JULY 2021 | www.pax-intl.com
MRO, Interiors & IFEC
TECH FOR THE TIMES
Cabin Hygiene, Seating & IFEC
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Gearing up T
he busy summer travel season doesn’t look like anything we’ve ever seen before, with masked passengers milling about the airport. Anyone who has flown in the past few weeks will have noticed these lingering effects of COVID-19 – and some others. On a recent Sunday morning flight from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Charlotte, North Carolina, the Delta CRJ I was on waited at the gate for approximately 20 minutes until a crew could be found for pushback. As we were going to press with this edition, similar stories emerged. Worker shortages at large airports like Dallas Fort Worth – the home airport of American Airlines, which itself cancelled hundreds of flights for due to a combination of weather and crew logistics. It amounts to about one percent of the airline’s daily schedule. OTG Management, which operates restaurants in airport terminals around the country was also offering bonuses in the four figures to get cooks and managers to join the team. The US Transportation Security Administration is now offering US$1,000 hiring bonuses for nearly 4,000 people who have signed up so far. Airports in Austin, Texas; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and the afore-
mentioned Charlotte recommend passengers to arrive up to three hours early to avoid long security lines. However, I saw no such passenger jams the afternoon I was there. These problems do not necessarily indicate something bad. The recovery of domestic air travel in the US has been sudden. It certainly is good news that people are perhaps not as nervous about air travel as previous predictions. TSA airport screenings are now approximately 80 percent of 2019 levels, reports the Agency. We can hope that soon, companies such as airline caterers will again be needing staff in numbers that existed before the pandemic hit. But that will rely much on the growth of business and international travel. As of the end of June there were still many questions on when that will return. Signs point to all of us in the industry soon being able to talk about this in person. Recently the Arabian Travel Market met in a limited scope, and this October should see a live gathering in Long Beach, California. We’ve lost much in face-to-face interactions in the last 18-or-so months, but if the industry recovers the way passenger confidence seems to be, the recovery may be closer than we thought.
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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
BIG ON BRAND Geven comes out of the industry downturn with a new product and a logo for the future
VITALLY VISUAL ABC International helps airlines drive home the image and brand in a time when passengers are wary and anxious
10 12 JULY 2021 | www.pax-intl.com
MRO, Interiors & IFEC
TECH FOR THE TIMES
Cabin Hygiene, Seating & IFEC
ON THE COVER: aero hygenx introduced RAY, this UV-C disinfecting robot, last summer. Read more about RAY’s ability to protect passengers, staff and crew on page 16.
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EDITOR’S NOTE NEWS ASSOCIATION NEWS
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CONTACTLESS CONTENT PressReader and Qatar Airways have partnered to fully integrate more than 7,000 publications into the Oryx One app UNIVERSALLY SPORTY IFE providers have known all along that sporting events are popular programming and now companies are meeting the needs with more live events HANDLING E-HEALTH Moment has diversified its offering with connectivity services for healthcare units under new subsidiary Moment Care FIRST FLIGHT OF ITS KIND A four-hour “flight to nowhere” challenged Inmarsat’s staff and capabilities and gave the company a chance to be a part of COVID-19 vaccine history
CLEAN TEAM An update on what’s moving in cabin hygiene and passenger perception LAY OF THE LAVATORY International Water-Guard introduces its collection of touchless lavatory products
AIR TIGHT SOLUTIONS Skyports is pioneering the design and construction of take-off and landing infrastructure for air taxis in major cities
A connecting flight with your passengers emotions. Create a deep emotional connection with your passengers with impactful branding elements. ABC International is specialized and globally recognized as leading specialist in cabin branding design and manufacturing,
The cabin branding specialist since 2008 Via Napoli, 155 EUROPALACE, Casalnuovo di Napoli (NA), ITALY (+39) 081-842.43.21
Recaro Aircraft Seating Americas taps Sunitha Vegerla as GM Recaro Aircraft Seating has announced Sunitha Vegerla as its new General Manager of Recaro Aircraft Seating Americas in Fort Worth, Texas, one of five global Recaro sites. Vegerla has been with the seating company for nearly two decades, previously holding the role of Director of Quality and Process Management and a member of the Americas executive leadership team. She is responsible for helping build the program management department in the Americas. Vegerla holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Andhra University in India and a master’s degree in engineering technology from the University of North Texas. “I am confident that Sunitha is the right person to lead our site into this new chapter for our industry and continue expanding our footprint in the Americas region,” said Dr. Mark Hiller, CEO and Shareholder of Recaro Aircraft Seating.
