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Living space or pitch?
little more than a year ago, a BBC television show called Rip Off Britain brought cameras and reporters to talk to a seating company that tried to explain how increased aircraft density does not necessarily mean less space for the passenger. The company, coincidentally named Pitch Aircraft Seating, is one of the firms that has been working hard to change the reputation of decreased seat pitch with its slim intricately configured PF3000 Economy Class seat. In the show, two people from the company, one six-feet five-inches and the other five-feet eight-inches, both took a seat in an Economy Class mockup to show that while certainly tight, both could maintain a level of comfort needed for what is likely a short flight. The program is no longer available in the Rip Off Britain archive but in the consumer world, the controversy over denser airline cabins lives on. In late fall, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration conducted evacuation testing. According to reports, findings by the FAA will be released this summer. More recently, at this year’s APEX Expo in Los Angeles the new curved back Series 6LC seat from Acro Aircraft Seating took center stage for its ability to more comfortably fly passengers in
dense configurations. One of the people sitting in the seat, was the six-foot plus CEO of APEX, Joe Leader, who wrote in a recent publication for Recaro that seat pitch has become an outdated measurement with the modern construction of seating. “When seat pitch is reduced for efficiency by one inch (or 2.5 centimeters), then the counterbalancing facts of gained space are lost to the traveling public,” he writes. However, such a claim would not be lost to someone like Alastair Hamilton of Collins Aerospace who certainly concurs. With technology moving ahead, as well as industrial design and materials, more room can be found in reduced pitch environments. “Pitch is no longer a very good definer of living space,” Hamilton told PAX. “Airlines are trying to optimize the density of their aircraft and in doing that they are reducing pitch, but they are installing the later generation seats that offer equivalent or better living space.” All of this is rather well known to companies that are setting up stands at the Aircraft Interiors Middle East. However, getting the word out to the occasional airline passenger – who tunes into evening shows like Rip Off Britain – will require giant steps to educate in what they see is still a game of inches.
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ISSN 1206-5714 Key title: Pax International
Rick Lundstrom Editor-in-Chief PAX Tech
www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 3
NEW SEATING HORIZONS Commercial aviation is entering the new year with one new aircraft poised for introduction, another posing uncertainty, but with buoyant demand for seating and companies ready to supply solutions
FRONT TO BACK Regent Aerospace Corp. comes to this year’s Aircraft Interiors Middle East with a full portfolio of capabilities at a time when demand for a one-stop shop anywhere in the world is greater than ever
MRO, Interiors & IFEC
ON THE COVER: Read our report on Virgin Australia’s retrofitted 777 and the industry’s current retrofit climate in our MRO special on page 26.
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EDITOR’S NOTE NEWS FACTS & FIGURES
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SKY TRIALS Diehl Aviation is part of the Boeing 2019 ecoDemonstrator program that takes tech from the lab to the sky to test the latest industry innovations
FEBRUARY 2020 | www.pax-intl.com
AIME DUBAI ISSUE
ASTRONICS JOINS THE SMART AIRCRAFT REVOLUTION Jon Neal, President of Astronic’s Ballard Technology, reveals how the Astronics Smart Aircraft System enhances passenger comfort and shares his insight into the future of the connected cabin
CONNECTING ABOVE THE CLOUDS Qatar Airways is the first airline in the Middle East to select Gogo 2Ku for its inflight connectivity system GAMES ABOVE GROUND! The year 2020 is shaping up to be an important one for the niche segment of inflight entertainment gaming with suppliers rolling out new platforms to launch on committed airline customers STAR OF THE SCREEN Burrana is proving there’s plenty of potential in the overhead screen market as it pioneers a new generation 4K product
RETROFIT’S MODERN MAKEOVER Leading interior design companies discuss their approaches to retrofit designs, share their insights on sustainability and highlight successful projects
AIX EXPOSÉ As Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) approaches, PAX Tech highlights some of the many innovative items that will be showcased in Hamburg from March 31 to April 2
LG Display introduces OLED screens for aircraft South Korea-based LG Display has announced that it will provide premium OLED displays for aircraft cabins. OLED video walls made of a series of 55-inch displays installed on the wall of the cabin offer passengers more space and upgrade the inflight experience. The 65-inch Ultra HD Bendable OLED display is flexible at both ends and creates an immersive on-screen image by adjusting the curvature according to passenger preference. The Bendable OLED display is convenient for gaming and watching movies onboard. LG Display’s 55-inch Full HD Transparent OLED display features 40 per cent transparency for use as a partition. The screen can display videos and information, but if passengers prefer privacy, the visor feature can be turned off. The company’s 13.3-inch Plastic OLED tablet will also be placed in the cabin. According to a press release from LG Display at the time of the announcement, the innovative displays meet the versatile needs of passengers and fit the characteristics of cabins, all under the slogan “Your Lifestyle with LG Display.”
LG Display demonstrated its OLED video wall at CES 2020 in Las Vegas in January
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Universal Moment’s Interspace Comfort System features foldable wings for passenger comfort and preference
New Territory unveils Interspace Comfort seat London-based creative firm New Territory revealed details about a new seating project at Shoreditch Studios in London in December during the Aircraft Cabin Innovation Summit. Universal Movement, a new company by New Territory, is launching the Interspace Comfort System. The project is a fresh take on traditional airline seating that aims to increase passenger comfort using a patented wing support system, regardless of cabin class. Interspace features two easily-deployable padded wings that fold out from the seatback so passengers can rotate and lean on a cushioned surface. Passengers also have the option of deploying one wing on either side of adjacent seats, creating privacy for families and groups. The wings are designed with “living hinges.” They fold into the upholstery so passengers can move to and from their seat easily. The hinges are connected at the back of the seat making the wings strong enough to handle pressure from leaning. Wings can be deployed one at time to account for passenger sleeping preference and body shape. The announcement also explained how airlines can brand the inside of the seat’s wings – which can be removed and washed when necessary. Airlines can also embed technology like speakers to create an immersive passenger experience and seatback facial recognition technology options are being explored for future product lines.
YOU’LL WANT TO
SIT DOWN FOR THIS Have a seat in Vector Light at AIX Hamburg Stand 5D10
email@example.com | www.haeco.aero ©2020 HAECO Americas
Recaro digs into expansion project Recaro Aircraft Seating has broken ground on its latest expansion project, which features a customer service area, a flame lab and a crash facility. The company acquired an additional 45,000 square meters and is investing €40 million (US$44.4 million) in the new buildings on 24,000 square meters. The area under construction at Schwäebisch Hall, Germany, features 19,000 square meters of buildings,
approximately 190 parking spaces and a rack for 60 bicycles. The expansion was designed by Maja Djordjevic-Müller and Siegfried Müller of Bürogemeinschaft mdm Architekten. Construction kicked off in December and completion is slated for next summer. The building will be designed as a KfW-Effizienzhaus 55-standard for sustainability. This will be achieved through measures including energy-efficient solar shades and the integration of district heating to improve the end-use of energy. The customer service area will connect production, administration and logistic areas via a central meeting axis. The flame lab will ramp up the facility’s testing capabilities by integrating the fire test chambers with the flame certification tests. By 2021, the facility will have capacity to run 300 dynamic crash tests per year. Other technical features include an Instron crash catapult with a 40-meter track, two preparation rooms for setup and post-processing of seats, and a dummy laboratory with 10 dummies with integrated sensors to analyze possible injury criterion. Finally, a pyrotechnical static inflation test room will be built for development of Recaro Aircraft Seating’s location at Schwäebisch Hall, Germany is getting a major update with a new customer service area, flame lab and crash facility modern retention systems.
STG lights the way with next-gen floor path marking STG Aerospace has launched the next generation of its saf-Tglo® photoluminescent system. SSUL-X is the first photoluminescent emergency floor path system with edge-to-edge color that helps eliminate visible unappealing borders. It offers a range of colors to match airline brands and cabin color schemes, including red for the first time. The floor path comes in a choice of matte or gloss finish. The customizable SSUL-X is easy to install taking less than one hour for 737-800 aircraft. It builds on STG Aerospace’s range of environmentally friendly, non-powered photoluminescent floor path marking products that are available for all aircraft types. The system launched at MRO Europe in October. STG has EASA DOA, POA and FAA PMA approvals, allowing it to design, develop, certify and supply. “As we continue to shape illumination, making flying safer and more cost-effective than ever before, the launch of saf-Tglo® SSUL-X proves we remain committed to innovation,” said Sean O’Kell, Business Unit Director at STG Aerospace, in the release from the company in October.
