where passengers can relax and feel comfortable,” IFPL Group explains. “It can be used to give the brain subtle prompts

that can help to lull the body back into a sense of routine, even lessening the effects of jet lag.”

The system can be used to aid the transition from wake to sleep by programming it to reflect natural occurrences like sunrise and sunset. In addition to helping guide passengers on when to sleep during a flight and when to remain awake, the Cobalt Spectrum system can be programmed to include a dining scene that uses warm white light to stimulate the appetite.

“Metabolism is proven to be a significant factor when it comes to jet lag, and lighting can help encourage the brain to recognize this integral part of an evening routine, leading to a restful sleep,” Rust says.

Lighting up AIX

IFPL Group will be attending Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) Hamburg in May and plans to showcase Cobalt Spectrum.

“We have been seeing an increased interest in LED mood lighting for almost a decade now,” Rust explains. “There will soon come a time when white-only fluorescent systems are a relic of the past.”

IFPL’s display will include an aircraft cabin mock-up that will allow visitors to experience the variety of inflight lighting options and transitions avail-

able with the Cobalt Spectrum drop-in mood lighting system first-hand. The company also plans to demonstrate the ease with which an airline can remove existing fluorescent lighting and install the Cobalt Spectrum system in its place. IFPL Group will be exhibiting at booth 4B20. | PAX TECH | 27
A three-zone controller for Cobalt Spectrum LED drop-in mood lighting A depiction of the ballast installation for Cobalt Spectrum


Cabin air quality contributes to the comfort and well-being of passengers and crew alike inflight. Ola Häggfeldt of CTT Systems tells PAX Tech how the company is helping protect against the hostile environment encountered at cruising altitudes

air outdoors, the conversation has moved indoors, and to spaces like the aircraft cabin, where, at 10,000 meters the air becomes extremely dry, an issue exacerbated by the fact air in the cabin is typically refreshed every two minutes, quickly dehydrating people.

This can cause a variety of problems such as dry eyes and respiratory obstructions.

In 2022, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution declaring access to a healthy environment a universal human right.

Reacting to the historic move, SooYoung Hwang, a Legal Officer with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) commented that “the right to breathe clean air is an integral component of the right to a healthy environment.”

While the resolution targets the

Speaking to PAX Tech, Ola Häggfeldt, Chief Commercial Officer of CTT Systems, explains that cabin humidity comes mainly from the passengers’ personal evaporation, which is about 70 grams per hour. It is a simple equation—the less people there are, the dryer the cabin. That is why First Class and the flight deck can feel like a desert environment, while those in Economy have the best air onboard, he says.

But help is at hand to ensure the whole aircraft benefits from good air quality.

CTT Systems’ Humidifier Onboard helps create ground-like levels of humidity, removig the negative impact of dry air

CTT Systems’ Humidifier Onboard, Pure Air, has an active carbon filter that reduces zone and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) —bleed air gases— and eliminates fumes such as exhaust, fuel and de-icing fumes. The result, says Häggfeldt, is that air delivered to the passenger cabin is humidified and filtered to ground-like conditions.

This creates a better working environment for pilots and crew, who can avoid fatigue and a reduced immunity. Ultimately, better health leads to less sick leave for cabin crew. Passengers will also feel better overall, hydrated and rested.

Humidifier Onboard is available as supplier-furnished equipment (SFE) for 787 and 777X aircraft as well as A350 models. It is available as a retrofit option on all aircraft. Retrofitting is easy as installation occurs below the floor of the cargo bay in the triangle area and starts working immediately.

According to Häggfeldt, there are currently more than 60 airlines using Humidifier Onboard for the flight deck and crew rest on 787 and A350 aircraft. Additionally, eight full-service carriers have selected the solution for the passenger cabin, including Air India, China Southern, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, with future deployments set for ANA, Emirates and Qantas

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Air India has recently installed Humidifier Onboard to its A350-900 Business Class cabins Ola Häggfeldt, CCO of CTT Systems

Tracking seating innovation

ABC International is displaying its seat track covers at AIX Hamburg in May

ABC International specializes in cabin modification and revamping projects in a cost-effective way. That is why the company has engineered and certified seat track covers designed specifically for Embraer aircraft cabins. The company is set to showcase the product at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) Hamburg alongside more of its latest solutions and services.