Sunitha Vegerla, new General Manager of Recaro Aircraft Seating Americas
Addmaster brings Biomaster antimicrobial protection to cabin products UK-based Addmaster, a global supplier of technically innovative, premium quality additives for the plastics, paper, textile, paints and coatings industries, offers antimicrobial technology Biomaster. It can be incorporated into plastic, textile, paper, paint or coating, dispersing throughout the item. When microbes come into contact with a Biomaster protected surface, they cannot grow, produce energy or replicate, therefore they die. Airlines can supplement cleaning and disinfecting regimes with the added protection of Biomaster, at high-traffic touch points for inflight reading materials and more, to bring more confidence to passengers. Many airlines and suppliers globally are adopting Biomaster antimicrobial technology, Karl Shaw, Marketing Manager at Addmaster (UK) Ltd. tells PAX Tech. Among
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ongoing projects, Addmaster recently worked with premium seating upholstery manufacturer MGR Foamtex to develop MGRSafeWall™, which has been successfully tested effective against COVID-19. Laboratory testing to ISO 18184 protocols have demonstrated 96.8 percent efficacy against the virus. Addmaster partnered with American Airlines in August 2020 to incorporate Biomaster into its inflight magazine. Since then, every seatback issue of American Way, which the airline has since discontinued, was printed with a Biomaster paper treatment process. Hawaiian Airlines’ inflight magazine and US inflight magazine Hemisphere are also treated with Biomaster. Addmaster is the longest standing supplier of Biomaster.
APEX Group seeks encoding standardization A Working Group for the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) is looking for solutions among big tech companies to best provide compressed video and audio files that passengers can easily access from their personal electronic devices or from the seatback. The group is focusing on VP9, AV1 and HEVC codec algorithms that are used extensively in the streaming industry hardware and software as well as new standards such as LCEVC. “Our initial assessment is that each IFE use case, which might range from seatback displays to in-browser support on passenger devices, has an optimal encoding algorithm, but there is no single codec that support all,” says Juraj Siska, CEO of IdeaNova Technologies and Co-Chairman of the Working Group. The other two co-chairs are Phil Watson from
Panasonic Avionics and Andy Rosen from Sequence Key. When airlines are picking content delivery, several factors should be considered, including the content quality and resolution, the content protection, known as DRM, and whether the content will be distributed to seatbacks on passengers’ personal electronics, says Siska. The APEX Working Group is studying various options and bringing together experts from within the aviation sector and other industries such as movie studios and streaming companies. The group is seeking input on how to standardize an approach that meets aviation specifications and the requirements of the studios. “Once the solution is identified, the group publishes a specification that is used by all involved parties in their IFE design and development,” says Siska.
Celeste introduces quick-dry carpet cleaner Celeste Industries’ carpet cleaner product is specifically designed to clean common aircraft soils and dry rapidly. HiFo-Clean is a dense foaming product that dries within one hour of being applied to the surface; decreasing potential corrosion concerns of slow-drying formulas. “We formulated HiFo-Clean to tackle the tough soils on aircraft carpets without introducing an abundance of moisture to the aircraft. With our dense foam, the carpet can
be clean and dry in under an hour,” said Carla Repko, Product Manager of Celeste. “The rapid dry time will save our customers significant time and alleviate worries of corrosion from any liquid left behind.” Not only does HiFo-Clean dry rapidly, but it is effective and easy to use: spray surface, agitate with a brush, allow cleaner to dwell and collect the soils for removal, then vacuum.
www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 7
The Super Eco from Geven is designed for comfort even at a pitch of 28 inches
BIG ON BRAND Geven comes out of the industry downturn with a new product and a logo for the future
by RICK LUNDSTROM
ircraft seat maker Geven was busy this spring launching a new seat for the high-density cabins and polishing up a new brand identity, “which reflects the significant strength and vitality of Geven’s evolution and growth over the past many decades of activities.” In May the Naples, Italy, company announced its latest entry, the SuperEco (short for Super Economy) weighing in at 7.9 kilograms per passenger; and designed for comfort, even at a pitch of 28 inches. “The seat leaves space to an unexpected generous legroom, thanks to the redesigned supporting structure,” said a release from Geven. In addition to a design that maximizes space in a dense narrow-body cabin, Geven has added a range of options including the ability to customize the seat for connectivity and USB integration. Airline customers can also differentiate themselves with a range of dress covers, armrests and endbays. The full sized meal tray can be folded and laid flush with the backrest. “We are proud of our teamwork,” says Alberto Venerus, Managing Director at Geven. “SuperEco’s impressive shin and knee clearance paired with its low
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weight and excellent reliability sets an unparalleled benchmark in the aircraft seating industry. With SuperEco, airlines will be able to offer maximum comfort and living space to passengers while contributing to green-sustainability efforts via reduced fuel consumption.” Other products are in the works for the company. Geven promises soon an announcement on the next generation of models for Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class that it is developing with British design house PriestmanGoode. The second piece of news involves the company’s identity in the form of a new logo and website. The logo incorporates the old logo: its traditional dark blue with a vibrant neon blue centered on the restyled skyward reaching ‘V’. The redesigned website will be online by the end of July.