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The SSUL-X by STG is the first edge-to-edge photoluminescent emergency floorpath system that offers a variety of colors, including red for the first time
’s AC-DC Solutions for Avionics Seat Actuation
Infotainment Water Systems
Power Factor Correction Universal AC Input (1ф or 3ф) Isolated Output 100W, 325W and 750W Units PF > 0.99 / THD < 3% Efficiency > 90% AC Line Filter
Specification Compliance RTCA/DO-160 Airbus ADB0100.1.8
Made in the USA
Boeing 787B3 Boeing D6-36440
Visit SynQor @ AIX Hamburg Stand : 2E65 www.SynQor.com
Boeing D6-44588 CE marked
AIRLINE The Economy Class cabin on Juneyao Air’s A320neo
Juneyao Air taps Recaro for A320neo full cabin seats Juneyao Air debuted its new A320neo aircraft during its first flight in December. The Shanghai-based airline equipped the cabin with Recaro’s BL3530 SWIFT in Economy Class and CL4710 seats in Business Class. Juneyao Air is the first airline to feature the CL4710 in the Asia-Pacific region. Its flagship 787-9 fleet has Recaro CL3710 Economy Class seats. “Our discerning flyers can look forward to a top-of-therange business class seat that offers them greater comfort and premium features,” said Wang Junjin, Chairman of Juneyao Air, in a Recaro press release. “The customized design will support Juneyao Air branding, while the comfort features Recaro is renowned for ensures an excellent passenger experience.” The Recaro CL4710 Business seat features ergonomic design and adjusted calf rest and several configuration possibilities and storage options. It also has an in-arm table with a power outlet and a flexible headrest to lean on even when seated in a sideways resting position. The Recaro BL3530 SWIFT is designed to accommodate personal electronic devices such as a tablet holder, a stowing pocket and power supply.
Burrana appoints new Chief Financial Officer Burrana announced the appointment of Scott Richardson as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective January 1. Richardson will oversee Burrana’s global finance team as well as management of cash flow, financial planning, equity activities and profitability. Richardson brings a wealth of cross-industry experience in accelerating company growth, raising capital, managing investor relations, strategic business planning, handling mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance. “I can’t imagine a more exciting time to join Burrana,” said Richardson. “Burrana is leading the way in new, innovative cabin technologies, challenging and overthrowing legacy ideas.” Richardson holds a Bachelor of Business degree from Queensland University of Technology as well as a Graduate Diploma of Business Administration from Deakin University. Richardson will succeed Andrew Mullis, who served as Burrana (formerly digEcor) CFO for six years. As Chief Financial Officer, Scott Richardson will oversee the company’s global finance team
HAECO Americas names Todd Navin as Chief Financial Officer HAECO Americas announced in December that Todd Navin has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer. Navin’s career in the aerospace finance industry began more than 27 years ago when he joined the Rolls-Royce Energy sector as a recent college graduate. He subsequently served in a variety of operational and customerfacing financial management roles for more than two decades. Navin later moved to Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace where he joined the company’s Hong Kong Aero Engine Services Limited (HAESL) joint venture as General Manager of Finance and Administration. In 2016, he returned to the United States and was named Vice President of Finance for Rolls-Royce North America, Inc.
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“Todd brings an exceptional depth and breadth of finance expertise to HAECO, along with a critical understanding of the industry acquired over two decades as a global senior executive with Rolls-Royce,” said Bill Collins, President of Airframe Services at HAECO Americas, at the time of the appointment.
Trenchard Aviation names Group Sales Marketing Director Trenchard Aviation Group has appointed Neil Watkins to Group Sales & Marketing Director. Watkins will develop a single sales strategy for the Group – which is composed of Aero Technics, Airbase, Servecorp, and Reheat International – and the growth of both revenue and margins. Watkins will continue to hold his current responsibilities for the oversight of Reheat International, a provider of galley, lavatory, cabin and cockpit security equipment, maintenance and repair. “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to help realize the potential of the full Trenchard offer – one of the broadest ranges of cabin products and services available in the market,” said Watkins in a press release from the time of the announcement. “Trenchard has made great progress in recent years and has a strong platform on which to build its next phase of growth,” added Chief Executive Officer Mark Faulkner. “Neil’s appointment forms part of this expansion and I have every confidence that we will benefit greatly from his extensive market knowledge and sales experience.”
Neil Watkins will develop sales strategies across Trenchard’s group of companies
Four companies collaborate on human-centric lighting solution At the Dubai Air Show in November, SCHOTT, jetlite, Etihad zone flights. According to a release at the time of the Engineering and Lufthansa Technik signed a ceremonial announcement, automated cabin lighting scenarios will letter to further explore and promote a new human-cenaffect passenger well-being by reducing jet lag and headtric lighting technology. The system combines SCHOTT’s aches and enabling higher concentration and energy levels. experienced cabin lighting systems, jetlite’s holistic solution to jetlag and Etihad Engineering and Lufthansa Technik’s expertise in aircraft systems integration, design certification and innovation capabilities. The solution integrates SCHOTT’s HelioJet® LED cabin lighting, which emits homogeneous light and high-color stability throughout the cabin, and jetlite’s automation software into Lufthansa Technik’s cabin lighting control system. The lighting-pilot technology calculates and executes the ideal illumination sequence for any flight route without Signees from left to right – Dr. Achim Leder (Founder & CEO Jetlite GmbH), Abdul the need for cabin crew to intervene. Khaliq Saeed (CEO Etihad Engineering), Bernhardt Randerath (VP Design, Engineering & Innovation Etihad Engineering), Niels Dose (Manager Product Sales Lufthansa The technology aims to reduce jet Technik AG, Dr. Armin Plichta (Director Aviation & Automotive Schott AG) lag and other symptoms of multi-time
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NEW SEATING HORIZONS The Eclipse seat from HAECO Americas is designed for a home in Premium Economy or Business Class
Commercial aviation is entering the new year with one new aircraft poised for introduction, another posing uncertainty, but with buoyant demand for seating and companies ready to supply solutions by RICK LUNDSTROM
he start of the new decade seems to be in stride with the start of something new in commercial aviation. By next year, a new aircraft in the 777X is scheduled to be delivered to Boeing’s first customers. Meanwhile, the 737 MAX remains grounded with an uncertain future that is affecting the plans of many MRO companies, suppliers and airlines that will be gathering in Dubai for this year’s AIME. The problems are casting a shadow over what the experts say is otherwise a healthy business climate with a significant portion of the growth coming from the Middle East. “The MAX’s issues are having an impact because they are delaying both fleet decisions and interior upgrades or replacement decisions,” says Doug Rasmussen, President and Group Director at HAECO Americas in Greensboro, North Carolina, during an interview with PAX Tech. Tarsus F & E, organizers of the
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For its A321 aircraft, La Compagnie opted for the Diamond seat from Collins Aerospace
annual AIME event held February 25 to 26, cite reports that the aircraft interiors industry is growing at the compound annual rate of 5.87 percent with an estimated worth of US$40.2 billion. Some of the main players in the industry are setting up shop in the Middle East. Trenchard Aviation Group recently gained regulatory approval for an MRO facility in Dubai; and AIM Altitude operates a manufacturing and services facility in Abu Dhabi. From now until summer, seat makers will be busy making proposals to airlines and working on new products that they will show the industry at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. At the
beginning of this year, seatmaker Recaro noted a record-breaking 2019, earning the company €600 million (US$663 million) by the end of October. Recaro pioneered the first connected seat for Economy Class. TAP Air Portugal is testing the company’s iSeat, equipped with sensors that analyze seat performance. PAX Tech interviewed seat makers in January to get exclusive news about launches that were previously under wraps, as well as details about cabin outfitting projects – some of which have interesting layouts, such as the all Business Class cabin operated with A321neo aircraft by French carrier La Compagnie. The airline selected the Diamond seat
by Collins Aerospace for the 76-passenger cabin. La Compagnie has cleared many of the business hurdles associated with startups of its type, operating since 2014 on routes between New York/Newark and Paris Orly or Nice Côte d’Azur. The first new cabins were flying in June of last year. Collins customized the seat for La Compagnie in its Miami facility. Also, in the summer of 2019, Collins Aerospace announced it would supply its Super Diamond Business Class seat to Kuwait Airways along with its Essence™ galley inserts. Kuwait Airways was the 20th airline to take the Super Diamond and will operate a 32-passenger Business Class cabin in a 1-2-1 configuration. For
Boxmark’s design on the move Austrian leather specialist Boxmark supplies seating products to several industries, and at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Middle East and Aircraft Interiors Expo Hamburg, the company will be showing its capability for designing a product that looks good sitting still or on the move. “We believe that we have recognized that the designers are looking for new ways to bring the sense of a living space into the aircraft,” says Rupert Gollner, Head of the Air Division at Boxmark. Passengers also want to enjoy the convenience of their home while flying. “With the Business Class bench, which we are presenting at AIX in Hamburg, we are adding various design elements, such as quilting or handcrafted embroidery, to show how to follow the trend towards greater comfort but also individualization,” Gollner adds. That design, done on a seat by Stelia borrows heavily from the company’s work in automobiles. Another seat for Economy Class, done up in blue, white and brown, will be on display in Dubai. Both seats show a mixture of sewing and stitching that give the end product a three-dimensional effect that can be done through a multi-step process of scanning and design. Boxmark supplies seating products for German, Asian and U.S. automakers, as well as hotels. In Hamburg, the company is also planning to meet with designers who work with airports to develop a line of seating for the Business Class and First Class lounges. The company’s Xtreme Leather product is well suited for the airport environment as it can stand up to use indoors and outdoors. Boxmark also plans to add features such as charging stations, heating and cooling to make the product attractive for use in airport lounges. A stylish design from Boxmark is on this seat manufactured by Stelia
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Latitude Aero announces new Washington location
President and CEO Kelvin Boyette of Latitude Aero
Latitude Aero is expanding its global reach and opening a new location in Burlington, Washington, north of Seattle. The new facility received its FAA Certification in December and the company expects to start production there February 1. Latitude Aero is a Greensboro, North Carolina-based aircraft seating overhaul provider that specializes in the integration of inflight entertainment (IFE) and in-seat power (ISPS). The new shop in the Seattle area will service the OEM customer base on the West Coast and would allow Latitude Aero to provide maintenance and repair to all of North America. “Our new Burlington shop will create fresh revenue and labor here in Greensboro,” President and CEO Kelvin Boyette. “By operating two facilities, we’re now able to take on larger projects, run production simultaneously, and provide overflow relief for our second location. “We are working closely with the Skagit County Economic Development team to staff and grow our team in Burlington and the Seattle Region. We hope to welcome 10 to 15 team members who will receive training and professional development.”
