PAX TECH Seating, IFE & Connectivity July 2019

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JULY 20192 |0 1SPECIAL J U LY 8 | ISSUE S P E |C I A L I S S U E | w w w. p a x - i n t l . c o m

MRO, Interiors & IFEC

A library in hand



Trolle : cover y age


Departure From Limits. First Bluetooth Without Impact To Wi-Fi. Introducing RAVE High Density Bluetooth Audio. We’ve cracked the code for Bluetooth audio congestion, which now allows the entire aircraft to be connected at the same time. Airlines can provide headsets or allow passengers to use their own. Available now.


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The next decade of seating


e are still months away from the next Aircraft Interiors Expo, but that doesn’t stop speculation and predications bubbling forth from the segment of the industry that watches all things cabin-service related. In late June Valour Consultancy, one of many market intelligence firms, was touting a report, available for purchase, tracking the future of seating and the demand for in-seat power, a godsend for all those airline passengers who undergo what the firm cited as “low-battery anxiety.” Valour also foresees the possibility of a little competition among the established players in the industry, as new startups and growing firms were gaining contracts large and small to chip away at the dominance of the main players. But here are the overall numbers that Valour forecasts: the commercial aircraft seating market should see a sizeable increase in market growth over the next 10 years, from US$3.8 billion to US$4.9 billion by 2028. The total number of in-service seating with in-seat power will increase over the same timeframe from 38% to 66%. “Continued growth in the adoption of inflight connectivity and wireless inflight entertainment, the retrofit opportunity for in-seat power – especially in the largely untapped single-aisle segment – will represent an increasingly fierce battleground going forward,” said a press release on the report. Top players in the past

year were established companies like Astronics and KID-Systeme. However, IMAGK, Burrana and Inflight Canada have recently won sizeable contracts to put power ports throughout the cabin. Though many passengers now travel with multiple devices, it seems unlikely all of them will run low on battery power at the same time. But given that so many people seem to move through the travel experience with a certain measure of low-level anxiety, it would be logical to assume a seat without a power port could contribute to their troubles, and that anxiety could take a further toll the farther they fly. The report points out that A321XLR narrow-body aircraft built for long haul will be outfitted with the latest inflight cabin amenities in Business Class and Premium Economy. “The likely knock-on effect is increased demand for multiple in-seat power options in these more premium cabins,” said Craig Foster, author of the report for Valour Consultancy, in a preview of the study. No doubt the time between now and 2028 will bring with it some unforeseen events that will change the cabin services industry. In the time since the report was announced, the 737 MAX continues to be grounded, possibly longer than into the fall. However, society-wide anxiety seems to be something everyone can count on, and something that we will likely see increasing in our complicated world. Better have those power ports handy!

and opinions of the publisher or editor. July 2019. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. © PAX International magazine

ISSN 1206-5714 Key title: Pax International

Rick Lundstrom Editor-in-Chief PAX Tech  |  PAX TECH  |  3



Features SEATING



A major U.S. airline and an important seating manufacturer are working with Astronics on products to keep passengers conveniently entertained throughout their flight


Italian seating manufacturer Geven is leading a project to develop a new design solution for airline passenger comfort, as Mary Jane Pittilla discovers


For years, lie-flat seating and luxury in the front cabin were driving seating design. Now airlines and seat makers are also eyeing another part of the aircraft and creating more ways to enhance passenger comfort


This spring the IFEC giant unveiled its plans for a new moving map product set for introduction in early 2020. Behind the push is the desire to create a system both interactive and stunning in look and feel

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MRO, Interiors & IFEC

A library in hand


PressReader is working to make a splash in the inflight publication realm with its innovative platform. Find out more on page 30.