“An engaging shorthand that will represent Geven’s point of view when communicating with the outside world,” said a release from the company. “This new, young, vibrant look is part of the company’s strategy which will support us when communicating our significant evolution as we reach out and engage much more actively with the airline companies and OEM’s,” said Daniela Spinelli, Marketing and Communication Manager at Geven. “We trust that our new payoff ‘Fly around the world, tailor-made in Italy,’ will provide us with a more consistent and far reaching brand identity which will contribute to determine a new way of customer engagement with us in the future,” she added. “We have reached five continents, 130 airlines and we have delivered exceptional passenger comfort all around the world. We are a famous global brand with a lot to say to the world. Our Blue, Vibrant V, will represent our Iconic way of doing it,” says Veneruso.
ABC International worked with JAL to bring a refreshed look to the Tsurumaru crane logo of its A350s and 787s
hen a passenger boards an aircraft cabin, the look and feel of the layout should instill the message that the space they inhabit for the next few hours is more than just a place to sit – if done right, something comforting and familiar. “Why the cabin branding?” rhetorically asks Alberto D’ambrosio, Chief Executive Officer at ABC International in Naples, Italy. “Cabin interiors represent the first evaluation criteria for the passengers to [assess] the airline performances and services. A strong cabin customization, together with a positive flight experience, is the key to boost connection between passenger and airline.” ABC International specializes in creating the subtle cues that can drive home the brand message of the airline. The company has crafted logos to be placed on bulkheads and walls of airline customers in several continents and just about any aircraft type. The stylish work of ABC International was recently brought to two more airline customers. One contract allowed the company to reproduce one of the most iconic logos in the airline industry. The Tsurumaru crane logo of Japan Airlines was originally adopted in 1959. Last December, ABC International worked with the airline to bring a refreshed look to its A350s and 787s, marking the first collaboration between the branding specialist and JAL. The result was a crest with
ABC International helps airlines drive home the image and brand in a time when passengers are wary and anxious by RICK LUNDSTROM
varied treatments, gold plating and a sophisticated sandblasting technique. “The challenge was not only to turn into reality the particular design but also to translate the new brand image into an airworthy product compliant with the aviation environment and ready to be installed on board,” said Olindo Spatola, Vice President Engineering and HDO at ABC International. The other customer was closer to home. In March, France-based Corsair outfitted its A330neos with a logo that the partners began working on in 2020. ABC created a design with dimension and texture in a simple panel
offering with a brushed metal back plate tinged with sophisticated elegance. Cabin design strategy in a postCOVID-19 world will be affected by a combination of new entrants and growth in air travel, D’ambrosio says, adding that airlines will need to project an image of trust in a competitive world. They will also have to appeal to a consumer that is socially conscious. “If new passengers’ needs are satisfied (safety, healthy environment, sustainability and social responsibility) a branding element on board can immediately forge a strong connection between passenger and airline,” he says.
ABC International designed cabin branding elements for French airline Corsair
www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 9
PressReader and Qatar Airways have partnered to fully integrate more than 7,000 publications into the Oryx One app
by JANE HOBSON
he days of downloading multiple apps, agreeing to terms and jumping between screens to access desired inflight reading content is officially over for Qatar Airway’s passengers. As of March this year, passengers can access more than 7,000 global digital magazine and newspaper titles in one seamless experience via its inflight entertainment app Oryx One and a partnership with PressReader. Passengers can access titles by downloading the Oryx One app to their personal electronic devices, inserting their Booking Reference Number and select the PressReader titles they wish to save, from more than 120 countries and 60 languages. The service is available up to 72 hours before and seven days after scheduled flights. The downloaded content will remain in the library for as long as the app is installed, helping to reduce newspaper and magazine waste, both on the ground and in flight by more than 1,000 tonnes each year. Qatar and PressReader pioneered
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a new way of app integration, through which Qatar passengers do not need to leave Oryx One or download additional apps to access the PressReader content at any point. “Qatar is the first airline to fully integrate PressReader and its premium catalog. Both Qatar and the team at PressReader are thrilled to launch this method,” says Carlos Martinez, Director Partnerships at PressReader.
Until recently, PressReader has offered one method of app integration that allows passengers to authenticate and have access to PressReader through a partner’s app. Despite being a simple solution, this provides an elevated passenger experience. This method of integration requires passengers to download both the partner app and PressReader to get access to titles. If passengers do not have PressReader installed, they would be prompted to download it, and it will immediately open the content available.
This is the easiest and fastest way to integrate and provide passenger access to PressReader’s catalog, and it does not substantially increase the size of the host app, says Martinez.