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Collins Aerospace, the new contract resulted in more than 10,000 Super Diamonds flying on airlines worldwide. Alastair Hamilton, Collins’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Aircraft Seating says the company is taking up much of its time at the start of this year with airlines that are taking the 777X. “Most of our life has revolved around campaigns,” he tells PAX Tech. “We have been working very closely with the airlines, trying to win their 777X positions. We are fortunate that we have won our share.” For passengers, the new aircraft will mean new features built for comfort. Like the 787 Dreamliner, the 777X will have larger windows and an interior that has improved humidity and temperature control. For seat makers, the thinner walls have added four inches of additional space which means airlines can select wider seats and have more options with cabin configuration. The world’s legacy carriers like Emirates, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific, have all been busy selecting the look and features of the new jet. Collins has a number of new products in development this year and plans additional announcements at AIX in Hamburg. “I think 2020 is going to be a very exciting year going into 2021 in terms of product rollouts with new deliveries to various airlines,” Hamilton says.
Last year, HAECO Americas debuted a product based on a broad look across the industry, bringing in the needs of airlines to supply long-haul Premium Economy and narrow body Business Class. Thus, a new seat built with elements that stress privacy, comfort and passenger space in a fixed-back shell was introduced in Hamburg last year. Shortly after debut, the Eclipse seat has won a launch customer in a Middle Eastern airline that is scheduled
to receive its first shipset this year. For HAECO, the Eclipse is an answer for airline cabins that are undergoing rapid changes. Rasmussen points out that the First Class cabin is giving way to a full featured Business Class with lie-flat seating and privacy. At the same time, passengers are seeing the value in spending the extra money to purchase extra comfort, making Premium Economy a profitable piece of real estate within the cabin. The Eclipse is designed for that space in wide-body aircraft while serving the front cabin on narrow bodies. HAECO will be showing the Eclipse to invitation only potential customers in Dubai. The unique advantages of the Eclipse seat, together with the integrated cabin can create up to a 14 percent increase in passenger space within the same cabin, said Rasmussen in the announcement of the Eclipse last year. In addition to manufacturing seating, HAECO is a significant player in the aircraft reconfiguration marketplace. Rasmussen said this segment of the company’s business will be particularly important as a large portion of the world’s fleet purchased 10 to 15 years ago will require those services. “Those aircraft are at that stage where some are coming off lease and others are just in need of upgrading their interiors,” Rasmussen says. Products like the HAECO Vector V2 Economy Seat with enhanced functionality and Vector Premium Economy Class seat are suited for aircraft with higher density configurations needing a seat that weighs less. In November of 2018, HAECO completed such a project on four A330-200s for Virgin Atlantic Airways. The aircraft received a nose-to-tail makeover with new Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class seating along with new carpets, upgraded inflight entertainment and modified lavatories. The work was completed at HAECO’s plant in Xiamen, China. Previously, the company did the same modifications for Virgin Atlantic’s 747-400 and A330-300.
Front to back Regent Aerospace Corp. comes to this year’s Aircraft Interiors Middle East with its full portfolio capabilities at a time when demand for a one-stop shop anywhere in the world is greater than ever by RICK LUNDSTROM
Reza Soltanian, President of Regent Aerospace Corporation, says the company is focusing on plans to expand its repair, refurbishments and overhaul capabilities in Asia, the Middle East and possibly Europe
eza Soltanian, President of Regent Aerospace Corporation, looked across the interiors MRO world in January and saw a need for his company to expand from its many locations to meet the needs of a long list of legacy and new airlines, leasing companies and MRO airframe who are anxious for cabin interiors retrofit, reconfiguration, refurbishment and repair. One of those areas in particular was the Middle East. “Our plan is to expand our footprint in Asia and the Middle East and perhaps Europe,” he tells PAX Tech. Since the company was founded in 1993, Regent Aerospace has spread far and wide from its headquarters in Valencia, California where it employs 200 of its 400-person workforce. Regent bills itself as the world’s largest independent Part 145 repair station and there are few, if any, sections of the aircraft cabin that the company has not tackled in building its worldwide customer base.
The Regent banner can be seen at facilities in the United States, Mexico, Indonesia, Israel, China and El Salvador. “In the Middle East, most of the airlines are getting used to installing new interiors every few years,” Soltanian says. In the past, he adds, cost for the work was not the factor that it is today. To help the save money he says the company is uniquely suited with its specialty as a PMA/OOPP parts supplier and maker. Also, airlines out of the region often send aircraft to Asia for heavy maintenance and airframe work where Regent has support facilities. In the next four years, Soltanian says that aircraft in greater numbers around the world will be coming off leases and changing hands from one airline to another. This will require the company’s full line of capabilities in cabin configuration and modification, repair and refurbishment, seating, inflight entertainment, windows, galley equipment and monuments. In a short time and within cost, Soltanian said
Regent can dig into its massive inventory and outfit from several hundred shipsets of seating and perform the necessary tests to get them flying. At this year’s AIME the company will be highlighting some of its core competencies to visitors at its stand. One example Soltanian stressed will be meeting the need of airlines installing new inflight entertainment systems in existing seating. He said Regent specializes in seating to integrate the newest in inflight entertainment systems and resizing the seatbacks to accommodate new monitors. The company also specializes outfitting interiors of VIP and VVIP aircraft that are commonly flying out of airports in the region. The company also specializes outfitting interiors of VIP and VVIP aircraft that are commonly flying out of airports in the region. From regional jets to the luxury 787s, the company does complete repair, refurbishments and overhaul as well as full engineering, testing and certifications (FAA- EASA and DGCA). www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 15
ASTRONICS JOINS THE SMART AIRCRAFT REVOLUTION Jon Neal, President of Astronic’s Ballard Technology, reveals how the Astronics Smart Aircraft System enhances passenger comfort and shares his insight into the future of the connected cabin by MARY JANE PITTILLA
The Astronics Smart Aircraft System server collects data from hundreds of sensors simultaneously to deliver actionable information to the crew
The Astronics Intelligent Bin Solution uses IoT connection technologies to detect and report in real-time remaining bin space available and environmental status
Jon Neal, President, Astronics Ballard Technology
hile airline cabins seem like complex and intelligent wonders today, there are plans ahead to make them even more intuitive to meet passenger needs in the future. Up and down the industry, passenger experience has been taking center stage in discussions, research and development. Astronics, has been showing potential customers a range of products designed to enhance that experience. In this PAX Tech Industry Q and A, Jon Neal, President of one of the company’s divisions, talks about the Smart Aircraft System.