Trolley covera ge



Inflight VR is taking off in airline cabins and lounges. Mary Jane Pittilla speaks to the leading players in this exciting entertainment space


As airlines search for ways to meet their customers’ sustainability requests while providing the variety of content they demand, digital platform developer PressReader is moving ahead on its global expansion plans with several international partnerships


Suppliers of digital press material like newspapers and magazines deal with many of the same challenges as other media, and France-based Adaptive has developed two solutions that address airline concerns



PAX Tech spoke with four international trolley manufacturers to pick their brains about their history, the booming specialty trolley sector and where they predict this facet of the industry is headed









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Viasat and China Satcom partner to bring inflight connectivity service to airlines over China

I Expect In-Seat Power.

Keep your passengers engaged with Burrana’s In-Seat Power Solutions: USB-A | USB-C | 110V AC With 5 Billion USB-C Devices expected by 2021, ensure your airline delivers on passenger expectations now and in the future. Secure your demo at the APEX Expo 2019:



ThinKom’s new antenna passes preliminary testing ThinKom Solutions this month announced the completion of the first live test of a commercially available phased-array antenna with Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite. The test was performed using a production model of ThinKom’s Ka2517 aeronautical satcom antenna, designed for business aviation, commercial air transport and military airborne applications. ThinKom’s Ka2517 antenna successfully acquired, tracked and maintained seamless end-to-end connectivity with the Telesat LEO satellite. Full-duplex throughput data rates of up to 370 Mbps on the downlink and 110 Mbps on the uplink were achieved at extremely high spectral efficiencies, all while demonstrating the ultra-low latency capabilities (20 to 40 msec) of Telesat’s LEO satellite. Additionally, the Ka2517 reliably transitioned from tracking the LEO satellite to a geostationary (GEO) satellite and back to the LEO satellite, with switching times that were consistently under one second. The on-air tests were conducted June 10 to 14 at Telesat’s Allan Park facility in Ontario using the flight-proven ThinKom Ka2517 phased-array antenna and a Newtec MDM6000 modem. The ThinKom antenna acquired and tracked the LEO satellite at elevation angles as low as 10 degrees above the horizon. Bill Milroy, ThinKom’s Chairman and Chief Technology Officer, said in a statement: “These on-air tests confirm that our unique phased-array antenna architecture provides the beam agility, switching speeds, low look angles and high spectral efficiencies required to communicate over a LEO satellite network. We are now moving into the next phase of development and commercialization of an Enterprise User Terminal for Telesat’s global LEO satellite system.”

Milroy also pointed out that ThinKom has conducted successful on-air demos with the Ka2517 across multiple GEO satellites and medium-earth orbit (MEO) constellations from fixed platforms as well as an aircraft in flight. “These tests provide clear validation of our phased-array technology and products across the full range of GEO, MEO and LEO environments,” he added. “Telesat is pleased to be collaborating with ThinKom on antenna technologies that will enable aeronautical customers to take full advantage of Telesat LEO’s capabilities, including high capacity and ultra-low latency,” said Erwin Hudson, Vice President, Telesat LEO. “The aeronautical market is important for Telesat and these on-air tests highlight the advantages the Telesat LEO satellite constellation will bring to passengers and crew of major airlines worldwide. Telesat looks forward to continuing to partner with ThinKom and to building a complete antenna ecosystem to serve growing markets for mobile broadband.”

ThinKom.jpg ThinKom Ka2417 phasedarray antenna undergoes live tests on Telesat LEO satellite


Acro continues partnership with Mango Air Mango Airlines, the Johannesburg-based low-cost carrier, has once again selected Acro’s Series 3 Ultra Economy Class seat for two 737-800 aircraft. Acro has a longstanding relationship with the airline and has delivered 14 shipsets since Mango first selected the seat in 2014. “By selecting Series 3 Ultra once again, we are delighted that Mango has continued to recognize the qualities of this classic Acro product,” said Alan McInnes, Senior Vice President of Sales, in an announcement. “The seat meets the heavy demands of the hardworking low-cost carrier fleet as it delivers unrivaled reliability and cost of ownership. Passenger comfort is maximized with the reclining seat back and unique space-saving design which unlocks

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two inches more legroom than conventional seats.” Mango operates a fleet of 737 aircraft on domestic routes to major cities including Cape Town, Durban, George, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth, and regional flights between Johannesburg and Zanzibar. “Our collaboration with Acro is a good fit as Mango constantly challenges itself to push the envelope beyond the boundaries of convention; continually developing new products and technologies with a continual focus on service excellence,” said Benediction Zubane, Head of Marketing at Mango Airlines. “The Series 3 Ultra seat embodies innovation and enables us to offer a class-leading seating product to our customers.”