The Italian DOA has manufactured its seat track covers through an extrusion process that uses a high-viscosity self-extinguishing and heat-stabilized PA12 compound for product reliability.

“Designed to cover aircraft seat tracks seamlessly, these covers offer a multitude of benefits that redefine cabin aesthetics and functionality at a very competitive price compared to the market standards,” Rodolfo Baldascino, Chief Commercial Officer at ABC International, tells PAX Tech.

The seat track covers are available in a dark grey colour, but can be customized in other colours upon the airline customer’s request. Delivered in a three-meter bar length (or shorter length as per customer request), they can be cut-to-size to meet a variety of needs for several aircraft.

“One of the standout features

of the seat track covers lies in their adaptability across different aircraft types and models,” Baldascino says. “Thanks to the innovative profile design and the use of premium raw materials, these covers facilitate quick and hassle-free installation onto seat tracks, eliminating any concerns of loosening over time.”

ABC International’s seat track covers are designed for easy installation that saves time and keeps maintenance costs down, improving overall operational efficiency for the airline.

The company will display its innovative seat track covers at Booth 6A79. | PAX TECH | 29
ABC International’s standard dark gray seat track covers Rodolfo Rodolfo Baldascino, Chief Commercial Officer, ABC International
Design underway by the team at ABC International

Innovation and recovery at AIX 2024

The Aircraft Interiors Expo is returning to Hamburg from May 28 to 30, with the Passenger Experience Conference kicking things off a day prior

The Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg is just around the corner, with global industry leaders set to gather for three days of networking, exhibitions and presentations from May 28 to 30 at the Hamburg Messe.

AIX 2024 will welcome more than 40 first-time exhibitors. Notable names joining the IFEC Zone this year include WeSky and Hanwha Phasor. AIX organizers tell PAX Tech there is a continued emphasis on sustainability. As such, PETER/LACKE GmbH, a sustainable raw material coatings provider, and Rosen Aviation, a lightweight carbon fibre OLED display manufacturer, are also exhibiting for the first time.

The highly anticipated Passenger Experience Conference will return to the Hamburg Messe on May 27, starting the festivities before AIX officially opens.

Once AIX kicks off on the 28th, the dedicated seminar, CabinSpace Live, will touch on key topics including, “Connectivity: Perfect partner-

ships” and “New era: The fascinating future of the aircraft cabin.”

A focus on business recovery

“AIX significantly contributes to the recovery of the aviation and aviation interiors industry by providing a platform for collaboration between airlines, designers, engineers, specifiers, manufacturers and the global supply chain,” AIX organizers tell PAX Tech.

Since the pandemic, the event has seen attendance steadily increase, with a nearly 59 percent increase in 2023 from the previous year.

Registration and VIP access

Registration for AIX 2024 is open, and some visitors and exhibitors may want to consider registering as AIX VIPs this year, organizers say. This option is available to airline professionals, leasing companies and BizJet operators. VIPs will have priority access to the show, a discounted rate for the Passenger Experience Conference on May 27th and full access to the Airline Club Lounge. VIP attendees can also utilize a dedicated show-floor entrance and take advantage of upgraded access to the event’s show-planning tool, AIX Connect.

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The Hamburg Messe will host AIX next month On the show floor at AIX 2023
WHERE CABIN CONCEPTS TAKE OFF Aircraft Interiors Expo is the definitive marketplace where everyone involved in developing cabin interiors needs to be. 28 30 MAY 2024 Co-located with: 27 MA Y 2024 In co-operation with: Visit us at: 28 - 30 MAY 2024

Top speakers confirmed for the co-located FTE EMEA and FTE Ancillary & Retailing events in Dublin include:

11-13 JUNE 2024 | THE DUBLIN RDS
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