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PAX TECH: What’s the background to the Astronics Smart Aircraft System? Why and when did you begin this initiative? JON NEAL: Astronics has a history of developing products that provide operational value to commercial airline partners, such as our industry-leading in-seat power systems. We began working on the Astronics Smart Aircraft initiative several years ago with the application of sensors and wireless IoT networks, along with the development of a new generation of wireless Aircraft Interface Devices (AIDs). The goals of the systems are to provide an easy retrofit option on existing aircraft and to serve as a cost-effective, high-performance backbone to enable the autonomous collection of data from hundreds to thousands of sensors. Airlines can then use this data to increase operational efficiency and safety. Astronics has been granted several patents on the innovative technology with other patents pending. PAX: Please give an overview of the system. What is the technology behind it and how will it benefit airlines? NEAL: The Astronics Smart Aircraft System combines specially designed sensors, a scalable and reliable Internet of Things (IoT) network, an open-architecture wireless communications server, and flexible software to detect and report in real-time on the wide variety of data received from the sensors. Using the Astronics Intelligent Bin Solution as an example, special strip sensors are easily installed in the overhead bins of commercial aircraft. These sensors collect and transmit two types of data through the system for immediate use by the airline:
• Bin volume status – The system provides information on the remaining space available in overhead stowage bins, which can speed aircraft boarding processes and reduce passenger stress. • Bin environment status – The system reports the temperature, humidity, pressure and air quality within the bin, which can help to detect outgassing events, such as those that precede a lithium-ion battery fire, to increase safety and avoid costly aircraft diversions. This system puts useful and actionable digital information regarding bin status directly into the hands of the flight and gate crews, resulting in increased airline efficiency, improved passenger satisfaction, and higher cabin safety. But it doesn’t stop there; this information can be transferred off aircraft and combined with other relevant data for fleet-wide insights into potential inefficiencies, issues and improvements. PAX: What are the USPs of the bin sensing solution? NEAL: Astronics designed the Intelligent Bin Sensing Solution as a simple, safe and secure retrofit solution. The plug-and-play nature of the Smart Aircraft System means it is easy to install, easy to program and easy to operate. And, when needed, it’s easy to expand. Here are some specific benefits for both the passenger and operator: Passenger benefits include reducing stress and smoothing the boarding process. The system provides data to the crew to enable: • Reduced boarding time – crew can quickly direct passengers to available bin locations; • Reduced passenger frustration – aids in efficiently using all remaining bin space, alerting gate crew exactly when it is necessary to start checking bags; • Increased safety – senses lithium-ion battery outgassing, increasing the chance of preventative fire containment; • Reduced lost items – alerts crew about very small items left behind in a bin, such as a Kindle or an iPad, to allow return to passengers before they leave the gate area. Operator benefits include increasing airline efficiency, which translates directly to cost savings, as follows: • Higher gate and cabin crew efficiency, as real-time data eliminates guessing and use of crew time to check closed bins; • Optimizing the boarding process – historic data collected by the system allows airline to profile different boarding techniques and measure effectiveness; • Reducing emergency diversions – bin air quality detection allows early containment of potential battery fire events, possibly avoiding expensive aircraft diversions; • Easy-to-install, retrofit solutions – peel ‘n stick installation requires no wiring or long aircraft down times;
• Easy integration with existing systems – data from the system can be incorporated into existing crew applications; • Secure operation – its separate network is secure from the passenger network; • Expandable – Astronics Smart Aircraft System is easily expanded with other IoT sensing solutions, such as lavatory and seat occupancy detection and RFID/asset detection. PAX: How will the initiative enhance the passenger experience? NEAL: In general, the Astronics Smart Aircraft System enhances the passenger experience by increasing overall satisfaction with the airline and the trip experience. Like the benefits of the Astronics Intelligent Bin Solution, the system improves efficiency so that passengers can board the plane quicker, the plane can be readied for takeoff faster and aircraft health data is monitored inflight. This results in fewer delayed flights and inflight diversions that can lead to missed connections and late arrivals. PAX: How important is the connected cabin becoming to airlines? NEAL: Historically, airlines have used the connected cabin to provide passengers with internet connectivity and entertainment. More and more, from our discussions with airlines, we believe they are seeing the potential to leverage the cabin connectivity system to provide operational benefits for themselves. The Astronics Smart Aircraft System integrates with existing cabin connectivity hardware to provide a cost-effective way to help our airline customers realize these operational benefits. PAX: How do you see the future of the connected cabin? NEAL: We envision the future connected cabin to include virtually all systems in the cabin environment actively reporting their own health and other relevant information for use on and off the aircraft. Within this scenario, we believe that the experience of passengers and crew will be greatly enhanced by data being used and combined to anticipate their needs. In addition, airline operations will be immediately notified of any cabin maintenance issues that occur for quick service upon arrival. As a result, air travel becomes cohesive and consistent with the expectations that we have become accustomed to in a modern digital age. PAX: What is in the pipeline for Astronics? Are you working on any other smart cabin initiatives? NEAL: While we at Astronics are continually working on new products in our Smart Aircraft initiative, we are not able to share any news about future cabin products at this time. However, we are also working on initiatives outside of the cabin. One in particular that I can talk about involves our recent acquisition of the Inflight Warning Systems (IWS) product line. The IWS Predictive Vibration Monitor Units are used to predict fan and other rotating-component failures on commercial aircraft, eliminating costly flight disruptions. This acquisition will enhance our ability to develop the next generation of predictive monitoring solutions as part of the Astronics Smart Aircraft initiative.
www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 17
trials by JANE HOBSON
Diehl Aviation is part of Boeing’s 2019 ecoDemonstrator program that takes tech from the lab to the sky to test the latest industry innovations
The Boeing 2019 ecoDemonstrator 777 is testing 50 innovative technologies for galleys, seats, lavatories and more
tech suppliers race to keep up with the demand of modern travelers, smart and intelligent cabins are on-track to become the norm of the future. Whether its solutions that improve safety, reduce fuel use and emissions, or enhance cabin amenities, galleys, seats and lavatories, the latest innovations aim to improve the challenges facing airlines, passengers and the environment today. But, before these smart technologies can solve anything, they must be tried in the sky. The Boeing ecoDemonstrator Program is perhaps one of the most well-known tech-testing initiatives in the aerospace industry today. The program, created in 2010, accelerates innovation by taking promising aircraft technologies out of the lab and testing them in the air. A different aircraft is used each year as a flying test-bed to evaluate projects. Since 2012, the program has tested 100 technologies on five aircraft, and more than one third of the tested innovations have been classified as ready for implementation. Announced in July, the 2019 ecoDemonstrator 777-200 is testing 50 technologies, including shape-memory alloy parts from NASA, as well as a variety of connected cabin technologies that make galleys, seats and lavatories smart, monitor cabin conditions such as temperature and humidity to facilitate automatic adjustments, and use organic LED displays on bulkheads and in the ceiling to inform and entertain passengers. Innovations from KID-Systeme, Etihad Engineering,
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Diehl’s eSmart Galley monument is equipped with multiple sensors, an Air Refrigeration Unit and a newly developed smart panel that allows the crew to control the galley via a touch display
Collins Aerospace, Bühler Motor, Jeppesen, Safran, Embraer, Honeywell and Diehl Aviation make the list of partners on the flying test-bed. ecoDemonstrator flight-tests started last November and mainly concentrated in the Seattle area, but made one special stop made at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) on November 19 and 20, 2019. Organized by Boeing and Fraport, the ecoDemonstrator European Expo invited government officials, industry represents and STEM students to attend the technology exhibition, listen to presentations and go aboard the 777. More than 1,200 visitors toured the aircraft during its Frankfurt stay. During the ecoDemonstrator’s static display in Germany, integrated cabin interiors company Safran Cabin announced the launch of SOPHY on the test-bed as part of its Smart System Integrator Galley. The smart trolley solution optimizes catering operations by collecting, sharing and communicating data in real-time with other SOPHY-activated equipment through a ‘mesh’ network. Among other partners, KID-Systeme also joined the i+sCabin project to test communications standards, wireless communication sensor networks and smart functions of galleys, as well as to collect data for predictive health monitoring. The communication standard project is expected to be finalized in 2021. Diehl Aviation is testing its eSmart Galley monument on the ecoDemonstrator 777. Tammo Bahns, Predevelopment Cabin Monuments, Diehl, tells PAX Tech the galley monument is a prototype of Diehl Aviation’s idea of a smart galley. It is equipped with multiple sensors, an Air Refrigeration Unit and a newly developed smart panel. The smart panel is the central control unit of the eSmart Galley. The crew can control the galley via a touch display. In the background, the smart panel performs power management functions and connects the galley and its data to the cabin network. “The ecoDemonstrator is a perfect fit because we test and gather feedback about the galley and the cabin network communication under real flight conditions,” Bahns says. “A goal is to motivate more airlines to participate in the development of the communication standard.” Diehl Aviation is also consortium leader for Intelligent and Smart Cabin (i+sCabin), an ecoDemonstrator partner consisting of several other companies and organizations. The goal of i+sCabin is to facilitate the collection and exchange of data to generate a real-time status of all aircraft cabin areas during flight, and eventually a standard for cabin communications. Diehl was chosen as the consortium leader by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) within the LuFo V-3 program. Diehl has a history running successful LuFo research programs. “Similar to Internet of Things (IoT) standards, the i+sCabin specifies communication protocols to connect intelligent cabin systems and sensors,” Marvin Ehrmann, Diehl’s Product Manager of Aircraft Systems, told PAX Tech in January. “To facilitate industry wide adoption, open protocols are used. The goal is to facilitate different use cases ranging from predictive maintenance to cabin crew operations and passenger comfort.” Diehl is also part of OPstimal, another research project funded by BMWi as part of LuFo. On board Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator as well, and marking Diehl’s third involvement, OPstimal is concerned with turn-
around processes, Ehrmann says. It looks at predictive maintenance of cabin and avionics components. Connected cabin technologies is one of Diehl’s strongest development focuses right now, and the company’s involvement with the 2019 ecoDemonstrator is just one of the many ways Diehl is showing the industry its strength in innovation. Diehl’s Cabin Area Network System and Service (CANSAS) is a modular cabin management system with a scope of operation of almost all aircraft cabin functions, which is available on an open platform. Whether it’s inflight entertainment, social media, lighting or one of the many functions in the lavatory, galleys or seats, CANSAS brings cabin functions together in one place. The base network functions as the control foundation and communications interface, with high data-transfer rates. This setup makes it easier to integrate onboard and on-ground services for multiple cabin elements. Diehl’s Bookable Bin enhances the pre-boarding experience for passengers by enabling travelers to reserve the luggage space they require before arriving at the airport. This takes pressure off cabin crew as they no longer have to spend time trying to stow luggage. Cabin crew are also alerted about the boarding process, free space, potential damage to luggage and whether the bins are securely closed. This data is transferred automatically via an interface to the relevant MRO provider at the destination airport so that any potential problems can be addressed before landing. The data collected can then be used in Big Data and predictive maintenance procedures. “Product innovations from Diehl Aviation don’t just make the aircraft cabin a smart place – they are set to enhance the entire passenger experience, all the way from pre-boarding,” explains Ehrmann. “These innovations are also designed to be easy to use for all, from airline operators to MRO service providers.” In the future, Ehrmann says users will be able to create profiles on a smartphone or tablet application that allows them to select their meals, drinks and entertainment packages in advance, specify their language and lighting of choice, and even choose the most direct route to their seats. “Using a corresponding interface, crew will be able to manage armrest and seatback positions, tray tables, safety belts, water tanks, soap dispensers and so on,” Ehrmann says. “For example, if one passenger’s safety belt isn’t correctly inserted or the seatback is not upright on take-off or landing, a sensor will send a signal to the crew’s end device so they are able to rectify the situation immediately.” Diehl is also making a move to offer comprehensive and inclusive services in the future, rather than just innovative products. The focus on creating new hardware will continue, but the company will offer additional options such as ‘lease your system,’ using Diehl’s powder coating. Using this technique, Diehl could use all the white surfaces in the cabin as smart surfaces for projection systems. The carrier can display its branding or lease the space for adverts. “This is a completely new business field that could be of considerable significance to a wide variety of lessors, airlines and brands,” said Ehrmann. In the meantime, Diehl will continue gathering data from its participation in the i+sCabin research project, which will run until 2021.