Inmarsat satellite launches will fill connectivity hole for Emirates

Connectivity service on Emirates sometimes drops for four hours on routes over the North Pole

Emirates is keen to get the word out that passengers bound for the U.S. will be able to access Wi-Fi, mobile service connectivity and the airline’s Live TV broadcast on routes over the North Pole and Arctic Circle with the launch of two elliptical orbit satellites by partner Inmarsat in 2022. Emirates flights to the U.S., which often travel over the polar region, can lose connectivity for up to four hours. Most satellites that connect aircraft are geostationary, located over the equator, and aircraft antennae cannot see the satellite when in the far north, due to the earth’s curvature. The new satellites will also provide Live TV broadcast on Emirates flights, allowing passengers to watch live news or sports over the polar region. Emirates’ Live TV is currently

available on 175 aircraft including all 777 and select A380s. More than one million Wi-Fi connections are made on board the airline’s flights in an average month. “Inmarsat has an extremely successful track record of working with Emirates to ensure their inflight connectivity requirements are met on a global basis, both in the cockpit and the cabin,” said Philip Balaam, Inmarsat Aviation President. “We are delighted to continue that tradition with the rapid development of our Global Xpress (GX) satellite network. In the past month alone, we have announced even more capacity being added to the network with five additional payloads, including these latest two for flights over the northern latitudes and Arctic region. This is a great fit for Emirates and once again they have played an important role in our decision for these latest expansions.” Wi-Fi connectivity is available on all Emirates aircraft. Passengers in all cabin classes receive 20MB of free Wi-Fi data or unlimited use of messaging apps for two hours, allowing them to log on and stay in touch with friends, family or colleagues. Emirates Skywards members enjoy special benefits depending on their membership tier and class of travel, including free Wi-Fi when traveling in First Class or Business Class.


ANA moves ahead with Safran and Toyota seating All Nippon Airways (ANA) will be making a series of changes to the seats on its domestic aircraft in Economy Class while also increasing the number of Premium Class seats on domestic flights. Eight 777-200 and 11 787-8 aircraft have been selected for the renovations, which are set to begin in the fall and are to be completed by the first half of the 2022 fiscal year. In addition to improvements to both Premium and Economy Class seats, the renovated aircraft will offer an increased number of Premium Class seats to a total of 28 seats on each aircraft. New Premium Class seats supplied by Safran will be equipped with 15-inch touch panel personal seat monitors, the largest yet in ANA’s domestic Premium Class, as well as an enhanced entertainment library. An expanded Wi-Fi entertainment service will make it possible to access inflight Wi-Fi entertainment on any smart device using the ANA app. Inflight Wi-Fi entertainment connects passengers to a curated library with nearly 190 TV programs, videos, music and e-books. The new seats will be made of an advanced fabric to increase comfort and will offer an ergonomic storage space below the monitor for personal items. In addition to the new seats, passengers will also have access to a rotating table and a retractable side table as well 8  |  PAX TECH  |  JULY 2019

as a privacy partition between seats. All seats also come equipped with a PC adapter and USB power outlet. The seats in Economy Class are produced by Toyota Boshoku. Designers considered a full range of body types and postures to find the ideal balance for the seat as well as to determine monitor positioning. The seat distributes pressure evenly throughout the body to make sitting more comfortable. In addition, the backrest frame ANA has again shape has been optiturned to Toyota Boshoku mized to make it for its Economy Class seating perfectly fit a range of body types. These same seats and accompanying features were previously installed in six ANA 767-300 aircraft. Bonus features include an 11.6-inch touch panel personal seat monitor, the largest yet for ANA’s domestic Economy Class, and an ergonomic beverage holder.