Qatar Airways worked with Anuvu, formerly known as Global Eagle Entertainment, as its technology partner to manage the full integration into the Oryx One app. Building the UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) into the app likely took the work of two or three very skilled Anuvu software designers, Martinez explains. “PressReader has the publications organized by countries, by languages, by categories. It’s very hard to replicate that. It’s a lot work that has been done in the PressReader app throughout the years to achieve this,” he says. The advantage to being fully integrated is that users remain in the Qatar app, which may help track, predict and improve passenger digital behaviors. But it can also add some weight to the size of the host app as it requires more space. “Qatar Airways onboard experience remains the cornerstone of the airline’s world renowned five-star service,” said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group
Qatar is the first airline to fully integrate PressReader and its premium catalog. Both Qatar and the team at PressReader are thrilled to launch this method,” - CARLOS MARTINEZ, DIRECTOR PARTNERSHIPS AT PRESSREADER
Chief Executive in the March announcement. “Despite the many challenges faced by the industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to be passionate about achieving the highest standards of safety and excellence in everything we do. Our partnership with
PressReader not only offers a COVIDsafe, contactless entertainment option to further enhance our passenger’s onboard experience, it also supports our commitment to environmental sustainability, which continues to be a key focus for the airline.”
“We are honored to be chosen by Qatar Airways to bring quality journalism and a superior reading experience to its customers in a 100 percent contactless way pre-, during- and post-flight,” said Alex Kroogman, Founder and CEO, PressReader Group of Companies.
October 19-21, 2021 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Save the Date: MRO Europe Returns to Amsterdam this October! Learn more at: mroeurope.aviationweek.com
www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 11
UNIVERSALLY SPORTY IFE providers have known all along that sporting events are popular programming and now companies are meeting the needs with more live events by RICK LUNDSTROM
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fter a 2020 marked by rigorous virus testing, safety protocols and games played in empty stadiums, the world of organized sports might have as much pent-up demand for its products as the travel industry. A major sporting event, the Indianapolis 500 auto race kicked off Summer 2021 hosting 135,000 fans. In Japan, organizers are moving ahead to deliver a year-delayed Summer Olympics in Tokyo. When it comes to a thirst for live sports, it seems patience is running out and the world cannot wait. Airlines are announcing daily a return to regular scheduled service, and the complexities of international travel are being worked out one by one for an opening to air traffic between North
America and Europe. And perhaps no airline could be more anxious than New York-based JetBlue, which is planning its historic debut to trans-Atlantic competition with its route from JFK to London. The airline is bulking up on inflight entertainment for its long-range A321s and it is no surprise that a good portion of the content promises to be live sports. The evidence comes from two announcements this spring that exemplify its popularity and the challenges of bringing the content to the passenger. The earliest news occurred the first week of April, when JetBlue and Panasonic Avionics announced that the airline’s A321LR aircraft carry one channel of Sport 24, a live inflight sports platform that operates around the clock 365 days per year and has content from more
TOP 10 MOST POPULAR SPORTS IN THE WORLD 2021 POWER RANKING
390 Million Source: SportsShow
Live sports from Sport 24 will join the massive programming on Emirates’ ice system
than 30 sports leagues. In June, Emirates was also touting its live sporting content from Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra among the airline’s vast trove of IFE offerings on the ice entertainment system. This year, passengers can tune into Sport 24 for sporting events, including, but not limited to the NFL, NBA, NHL, all four Tennis Grand Slams, all four Golf Majors, the NRL, the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League and Bundesliga. Airline customers have access to Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra. “JetBlue’s commitment to our customers’ onboard experience is one we take extremely seriously,” said Marian Stoyanova, director of product development, JetBlue in the April 6 announcement. “Installing this award-winning live sports platform on
our new international fleet of A321LRs will ensure they remain entertained and connected at 30,000 feet.” Panasonic Avionics makes the 24/7 sports channel available through a partnership with IMG, a company that has been around since 1960 and started with a deal forged with professional golfer Arnold Palmer. The company has grown, supplying programming in sports, events, media, and fashion in more than 30 countries. It also manages and represents athletes and fashion models. In the announcement of the partnership, Richard Wise, Senior Vice President, Content and Channels at IMG Media acknowledged the possibilities that the pent-up demand will be part of the future as steps are taken to make COVID-19 a thing of the past. “This new deal also conveys the confidence both parties have in the recovery of the airline industry after the pandemic, especially now that vaccines are being rolled out around the world,” Wise said. At the start of the pandemic many sports leagues around the world canceled games, so much of the live content wasn’t available, says Dominic Green, Senior Director, Digital Products at Panasonic Avionics. But, he added, IMG quickly moved to fill the channel with highlights and other exciting programming from the archives, and just a few months later brought back full, live coverage, as those events started to return. Also, during the slowdown, IMG worked to secure in-flight rights to even more sports federations. With even more, live sporting
events again accessible in person and on the Sport 24 schedule this year, Panasonic Avionics expects the followers will return in full. “Evidence shows, that during many high-profile events, a majority of all viewing hours in-flight are spent watching Sport 24,” says Green. The satellite provider Viasat announced in May that it has entered into an agreement with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to provide in-flight access to the subscription service NBA League Pass. The option is currently available on JetBlue and American Airlines; however, licensing agreements limits the viewership. Flights that originate in the United States, Canada and China and fly to routes outside the country can show NBA games with League Pass, however it is not available for routes within the United States, Canada, and China. Nonetheless, the service can capture a significant audience. Dave Elliott, Viasat’s Managing Director, Media and Mobile, estimates that international travel that ends in Mexico, the Caribbean or Central America is approximately 20 percent of the scheduled service, which will be able to access NBA League Pass throughout the flight. “Content partnerships, such as this one with the NBA, use state-ofthe-art technology to leverage our bandwidth advantage even further to offer reliable, high quality OTT, live or on-demand, as efficiently as possible,” says Elliott. “We are exploring a variety of content partnerships, including sports programming.” www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 13