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Qsuite’s movable panels allow passengers to transform their space into a fully connected area for work, dining and socializing at 40,000 feet
Connecting above the
clouds Qatar Airways is the first airline in the Middle East to select Gogo 2Ku for its inflight connectivity system by SABRINA PIRILLO
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atar Airways is equipping a substantial portion of its fleet with 2Ku high-speed inflight connectivity by Gogo. Broadband connectivity and live TV, both from Chicago-based Gogo, will be installed on 70 aircraft, including the 787-9, 787-8 and A380 as part of a contract signed by Qatar Airways and Gogo in November. The 2Ku product is designed and developed to deliver a ground-like internet experience for passengers. “Having access to the Internet, and being connected and available, is critical for passengers,” said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, at the time of the announcement. “The demand for bandwidth will only increase and we are proud to be able to provide our customers with an excellent connectivity experience with Gogo 2Ku.” In February 2017, Gogo 2Ku technology hit a performancehigh of 100 megabytes per second during a test flight, and since then the capability has been installed on more than 600 aircraft flying to more than 80 countries with a backlog of 1,400 aircraft. Other Gogo 2Ku partners include Air Canada, Air France, British Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Japan Transocean Air, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic. “We are thrilled to partner with Qatar Airways to bring their guests a new inflight connectivity experience with 2Ku,” said Oakleigh Thorne, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gogo. “Qatar Airways continues to set the industry benchmark for customer experience, winning the
prestigious Skytrax award for World’s Best Airline in 2019 for a record fifth time. With 2Ku’s superior bandwidth and coverage, Gogo is proud to offer a premium connectivity service in keeping with Qatar Airways’ exacting standards.” The high-speed Wi-Fi launch will be coupled with live TV and connects to passenger devices and seatback screens. The first installation is scheduled for early 2020. The next-generation modem delivers peak antenna speeds of 70+ megabytes per second and is forward-compatible with future Ku satellites, including high-throughput satellites (HTS) and low earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The Gogo 2Ku antenna offers superior performance, including areas located around the Equator. With gate-to-gate availability and twice the spectral efficiency of conventional aero antennas, passengers can stay connected for the entire journey with more bandwidth at a lesser cost. The 2Ku antenna employs a symmetrical, phased-array design: a set of two antennas that transmit and receive in any direction without tilting or vertical motion. This design uses significantly fewer moving parts with no stepper motors, belts, pulleys or gears needed to interact with the dual apertures. The result is a reliable design with fewer potential breakdowns. The low-profile form factor of the 2Ku antenna rises four inches above the aircraft versus the eight-to-12-inch tall design of its gimballed counterpart opting for a more aesthetically discreet radome that passes bird-strike test protocols and reduces overall drag and fuel burn. This lessens drag that contributes to the aircraft’s payload and range. And, less fuel burn can generate up to $25,000 in annual fuel savings per aircraft. With a dual phased array antenna, the 2Ku antenna aperture is four times the surface area of conventional aero antennas, effectively doubling spectral efficiency and delivering economical bandwidth capacity. The 2Ku dual antenna and innovative modem are equipped to deliver
peak speeds of 200+ megabytes per second to the cabin, able to keep pace with future upgraded satellites. PAX Tech caught up with Qatar Airways’ Ms. Salam Al Shawa, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications, in January. Al Shawa stressed that the connectivity strategy for Qatar Airways goes far beyond the provision of simply offering Wi-Fi to passengers onboard. Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ inflight entertainment system, offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music and games. Live TV is also an important aspect of Qatar’s connectivity strategy. The TV channel selections, which are currently being finalized, will appeal to all audiences and inflight connectivity will be available to all cabin classes. Throughout last year, 32 new aircraft were delivered to Qatar’s Doha headquarters, including its 250th last March, an A350-900. As of the end of the year, combined passenger, cargo and Qatar Executive fleet totaled 259 aircraft. In January 2019, Qatar Airways announced that it had switched an order for 10 A321neos to A321LRs, a longer-range variant that will allow the airline to connect with new growing markets from the country’s capital. It also added a number of new destinations to its network including Langkawi, Malaysia and Gaborone, Botswana, with plans to add Luanda, Angola and Osaka, Japan this year. Qatar Airways established its passenger experience reputation with several firsts. The airline continues to roll out its Qsuite, the industry’s first-ever double bed in Business Class, as well as privacy panels that stow away so passengers in adjoining seats can create their own private room. It is the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance oneworld, giving its passengers access to benefits at more than 1,000 airports in 160 countries with 14,250 daily departures.
Qatar Airways’ inflight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 options
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Games above ground! Representatives from Gladi8tor were aboard the Lufthansa Flying Lab in September showing passengers the Galaxy Duel game
The year 2020 is shaping up to be an important one for the niche segment of inflight entertainment gaming with suppliers rolling out new platforms to launch on committed airline customers by RICK LUNDSTROM
aken as a whole, the size and growth of computer gaming and e-sports can appear even more staggering than the projected growth in airline passengers in the years to come. Estimates place worldwide gaming sales in the hundreds of billions and hardcore gamers in the hundreds of millions. With the two industries moving in stride at a breakneck pace, it only makes sense that demand for both travel and gaming should come together inflight – either in a handheld device or a seatback screen – for passengers engrossed by fast-paced shoot ‘em ups and cute children’s games that help pass the time. This year, at least two major inflight suppliers plan to place new gaming content in the cabins of several airlines. The content is tailored to be used with both seatback screens, personal devices and some can even be taken off the aircraft with passengers, all enhancing an airline’s brand and the customer experience. The outside gaming world is
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largely shaping the gaming passenger experience inside the cabin. Newzoo, a company that follows gamers, said that in 2019 the global games market was approaching US$150 billion. In addition, the company reported that an audience approaching half a billion will be watching, commenting and following e-sports gamers in booming competition by the end of this year. E-sports is a form of sport competition with video games. E-sports can be organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individuals or teams. One of the most anticipated e-sport events is the annual Fortnite World Cup, which last year gave out US$100 million in prize money. American teenager, Kyle Giersdorf, won $3 million in July of last year playing the popular online video game, Fortnite. Kyle goes by the gamer handle Bugha. The e-sports industry has spun off a vast array of products from gaming furniture to clothing.