SDQ lounge gets Immfly connectivity system Immfly Lounge is now available in the VIP lounges of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic’s Las Aeropuerto Internacional Las Américas (SDQ), one of the largest airports in the Caribbean. According to a press release from Immfly, the airport handles 3.5 million people each year and its top 10 routes include direct flights to hubs in the U.S., Europe and South America. Carriers flying out of the location include American Airlines, Iberia, Delta, Avianca, Spirit, Air Europa, JetBlue and United Airlines. At SDQ, Immfly Lounge provides streaming digital entertainment with customized services for premium airline passengers. With this service, airlines and lounges can extend Immfly’s service to any designated pre-boarding area, to the inflight experience and even post-flight. Plus, optional features such as managed web services ensure customers can access information related to content they will be able to enjoy before arrival at the airport. For example, Iberia Express selected a service that informs its customers prior to traveling which Game of Thrones episodes they will be able to view during their travels. TV shows, audiobooks and e-books, podcasts, games, music, magazines, destination guides, news and content for kids can be made available for the guests of Immfly’s airline customers. Specially customized modules can also be developed for lounge partners, such as shopping opportunities and offers of upgrades and other services. Imad Al Asmar, Director General of Before Boarding, which operates multiple airport VIP lounges in Latin America, explained the approach in a statement: “Before Boarding actively looks at options which provide our users with the best and most sophisticated experience. Our customers can now enjoy this dynamic entertainment platform in our [SDQ]

spaces at no additional cost. The service is available to enhance the time customers have available at the airport, as they wait for their flight or even for their luggage collection. They can now relax and enjoy the latest in entertainment content in addition to exploring new products and services we announce in this innovative premium connected digital services platform provided by Immfly.” Maria Cardenal, Product and Digital Services Director of Immfly, added: “Entertainment today is everywhere, and above all it’s digital. At Immfly we are experts in digital entertainment solutions [that] also connect passengers with airlines and airport lounges. We continuously innovate and evolve to meet the needs of companies in the sector. We are very pleased to collaborate with Before Boarding, given the company’s customer-focused approach and determination to offer a service that meets the demands of the global connected traveler “ Immfly Lounge also provides a range of advertising modules that allow brands to digitally interact with “an affluent public in an exclusive environment,” according to Immfly, with no special apps or downloads required. At SDQ, passengers in the VIP lounges can simply connect to the Before Boarding Wi-Fi network by logging into a web address with the password provided onsite. Passengers can stream content to their PEDs from the lounge in Santo Domingo


Bus line testing Inflight VR headsets Following the successful deployment of virtual reality (VR) headsets on bus routes in the United States, FlixBus has partnered with Inflight VR to offer immersive entertainment to passengers on three routes in and between France and Spain. FlixBus is initially providing 15 devices passengers can use for free on routes between Barcelona and Montpellier, Paris and Rouen, and between Paris and Cabourg. After testing, the bus line will consider an expanded deployment of Inflight VR’s solution. “We believe in the tremendous opportunities VR provides for companies like FlixBus who push the envelope of their customers’ travel experience. Our role is to make today’s most emerging technology work. Our thorough approach addresses all technical, logistic, usability and rights management aspects to make this a

seamless way for FlixBus to amaze their passengers and build a closer relationship to their brand,” said Moritz Engler, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Inflight VR, in an announcement. Passengers can explore FlixBus city destinations, relax through guided meditation and see video of a climb on Mount Everest, whales in the Pacific Ocean or a selection of movies. “Having been the first company to launch a virtual reality flight entertainment solution for eight airlines, airport lounges and FlixBus U.S. over the past year, we are very proud to see other sectors of mobility in different regions of the world beginning to adopt our services,” added Raphael Baumann, Chief Commercial Officer of Inflight VR.  |  PAX TECH  |  9