The Mint by Moment Care solution is a digital e-health platform accessible by patients from their television, computer, tablets and smartphones. It offers entertainment and tracks practical information, such as map of the health facility building and the ability to message the nurse
Handling e-health Moment has diversified its offering with connectivity services for healthcare units under new subsidiary Moment Care
by JANE HOBSON
he last 18 months have highlighted both the importance of reliable digital connections and health. Moment, a Francebased entertainment, e-commerce and connectivity provider for the travel industry, has merged both with a new e-health subsidiary. Moment introduced its healthcare arm Moment Care earlier this year. Developed by Moment Care, the Mint solution is a digital e-health platform accessible by patients from their television, computer, tablets and smartphones. The mission is to support patients during their stay in a healthcare establishment through entertainment, information and connectivity services. Moment Care was in the works before COVID-19, but the pandemic accelerated the project, explains Camille Cruchaudet, Marketing Manager at Moment. While still in its early stages,
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there has been a positive response. Five trials by health facilities are in progress, and the company plans to announce an important partnership with a pharmacy group in France shortly, including nearly 1,000 pharmacies. “We have always thought that our solutions would have a natural fit in the healthcare industry, because patients can have a restrictive journey while hospitalized or in healthcare facilities. Waiting and stress are regularly cited as concerns,” says Cruchaudet. Moment also has a vision to develop a complementary care solution in favor of a positive hospitalization experience – which can be contribute to a boost in morale and even recovery, she says. E-health also has benefits such as data handling and the ability to monitor patients remotely. “The hospital model is set to evolve. Faced with high bed occupancy rate,
medical organizations could favor an outpatient model,” Cruchaudet says. “Moment Care supports this new model where patients no longer feel isolated and have the necessary information.” The platform centralizes hundreds of content and services in one portal, allowing patients and their visitors to access live and on-demand content including TV, movies, press titles, games, podcasts, books and more. For health, the platform organizes medical information (appointments, treatments, message notifications, prevention) for patients to better understand their health. The platform provides access to other practical information, such as an interactive map of the building and the ability to message the nurse. “The solution puts patients back at the heart of the healthcare system by offering them a connected experience for the benefit of their comfort and health. Connected health with Mint makes it possible to make patients feel less lonely,” says Cruchaudet. Moment Care aims to become one of the leaders in the digitization of the patient experience in Europe by 2025.
First flight of its kind
Passengers share their Qatar Airways flight experience on Instagram
A four-hour “flight to nowhere” challenged Inmarsat’s staff and capabilities and gave the company a chance to be a part of COVID19 vaccine history by RICK LUNDSTROM
hen he sees passengers streaming videos, surfing the internet and posting selfies from aboard an aircraft, Neale Faulkner says he is curious what might be going through their minds as they engage in what has become a routine worldwide human activity. “I’m always wondering if the novelty of using high-speed connectivity on a flight is starting to wear off,” says Faulkner, who is Inmarsat Aviation’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA). “And if it is, that is actually quite a good thing because it shows that we are doing our job.” Inmarsat’s technological and organizational expertise was put to a rigorous test in late April when Qatar Airways informed the company that it planned to conduct its first flight where airport staff, crew and passengers were fully vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus. It was a four-hour excursion, departing from and returning to Doha; and the airline wanted the ability to provide connectivity access at roughly double its usual bandwidth. The flight would also emphasize the airline’s ability to provide a safe, touchless cabin environment, which was important
to instilling passenger confidence. All this would be a challenge in normal circumstances. But this time, the additional challenge of accommodating the airline with only a few days notice over an important bank holiday in the United Kingdom required Inmarsat to make it all happen in a little more than a day. The Inmarsat team was contacted by Qatar Airways on the Saturday morning of the Easter weekend and told that by Tuesday they needed to provide a connectivity pipe to the aircraft that doubled the speed and capacity. The A350-1000 would be filled with passengers, media and VVIPs. All could potentially require enough connectivity access to live stream content throughout the flight. To maximize the marketing impact of the flight, Qatar Airways stressed secrecy. Inmarsat turned to its technology team dedicated to looking after the company’s network for its GX Aviation product. From there, Faulkner said Inmarsat needed to know how many passengers would be on board and what they would likely be doing. Network and satellite beam settings were adjusted to follow the aircraft every step of the way, as it traversed international airspace. In addition to working with the airline, Inmarsat also worked with Thales
Avionics, which supplies its Avant IFEC system hardware. The goal was to help passengers easily make use of personal electronic devices, which would make the entertainment and connectivity aspect of the flight touchless. Aboard the flight, a crew shot a 27-minute Instagram livestream broadcast on Qatar Airways’ Super Wi-Fi, powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation inflight broadband solution. Since the successful flight on Qatar Airways, Inmarsat has done a similar stream onboard a British Airways flight for a popular morning television show in the UK. The segment centered on Portugal being placed on the “green list” that that allowed travelers to visit without quarantine upon returning (the country has since been placed on the amber list that discourages travel and requires 10-day isolation upon return). Portugal is a popular summer location for British travelers. The live broadcast aboard the British Airways flight was through the European Aviation Network (EAN), which is an integrated satellite and air-to-ground connectivity service. www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 15
Clean team An update on what’s moving in cabin hygiene and passenger perception by JANE HOBSON
Gel hand sanitizer and 5-gallon Mirabowl Q from Mirandy Products
ygiene is no less important in the cabin today as it was a year ago. Advancements in technology are making new processes possible, like the 3D printing of face shields and autonomous sanitization robots. High-quality products are becoming more accessible to the industry at large – but research findings revealed at the FTE APEX Virtual Expo suggest that passenger confidence in cleanliness of cabins still has a way to go.