Panasonic picked Toca Boca to develop a large number of games in its portfolio
Naturally, the same gamers and e-sports fans will be boarding aircraft in large numbers, and at least two European airlines will be offering them a chance to fight for the future of the galaxy. The IFE industry will have its own, semi-official game devoted solely for airline use, but not limited to the cabin. Visitors saw the first glimpse the new inflight gaming component Galaxy Duel at last year’s Airline Passenger Experience Association exhibition and at a pre-conference aboard the Lufthansa Flying Lab (Lufthansa Flight 452 from Munich to Los Angeles) sponsored by Lufthansa Systems. The Lufthansa Group company developed Galaxy Duel with the help of gaming provider Gladi8tor.
Galaxy Duel was originally a fantasy card game that has been digitally adapted and integrated into the Lufthansa Systems’ IFE solution BoardConnect. The open IT platform is now flying on 17 airlines and nearly 900 aircraft. Passengers on two European airlines are scheduled to get the first chances to interact with Galaxy Duel sometime this year. Playing the game, however, is only part of the plan for the future of content. Like the aforementioned e-sports, users will be able to take part in league play, with leaderboards and live streaming even after they have left the aircraft. Galaxy Duel will be a way for airlines to create passenger loyalty and create a branding opportunity, says Paul
Staadegaard, Chief Commercial Officer for Netherlands-based Gladi8tor. So far, Lufthansa Systems says the launch has generated great interest – from its customer base for the ability to bring the game home, and for its potential as a revenue source. “The opportunity to generate revenues through advertising and e-commerce is something we are very keen on providing to all our clients,” says Dirk Ottens, Senior Manager Content and Media Strategy at Lufthansa Systems. Through Lufthansa Systems the new BoardConnect Dock platform, airlines can expand inflight entertainment options and offer a wide range of personalized services. The experience of streaming Galaxy Duel onboard an aircraft rivals the resolution of games played on the ground, says Ottens, adding that it will be available to any passenger on board. “Gaming is much less consuming in terms of Wi-Fi capacity than video streaming, for example,” Ottens points out. Time will tell how passengers will take to Galaxy Duel, but, Lufthansa Systems and Gladi8tor have been following gamer activity. With an average of 20 percent of the passengers accessing IFE (sometimes more, depending on
the length of the flight), Ottens says, in the case of Europeans, five to 10 percent of the passenger base are active gamers. The number of prospective users could be growing higher with an innovative game like Galaxy Duel that can be not only played on the ground after the flight, but with the potential for passengers to access it from one flight to another and even one airline to another.
Games and Arc
Another important announcement took place in Los Angeles this past fall. Panasonic Avionics announced Indian airline Vistara as a launch customer for its Arc inflight map platform and its Games entertainment solutions. Both products received their launch at last year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo. The two projects share more than a launch date. Both were, in part developed through a collaboration with Swedish gaming company Toca Boca, a market leader in children’s games. “The map would be the first of its kind, blending Toca Boca’s exceptional creativity in digital toys with Arc’s cutting-edge technology, to produce a fun interface designed to keep kids entertained and informed inflight,” said a September release from Panasonic. www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 23
Sarah Eales, Panasonic’s Service Line Product Manager
Toca Boca also developed a new addition to the Panasonic platform which is part of the company’s Theatre solution. For action and adventure games, Panasonic worked with Gameloft. Sarah Eales, Panasonic’s Service Line Product Manager, tells PAX Tech that the company plans to add more suppliers and development to its gaming product this year. Panasonic has also begun work in the e-sports market collaborating with Riot Games, a game developer and e-sports tournament organizer to broadcast the League of Legends series inflight. Eales, who worked at GameStop retail stores in high school and designed games and animation in college, joined Panasonic four years ago. “Gaming for Panasonic is something that is pretty new,” Eales says. “We have done things traditionally in the past to try and support airlines and their IFE games, but we are trying
The famous globetrotter Carmen Sandiego lives again in an offering from Global Eagle
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to do something different with it.” Part of that task is to push gaming up more prominently in the selection of programming that now gives passengers access to hundreds of titles in an airline’s inflight entertainment system. That involves creating a buzz in the already-flying group of gamer passengers by developing products and keeping the stream of new game content fresh. The Games platform from Panasonic now has a catalog of 30 which will grow as the company adds new partners this year, said Eales. “When we look at passenger usage data, traditionally games have not changed a lot over the past five or even 10 years,” Eales says. “They have been essentially the same. But when we look at trends on the ground, those games are changing and escalating so much.”
Carmen in the clouds
Another company with a healthy portfolio of gaming solutions is Global Eagle Entertainment. A little more than a year ago, the company boasted a selection of 120 games that are flying on 100 airlines. At that time, Global Eagle announced a partnership with noted toy and game company Mattel to bring aboard the world’s number one card game UNO™ that debuted on airline seatbacks last year. The card game is played in 80 countries. Last spring, the company announced its newest big name to the inflight gam-
ing scene. A game featuring the popular animated explorer Carmen Sandiego was made available to airlines and cruise lines through an agreement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The custom game, optimized for travelers, was set to debut for airline use late last year. Carmen Sandiego has a long career in gaming. The character debuted in 1985 and has spawned 22 video games. It is the best-selling game franchise and spun off a television series as well. In the airline version, players maneuver through several layers of trivia questions unlocking clues about her whereabouts. In the Global Eagle portfolio there is a Spanish version of the game as well as an audio book. “As a globe-trotting super-thief, Carmen Sandiego knows her way around ships and planes, and this custom game is designed for world travelers in an ideal way to introduce her to a new generation of fans while celebrating computer game roots,” said Caroline Fraser, head of HMH Productions and the Executive Producer of the Carmen Sandiego Netflix original series. In the past year, Global Eagle has also extended its range of games suppliers adding Japanese maker Sanrio and Hasbro, which makes the famous board game Monopoly. Much of the work done in the gaming realm is by Global Eagle at the company’s center of excellence for Digital Media and Games located in Montreal.
READERSHIP AWARDS 2020
HELP US HONOR THE BEST IN THE BIZ From onboard caterers to amenity programs, and from connectivity to the latest in aircraft cabins, the PAX International Readership Awards will once again recognize those in the industry that stand out from the crowd. The award winners will be announced on April 1, 2020 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Hamburg. Deadline to vote is March 2, 2020. Award winners will be featured in a special spread in PAX International, as well as in our e-Newsletter.
Donâ€™t miss your chance. Make your voice heard.
tangerine’s new Infused Essence design strategy for JAL’s domestic and international fleet aims to capture the essence of Japanese identity
Leading interior design companies discuss their approaches to retrofit designs, share their insights on sustainability and highlight successful projects
The design collaboration between JAL and tangerine won Gold for Best Passenger Experience Initiative at the APEX-FTE Asia Awards 2019
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by MARY JANE PITTILLA
rojections for new aircraft manufacturing and delivery over the next several years may be staggering, but design companies and airlines still rely heavily on established fleet, bringing high demand to the industry’s retrofit sector. PAX Tech set out to uncover the reasons companies turn to retrofitting. For many, passenger expectations are at the forefront. Easing passenger travel anxiety with more spacious overhead storage and creating a sense of familiar comfort in lavatories, all with an eye on sustainability, are just a few considerations that are driving design decisions.
Design house tangerine designed a new full-service bar with face-to-face service for Virgin Australia’s retrofitted 777, while retaining the high seat numbers
“The key to a retrofit interior is understanding what already works well for a customer and what needs to change; and focusing on making the upgrade seamless while reusing the parts that are still working well and in good condition,” explains Nathan Kwok, Vice President Marketing at Safran Cabin. The cabin interiors specialist designs its retrofit process to minimize the time the aircraft is on the ground, ideally performing the entire upgrade overnight, so the aircraft can be back up in the air by daylight. “Time is money,” he says. The company is seeing a lot of demand for larger overhead bins in retrofit programs. “Airlines want to put an end to ‘bag anxiety’. Passengers should never have to worry about finding a space for their bag, even if they are the last one on the plane. This also helps the airlines get up in the air faster, because passengers are able to stow their bag right at their seat and grab it quickly when it’s time to go.” Safran Cabin recently introduced to the market its ECOS bin retrofit program, available on A320 and Embraer E-Jet aircraft for immediate retrofit. This bin system means every passenger has a space for their bag; and has been shown to improve turnaround time for airlines. Sustainability gets more important every day – and it has many dimensions, according to Kwok. The first dimension
is related to the approach previously described, which is designing flexible solutions so that airlines don’t have to buy more than they need. This saves money but it also means they are not overconsuming. The second-dimension centers on how the company can make interiors recyclable. Its ECOForm line of ceilings and sidewalls are designed to be easily refurbished, so they can have a longer service life, and when they finally reach their end of life, they can be recycled into other products. Finally, emerging connectivity technologies such as Safran’s connected meal trolley, Sophy, uses sensors and wireless connectivity to streamline airline operations, reducing food waste and transportation costs. Safran Cabin is seeing a retrofit sector that will remain healthy and active for years to come, as most airline fleets around the world are growing, and getting new aircraft in the process. “Our retrofit interior products bring their older aircraft up to the most modern standards and even exceed what they can get from a new aircraft,” Kwok concludes.
Design consultancy firm tangerine takes a client-focused approach to retrofit programs. “From a design team’s perspective, the key difference between a retrofit and line fit program is that during a retrofit you don’t have a program structure with the airframe manufacturer,” www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 27
PriestmanGoode’s design for the First Class La Première suites onboard Air France aims to embody French elegance, with leather, suede and touches of wood and metal creating a sophisticated cabin
PriestmanGoode helped design the exclusive interiors for Air France’s First Class La Première suites onboard the airline’s Boeing 777-300 aircraft
says Matt Round, Chief Creative Officer at tangerine. “However, this doesn’t necessarily have a negative impact on the design as the constraints are more around the client’s ambitions and their timescales for the project.” In 2019, tangerine’s design collaboration with Japan Airlines (JAL) launched to market, which included creating a new design strategy called Infused Essence for its domestic and international fleet. The strategy captured the essence of Japanese identity and embodied it in a contemporary travel experience for both native and international visitors to Japan. It was first created for JAL’s A350-900 line fit program for the domestic market and then was applied to its retrofit 777 international aircraft to create a coherent customer experience across the fleet. The collaboration won Gold for Best Passenger Experience Initiative at the APEX-FTE Asia Awards 2019. In 2014, tangerine worked with Virgin Australia to create a new cabin interior, helping to transform the positioning of the brand from being a low-cost carrier into a premium full-service carrier. In the retrofitted 777 aircraft, Virgin Australia previously didn’t have space for a staffed bar. Through an innovative approach to the design of the LOPA (Layout of Passenger Accommodations) and onboard products, tangerine designed a new full-service bar offering with face-to-face service, while retaining the high seat numbers. “This has become a signature of the international aircraft,” notes Round. A distinctive Business Class cabin interior offering was created based on the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond Business Class seat, and in Premium Economy the new design language for the cabin interior was implemented to refurbish the existing seating. On the subject of sustainability in retrofit, Round said he believes that after a long time, there is finally a heightened awareness of sustainability in aviation. This is affecting 28 | PAX TECH | FEBRUARY 2020
programs as people are looking for materials with a lower environmental impact and solutions that are lighter and reduce fuel burn. “We have observed a trend amongst the aviation supply chain of everyone doing what they can, where they can, to improve sustainability, but there’s still a long way to go,” he says.
PriestmanGoode’s retrofit approach can be a lesson in how to harmoniously overlay a new design within a legacy cabin design or an opportunity to really push the boundaries, according to Chris Parker, the company’s Director. He notes that retrofit aircraft often retain some of the pre-existing products, finishes and materials. The results can end up being a hybrid between the old and new design depending on the ability to replace existing products. The new design often requires careful adjustment to harmonize with the retained elements of the existing design. With retrofit programs, although the certification is the same, there are more design opportunities because you are not constrained by the airframers’ catalog and program time constraints, he observes.
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MRO A successful retrofit project was the launch of the exclusive interiors for Air France’s First Class La Première suites onboard the airline’s 777-300 aircraft, in which PriestmanGoode worked in close collaboration with Air France, B/E Aerospace (now Collins Aerospace) and Brand Image. The cabin interiors seek to embody French elegance, with leather, suede and touches of wood and metal creating a sophisticated cabin. Some of the key retrofit trends in the market are customized social spaces and upgraded cabin lighting, notes Parker. Retrofitting allows outdated products, especially Business Class seats, to be upgraded to the latest industry standards. Sustainability is important in retrofit, he believes. “Retrofit is all about sustainability; so while older aircraft may not be as efficient as the very latest aircraft flying, keeping an aircraft in the sky for as long as possible is a much more sustainable approach than scrapping it when you consider the energy required to produce a new aircraft. As with new line fit aircraft, everything that goes onboard a retrofit aircraft needs to be considered with sustainability in mind. That means less weight equals less fuel burn, use of materials that can be recycled and materials selected for longer lifespan.”
Acumen Design Associates
Mike Crump, Brand Experience Director at Acumen Design Associates, says there is no real difference in the company’s approach between retrofit and new aircraft programs. “Whether it is a simple refresh of CMF [color, materials, finish], introducing or adapting a new product for different aircraft types, or implementing a new brand identity across legacy aircraft – our principles remain the same: finding ways to innovate in the cabin and improve the passenger experience.” However, he notes that there is one key difference, as timescales for new product development are usually much shorter in retrofit programs than line fit as they are not restricted by the key milestones and development lead times set by the two main aircraft manufacturers. There is also potential to do greater levels of customization to the cabin design monuments during retrofit programs. For new aircraft there are more SFE interior monuments that have to be chosen from a restricted catalogue, meaning the scope of change can be higher in retrofits if the airline is prepared to invest in creative designs for its cabins, galleys, lavatories and bars.
Safran Cabin’s ECOS bin system means every passenger has a space for their bag, and has been shown to improve turnaround time
30 | PAX TECH | FEBRUARY 2020
Acumen Design Associates recently worked with ST Engineering to develop ARC, a new modular lavatory design for legacy aircraft such as the 777
While much of Acumen’s work in recent years has been line fit, Acumen recently worked with ST Engineering to develop ARC, a new modular lavatory design for legacy aircraft such as the 777. In recent years onboard bathroom standards have been elevated by the contemporary design treatment in newer aircraft types. In contrast, the legacy 777 bathroom is now 25 years old and fails to meet passenger expectations. ARC combines modern design with cutting-edge hygiene technologies to offer a sophisticated design for 777 interiors, creating highly functional Zen spaces that prioritize hygiene and instill a sense of well-being while improving the experience across all classes. Crump says climate change is reshaping aviation interior design, with airlines and designers becoming increasingly aware of their responsibilities to buy and design products which are sustainably made. However, in Acumen’s experience, it is still unusual for airlines to specify sustainable goals in their RFPs, regardless of whether it is a retrofit or line fit program. “This will obviously change,” he adds. As product lifecycles become shorter and airlines upgrade their cabins more often, the company expects new products will be designed to be more easily recycled and use a greater number of sustainable materials; that way, when a product is removed and updated in a retrofit program, waste is reduced.
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At 13.3 inches, Burrana’s display is the largest overhead screen available in the industry and the only 4K overhead screen on the market
STAR OF THE SCREEN
Burrana is proving there’s plenty of potential in the overhead screen market as it pioneers a new generation 4K product
by MARY JANE PITTILLA
ustralia-based Burrana successfully capped the year 2019 by developing what it describes as the first 4K overhead screen for the airline industry. According to David Pook, Vice President Marketing and Sales Support, overhead displays still play a significant role for many narrow-body operators. They enable the crew to play the safety video instead of physically demonstrating the features of the aircraft. The screens improve operational efficiency and increase personal crew engagement opportunities with passengers. Pook cites many other uses for overhead screens, namely to alert passengers about border control requirements and standards at their destination; airlines can broadcast specific videos to showcase their brand, products and services, charities, sponsorships, loyalty programs, advertising, CEO messages and promotions. The screens can also feature moving maps for flight context data during cruise mode. They are also used to help passengers prepare for disembarkation, journey through the airport and find connecting gates, and to showcase the arrival destination.
Segment set to grow
Pook adds that nearly 15 percent of all narrow-body aircraft are still being delivered with overhead screens today. “With narrow-body market projections from the OEMs growing through 2024, we expect that this segment will grow as well,” he tells PAX Tech. The 4K overhead system has been in development for nearly six months and is expected to be available for retrofit beginning Q2 2020. Pook explains that Burrana is aiming 32 | PAX TECH | FEBRUARY 2020
to leverage the deep heritage and reliability of the PAVES product line that the company (then known as digEcor) acquired from Collins Aerospace in January 2019. Since then, Burrana has made significant improvements to the display technology, including ultra-high definition 4K screens, wider viewing angles, and anti-smudge and glare coating. At 13.3 inches, the display is the largest overhead screen available in the industry and the only 4K overhead screen on the market, according to Pook. The next closest in size and resolution is Panasonic’s eXO system at 12 inches and 1080p. The company’s engineers were able to work the 13.3-inch screen into the same envelope as the existing 10-inch PAVES screen, making retrofits simple. The display is also roughly 50 percent thinner than previous generations. The larger size also enables sufficient viewability with a reduced quantity of monitors, thereby reducing the overall system weight significantly. The server boasts 4 terabytes of storage capacity, which is significantly more than most overhead servers on the market, notes Pook. Additionally, it’s capable of serving overhead, wireless and seatback entertainment – all from a single 4MCU box. Burrana intends to offer the new 4K overhead system at a similar price point to the existing 10-inch PAVES system. With a lower system weight, improved reliability and a better passenger experience, the 4K system delivers increased value for money compared with other systems available on the market. With the new system, airlines will be able to choose 3D map options from FlightPath 3D as well as Collins’ Airshow ASXi. If the airline also has a Wi-Fi network onboard the aircraft, there is the opportunity for interaction between the overhead screens and passenger devices for applications such as group trivia and seat upgrade bidding. The 4K innovation forms part of Burrana’s next-generation entertainment platform, which will be formally launched at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) 2020 show in Hamburg.