Throughout the pandemic, Etihad Engineering has been researching and developing COVID-19 solutions at its facility in Abu Dhabi, from social distancing and disinfecting products to protection kits and cargo equipment. With a dedicated 3D printing lab on site, Etihad Engineering can print solutions for testing immediately. The 3D-printed face shield for crew and passengers is reusable and lightweight, and can be customized with the airline logo. Two-hundred pieces are available to customers 10 days after signing order contract. Other aircraft parts available to print include wall plug, seat cup holder, rubstrip and many more. 3D printing is up to 25 percent cheaper than paying market price for products, reduces lead time by more than 88 percent and can produce up to 150 aircraft parts in a single print. In 2020, Etihad Engineering 3D printed upwards of 10,000 aircraft parts. 3D printing reduces waste by using residual power for every print. The company uses the latest design software used by OEMs such as Boeing and Airbus, Ahmad Rajei, Vice President 16 | PAX TECH | JULY 2021
RAY autonomous UV-C disinfecting robot from aero hygenx
Design, Engineering and Innovation at Etihad Engineering tells PAX Tech. CATIA V5 “3D” imaging shows and simulates a complete design within the cabin. NATSTRAN/PATRAN is used to substantiate strength of installed items. The facility also houses a Flame Lab to test flammability and qualify the designed/installed items. This is to ensure designs meet regulations required by EASA and other local authorities for the customer and to manufacturer it to the expected Etihad standard. Etihad Engineering has other COVID-19 solutions available, including social distancing partitions and curtains, disinfecting products, protection kits and cargo equipment. “Yes, there are vaccines, but the solutions should still be on the table because they will encourage passengers to fly,” says Rajei. “We don’t see that the pandemic is disappearing soon. With these innovations, passengers will view the cabin in a way that builds confidence.” And for crew disinfection, airlines can convert lavatories to decontamination chambers with Etihad’s hydrogen peroxide atomization (fog) unit. Implementation depends on LOPA and operations acceptance, but takes only five days from signing the contract. It offers onboard crew disinfection convenience, is a lightweight solution and can be refilled and recharged on the ground.
Florida-based aircraft cleaning product supplier Mirandy has partnered with Avgroup Inc to continue expanding its customer base. Avgroup provides a variety of
products and services to the global aviation industry, as well as avionics support and 24/7 AOG support, thus helping Mirandy reach a more complete clientele. In light of the pandemic, Mirandy expanded its product range of lavatory, interiors, exteriors and airport runway products to include disinfectants, hands soap and hand sanitizers. Demand for these products hit its peak last year when customers stocked up, Lindsey Mendelson, President of Mirandy, tells PAX Tech. “While it has declined, I don’t think that demand will ever go away because the world changed in the past year. People have a new sense and appreciation for cleanliness and hygiene. I think our minds will always have this filter over it from COVID.” Among its most popular products is Mirabowl Q, a lavatory deodorant, cleaner and disinfectant. With quaternary disinfectant, it has fungicidal, bactericidal and virucidal capabilities. Mirabowl Q has low toxicity and effectively kills microbes and pathogens within a variety of pH ranges. It controls odor up to 15 hours, removes scale from tank walls, keeps flush rings clear, burnishes toilet bowls and splash pans, lubricates o-rings and keeps sludge from pump filters.
provides consistent results. The robot takes less than seven minutes to disinfect a narrow-body cabin such as a 737 or A320 and can easily be transported. Being autonomous eliminates the risk of exposure to crew, staff and passengers. RAY also streams and provides relevant data to the operator via its digital platform hygenxStream to help mitigate travel risks. Customers such as Calm Air are using RAY between flights to reduce the transmissibility of pathogens and keep passengers, staff and crew safe. “RAY is strategically designed for the transportation industry; however, this technology holds the potential for many other broad applications,” says Mahin. “Aero hygenx believes the focus on transportation hygiene is not only necessary but essential. We continue to diligently work on sustainable disinfection technologies that help to prevent the devastating emotional, psychological, and economic impact of future pandemics,” he says. The company plans to continue building its digital platform hygenxStream, providing data and insight to operators geared toward mitigating travel risks beyond the current pandemic.
Ray of hope
Self-proclaimed “aviation geeks and enthusiasts” at aero hygenx inc., in Ottawa, Canada, introduced RAY, an autonomous UV-C disinfecting robot, last summer. “I have witnessed how deeply and negatively COVID-19 has impacted our beloved aviation and transportation industries. I have seen friends, colleagues and family members furloughed and laid-off and can empathize with how lives have been upturned and affected during these difficult times,” Arash Mahin, CEO at aero hygenx, tells PAX Tech. “Witnessing and experiencing this catastrophic wave led to the creation of RAY.” RAY disinfects 99.9 percent of surfaces using UV-C light with proven success against MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV1, Ebola, and CoV2 (COVID-19). UV-C has been used for decades in disinfecting food, air and water by killing microorganisms and destroying the cell nucleic acid. Strategically designed for the transportation industry, RAY does not use chemicals and
Lindsey Mendelson, President, Mirandy
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LAY OF THE LAVATORY International Water-Guard introduces its collection of touchless lavatory products by JANE HOBSON
he COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a much greater awareness of hygiene and personal safety. With this awareness comes the responsibility for the aviation industry to introduce updates and innovations that help keep passengers safe and healthy in a space that is more often than not passed over in conversation – the lavatory. In April, APEX/IFSA CEO Dr. Joe Leader shared with PAX some developments about the APEX Health Safety Standard powered by SimpliFlying. Following a review by the medical board, it recommends airlines worldwide to include notifications for travelers not to remove masks in lavatories and public restrooms since COVID-19 can remain in the digestive system for up to 14 days. Keeping up with recommendations in passenger health is no problem for International Water-Guard (IWG) which has been supplying water disinfection units to airlines for more than 30 years. The company has recently unveiled its Healthy Lav offering, a range of touchless lavatory solutions and new water disinfection technology to help passengers stay safe and feel comfortable. “Before the pandemic, we were already working on lavatory touchless solutions and UVC-LED water disinfection as part of our mandate to provide innovative hygiene solutions to the aerospace industry,” Mathew Pownall, Technical Sales and Support Manager at International Water-Guard Industries Inc. tells PAX Tech. “The pandemic precipitated the idea of offering these innovative products together.”
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The offering includes a touchless faucet, touchless flush, the ‘HE’ (high efficiency) lavatory water heater and the UVL1 LED water disinfection unit. These touchless components and the UVL1 will be flying and certified in Q3 2021, and the HE Heater is available now. Additional touchless lavatory components are in an advanced stage of development and will be available soon. The HE Heater is a reliable, weightsaving, high-performance drop-in replacement for many existing lavatory water heaters. IWG HE Heaters have FAA PMA certification meaning it is eligible for install on the majority of Airbus and Boeing airframes without the need for an STC. The UVL1 carries out the vital task of ensuring that the aircraft water is free of harmful pathogens such as the bacteria and viruses that cause a range of illnesses (including dysentery, e-coli, rotavirus and legionella). These pathogens can also cause airlines to fail coliform sampling testing and the associated cost and inconvenience that brings. It uses LED lights that emit ultraviolet light in the UV-C spectrum which render pathogens unable to reproduce and therefore harmless to humans. The UVL1 is compact, lightweight and is straightforward to install just upstream of a spigot, faucet or galley water supply lines. The Healthy Lav offering is available in separate components or as a complete line-fit or retrofit package. To assist with integration, all touchless products and the UVL1 can be powered from IWG’s Lavatory Control Module so just one new power input into the lavatory is required.