T H E M I D D L E E A S T ’ S O N LY A I R C R A F T I N T E R I O R S E V E N T
It’s what’s inside that counts
ENTERTAINMENT TEXTILES LIGHTING FLOORING SEATING SEATING LAVATORIES CABIN TECHNOLOGIES WI-FI PASSENGER EXPERIENCE CHEMICALS GALLEY
25-26 February 2020 Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE
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AIX exposé As Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) approaches, PAX Tech highlights some of the many innovative items that will be showcased in Hamburg from March 31 to April 2
IWG-UVL1 disinfection unit – International
Cyber-attack protection – Argus Cyber Security: Argus
Water Guard: International Water-Guard (IWG) has been dealing with issues surrounding aircraft water quality for more than 30 years and has now introduced its latest innovation, the IWG-UVL1. This compact, lightweight, easy to install disinfection unit optimizes LED power activation to disinfect for up to five years or more. Integrated next to the faucet with minimal changes to the aircraft water system, it can be installed on new aircraft as well as retrofit. It has been tested at an independent dosimetric testing laboratory that confirmed it produces UV-C LED dosage equivalent to an NSF 55 Class A at 0.5gpm. Booth #6D131. water.aero
Cyber Security has created a solution to protect IFEC systems from internal and external cyber-attacks. The IFEC protection solution consists of six different technologies and can be integrated into components like WAP, modem, screens and servers. The solution enables detection of anomalies, prevention of attacks, secured logging and real-time sending of the alerts to an on-ground SOC. Argus will present a demo of the system simulating a real attack on a popular airborne WAP at booth #4UB10. argus-sec.com
Multi-class seats – Recaro: Recaro will showcase its latest innovations in entertainment and privacy for both economy and premium economy seats. Visitors of AIX can also preview the Recaro Customer Service portfolio, which includes seat refurbish options and service packages. The Recaro eGaming seat will also be onsite. Booth #7B20. recaro.com
Seats and interiors repairs – aviationscouts: aviationscouts GmbH operates the internet marketplace aviationgate.com and is a buyer and seller of aircraft passenger seats and interiors. In partnership with EIS Aircraft Services, which operates a repair station at aviationscouts’ facility, the company has extended its repair portfolio for seats and interiors. Its newly refurbished shop offers capacity for cleaning, repair and refurbishment of up to three narrow body ship-sets of seats using dry ice technology under EASA Part 145 and FAA fair Ratings. Booth #6A71. aviationscouts.com
34 | PAX TECH | FEBRUARY 2020
Airspace XL Bin stowage compartment – FACC: Long-time strategic partner of Airbus, FACC is producing various components for the A320 “Airspace” cabin, including the Airspace XL Bin. It’s the biggest overhead stowage bin in the category of short and medium-haul aircraft. The stowage compartment offers space for eight baggage items, instead of the previous five. It allows for a total weight of 96 kilograms stowed but only weighs 26 kilograms itself. Booth #7B01,7B04. facc.com
On-trend seat design – Boxmark Leather: Austrian leather and upholstery specialist Boxmark Leather will feature trending seat designs at AIX. Created in close cooperation with renowned aircraft interior designers, the seats feature elements such as quilting and handcrafted embroidery, Boxmark demonstrates the trend towards greater passenger comfort but also individualization. Booth #5C04. boxmark.com
Vector Light– HAECO: Vector Light is the latest addition to HAECO’s Vector™ seating line Vector Light has been reengineered from the seat track up to save in weight and cost without compromising the ergonomics, quality, and reliability of the seat line. The sleek, design-forward seat enhances passenger living space at a narrow pitch, reducing weight and improving reliability without reducing comfort. This is achieved through a balanced use of titanium and composites. It accommodates optional recline, IFE and in-seat power. Booth #5D10. haeco.com
M-Flex™ Duet cabin monument – Collins Aerospace: Collins Aerospace’ M-Flex™ Duet cabin monument turns the underutilized space in aircraft doorways into a self-serve social zone – without impacting airline seat revenues. A 2019 Crystal Cabin award winner, this transitional monument is stowed during Taxi, Take off and Landing (TTL) meeting all regulatory egress requirements. When in flight, the units unfold to stretch across doorways providing stand-up, selfserve social areas for passengers and additional work space for the crew. Other products on display at booth #5A69, 5B30, 5D20 will include seating, lighting, inserts, oxygen, connectivity and evacuation. collinsaerospace.com
www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 35
64621 LED Lamp with PMA – IFE Products:: IFE Products has obtained PMA for LED lamp replacements for existing part numbers HLX64621 and LP64621 used in Logo, Wing Illumination, Position and Nav light applications on various Boeing, Airbus and Embraer fleet types. The LED lamp replaces the existing halogen lamp Plug and Play and offers improved performance with less power, less heat and long-term reliability. Booth #2C60. ifeproducts.com
AR seat maintenance training – Jamco America: Jamco America has partnered with Object Theory, a pioneer in augmented reality (AR), to develop a training tool for the Jamco Venture Business Class Seat. This AR technology provides advanced seat maintenance training for the aerospace industry by implementing a HoloLens which allows hands-free training without reference to a separate manual. The system audibly communicates user instructions while computer-generated images create a guiding overlay on the seat. The AR Venture seat training tool will be available for demonstration at Jamco AIX booth #6A110. jamco-america.com
Sky-Tiles – SkyPaxxx Interior Repairs: The latest innovation of aircraft carpeting Sky-Tiles by Interface, presented by SkyPaxxx Interior Repairs, weigh 12 percent less than prior editions. One hundred percent recyclable, Sky-Tiles eliminate binding, fraying and shrinking. SkyPaxxx is also introducing a modular non textile flooring that is both durable and easy to maintain. Booth #7A59. skypaxxxrepairs.com
Interconnected architecture – SOURIAU: To accommodate the demand for compact, dense and lightweight interconnect products, SOURIAU offers a wide range of input/output connectors, board connectors, sealed relay sockets, terminal blocks, terminal junction modules and bus bars. The company develops connected cabin solutions, seats and data-intensive IFE and interconnect architecture. The MQuick series will be presented at AIX 2020. Booth #4B04. souriau.com
36 | PAX TECH | FEBRUARY 2020
THE DESTINATION FOR THE AIRCRAFT INTERIORS INDUSTRY. Aircraft Interiors Expo 2020 31 March - 2 April 2020, Hamburg Messe, Germany Aircraft Interiors Expo is the worldâ€™s leading event where airlines and the supply chain can source the latest innovations, technologies and products for cabin interiors, inflight entertainment, connectivity and passenger comfort. See how you can join us at www.aircraftinteriorsexpo.com
600 INNOVATIVE EXHIBITORS
16,000 INDUSTRY ATTENDEES Organised by: 31 MARCH 2020
31 MARCH APRIL 2 2020
245 AIRLINES REPRESENTED In co-operation with:
FACTS & FIGURES
Disembarking in Dubai The Middle East represents one of the fastest-growing aviation hubs in the world, making it a region with tons of MRO potential. From February 25 to 26, leading industry professionals from the entire airline supply chain will descend on Dubai for Aircraft Interiors Middle East, many of whom will travel through Dubai’s airports
Dubai International Airport (DXB) opened in 1960 and is now one of the busiest airports in the world with an annual average growth rate of more than 13 percent
The cost of DXB Concourse D, which opened in 2016 and serves all international airlines that operate into Terminal 1
The approximated driving time to travel from DXB to DWC by car
realtimeDXB DXB received the Aviation Business Awards 2019 Tech Innovation of the Year award for its cloud-based airport operations management platform realtimeDXB
The number of rooms at Dubai International Hotel in DXB Terminal 3, plus a gymnasium, swimming pool and health spa
The annual number of travelers who pass through Dubai International
Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC), also known as Dubai World Central, opened for passenger flights in 2013 but cargo operations launched earlier in 2010
A major expansion of DWC in 2018 increased its annual capacity from 5 million to 26.5 million passengers 38 | PAX TECH | FEBRUARY 2020
WE ARE ENGINEERS OF EXCELLENCE. Climbing higher. Together. For more than 60 years, we have been representing excellence in aviation. Our developments shape the industry. The quality of our products enjoys the highest recognition worldwide - from cabins to systems. It is this multifacetedness that makes our company so strong. And we use it to work side by side with our customers. For mutual success. www.diehl.com/aviation
Visit us at AIX booth no. 4B11
BoardConnect The complete solution for your digital passenger experience Count on the market leader in in-flight entertainment and choose from a wide range of services available through our strong partner network. Or build your own onboard offering based on our framework with BoardConnect Dock.
Lufthansa Systems GmbH & Co. KG | Marketing & Communications | Am Messeplatz 1 | 65479 Raunheim | info@LHsystems.com | www.LHsystems.com