The Healthy Lav by International Water-Guard includes touchless faucet, touchless flush, the ‘HE’ (high efficiency) lavatory water heater and the UVL1 LED water disinfection unit
The International Water-Guard UVL1 LED water disinfection unit
The ‘HE’ (high efficiency) lavatory water heater by International WaterGuard is a reliable, weight-saving, high-performance drop-in replacement for many existing lavatory water heaters
Skyports designs and constructs takeoff and landing infrastructure for air taxis. Vertiports can be thought of as miniature airports throughout cities
Air tight solutions
Skyports and German air taxi pioneer Volocopter unveiled the first air taxi vertiport terminal prototype, the ‘VoloPort’, in Singapore in 2019
Skyports is pioneering the design and construction of take-off and landing infrastructure for air taxis in major cities
by JANE HOBSON
n the not-so-distant future, hopping on an inter-city flight to avoid road traffic getting out of a downtown metropolis may be commonplace. UK-based Skyports is pioneering the design and construction of take-off and landing infrastructure for air taxis and making this method of air transportation a reality in the next two to four years. Skyports partnered with German air taxi pioneer Volocopter to unveil the world’s first full-scale passenger air taxi vertiport terminal prototype – the ‘VoloPort’ – at the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress in Singapore in 2019. The companies are now working together to bring VoloPorts to the city state for permanent commercial operations. “Think about these things like miniature airports all around cities. You land vehicles, you go to a gate, you offload passengers, you recharge the vehicle, you clean it, you do your safety checks, and you get it back out of there,” Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports, tells PAX Tech. These air taxi vehicles are also called eVTOL (Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) – as Walker explains. This type of aircraft uses electric power to hover, take off and
land vertically and can be used to transport both passenger and cargo. Air taxis offer a whole raft of perks because they are electric. They run much quieter than traditional combustion aircraft and helicopters. The engine has a significantly lower price point and maintenance is easier, resulting in less downtime. They are best suited for flights of approximately 25 minutes, however, with the advancement of battery technology and vehicle design, longer journeys will be expected in the future. The two most typical use cases are for efficient transport within a city, for example from the LAX to downtown Los Angeles, and for inter-city travel between hubs, such as between Miami and Fort Lauderdale in Florida, says Walker. “It’s a time-saving, efficient, direct flight in and out. You can drive the hour and a half between the two by car, or go in 20 or 25 minutes,” he says. A lot must be considered when integrating vertiports into major cities: demand for the transportation, the problems the city is trying to solve (vehicle traffic, public transportation issues), the existing airspace, available space to put the vertiport (low, square parking lots are ideal), surrounding locations,
where the landing area is, how many gates, the passenger journey and more. “The physical building is the easiest part,” Walker says. “We really need to focus on airspace and airside configuration.” Walker predicts that the industry will start to see air taxis and vertiport infrastructure scale up post-pandemic. He says he doesn’t think people will be wary of the technology because personalization is at the forefront in the commercial aviation industry. This is seen in advancements in inflight entertainment, connectivity, seating options, inflight products, catering options and more. “Would people be prepared to jump in it? Yes. It’s a personalized form of transportation,” he says. “I personally don’t think that demand is the constraint in this industry for many years to come. I think supply of vehicles is probably the constraint for a while.” Household names such as Airbus and Boeing are among the manufacturers out there going though certification processes for air taxis, he says, adding that the first wave is expected to be certified by about the end of 2023. www.pax-intl.com | PAX TECH | 19
Digitally armed The IATA Travel Pass debuted in March with Singapore Airlines
Whatever its name, digital travel tools that help passengers navigate the world of international travel will be necessary and with us for a while. Two important association executives weigh in by RICK LUNDSTROM
n the middle of June, European nations began an aggressive effort to lure back leisure travelers hoping to salvage what is left of the summer travel season. The first intrepid souls that will take the challenge will need to be armed with the latest information, documents and take the initiative to be fully tested and vaccinated when it is required. The International Air Transport Association and the Airline Passenger Experience Association are both playing important roles to kick off the process. “For most of the world, travel remains a maze of COVID-19 testing requirements and vaccination requirements that are not aligned,” says Dr. Joe Leader, CEO of APEX. He has seen firsthand the results of the outcome for passengers who were denied boarding without proper testing and communication with officials at their destination. “Had that been submitted digitally in advance, the mistake would have been caught in time to fix,” Leader
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points out. “Instead, the passengers were delayed for 24 hours.” For a digital solution to work, Leader says information needs to be securely passed between appropriate applications. For example, he says, an airline travel pass should be accepted by government passport control and other end-to-end solutions as needed. Having multiple apps do the same COVID-19 safety objectives on the same trip do not best serve passenger experience. Simplicity, ease, and security should be the rule that providers take with one another. One solution that has had wide acceptance from all corners of the travel industry is the Travel Pass from the International Air Transport Association. The app debuted in March with Singapore Airlines between Changi and London Heathrow. IATA now reports that 71 airlines have joined the trial covering 151 international routes. Nick Careen Senior Vice President Airport Passenger Cargo and Security says the app has been in the Apple
Store selection since March and is now in the Google Play Store as well. IATA has added features to improve user experience and facilitate seamless integration with airlines’ apps and government health portals. With the improvements, users can upload more than one travel itinerary, locate testing labs, send their COVID-19 test results or proof of vaccine straight to airlines, airport, and border authorities. They can also create a digital version of their passport using the machine-readable zone info (MRZ). In addition, the app is now able to manage COVID-19 vaccination certificates, with the first operational trial to test this scheduled in July. Reopening borders without the need for quarantine is vital to opening up the world as a whole says Careen. Now wait times are long, and airports are not up to adequate staffing. Airlines themselves are having trouble staffing up. American Airlines this past week canceled hundreds of flights that could not be crewed. “Without an automated solution for COVID-19 checks, there is enormous potential for significant airport disruptions on the horizon,” says Careen. “Already, average passenger processing and waiting times have doubled from what they were pre-crisis during peak time—reaching an unacceptable three hours.”
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