A major U.S. airline and an important seating manufacturer are working with Astronics on products to keep passengers conveniently entertained throughout their flight

selection of Astronics products largely unseen and unknown to passengers but vital to providing consistent entertainment at their seats was delivered this spring to one of the large U.S. airlines. Still bound by privacy agreements common in the industry, the airline selected newly developed and existing products in the extensive Astronics line. Both standard designs and products built with custom features for the airline are part of the makeup. An order to supply up to 50 double-aisle aircraft with a suite of products is an important assurance to the company, said Michael Kuehn, President of the Astronics CSC subsidiary, in the company’s April announcement of the new contract. “We believe that being selected as a hardware solution partner for this airline is a validation of the quality and innovation of our product offers,” Kuehn said. “The airline relied on us to provide a signification portion of the design and development, and manufacturing services to deliver their solution on time and on budget. “Astronics offers the most complete and most widely deployed set of IFEC hardware solutions available from a single vendor.” The airline selected products that will allow it to offer onboard audio and video on demand services “that provide redundancy, self-healing capabilities and modularity for uninterrupted inflight performance,” according to Astronics. To accomplish the task, the airline selected Astronics’ Summit™ line of inflight entertainment content serv-

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Astronics became exclusive manufacturer and marketer of the SmartTray in 2015

ers, CabinEdge™ content loaders, Cabin-ACe™ wireless access points (WAPS) and a custom-designed passenger control unit (PCU). The East Aurora, New York, company is not only working with major airlines, but key suppliers in the industry. In the future, versions of HAECO’s Vector™ Economy Class seat will have the option of the Astronics’ SmartTray® which is equipped with a holder for personal electronic devices. Astronics entered into an agreement to market, manufacture and sell the trays in 2015. Another subsidiary, Astronics Advance Electrical Systems (AES) was at the forefront of the spring agreement with HAECO for the tray table that doubles as a PED holder, which is now flying on one international airline’s A350 aircraft. With the feature, passengers can use their PEDs hands-free in a configuration made possible through a combination of tray table patents. The tables can be located in the seatback on in the seat arm. It is one of several Astronics configurations for PED holders. “We have enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Astronics, one of the most experienced companies in passenger technology innovation,” said Jose Pevida, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Product Development at HAECO Cabin Solutions, in the announcement at AIX. “Their SmartTray offers advantages that set our seats apart in delivering a unique, comfortable passenger experience.”

ASTRONICS CSC OPENS IN WAUKEGAN, ILLINOIS Astronics Corporation’s wholly owned subsidiary Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certifications (CSC) has moved its operations to a new office and manufacturing facility in Waukegan, Illinois. The new facility is 123,000 square feet and has a 4,400-square-foot FAA-approved repair station. The station will allow products to be repaired without third-party recertification. There is also 11,200 square feet of warehouse space and 44,000 square feet of office space for research and development, engineering, product support and administration. “The new facility enables the expansion of manufacturing capacity and certification services,” said a July 18 release from the company. The new plant will give the company ability to develop, produce and certify products within one location, which the company says will enable faster, more efficient production process to satisfy customer product needs. Waukegan is located approximately 20 miles north of Astronics CSC’s Lake Zurich Design Center.

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This spring the IFEC giant unveiled its plans for a new moving map product set for introduction in early 2020. Behind the push is the desire to create a system both interactive and stunning in look and feel


Tracking a crosscontinents route on Panasonic’s Arc moving map


or decades, airline passengers have turned to their aircraft’s moving map display for a look at where they are going and where they have been. These onboard systems reveal the graceful curve of their aircraft’s flight path, overlaid on graphics of countries and continents. The tables of data showing altitude, speed, wind direction and other information have held the attention of countless numbers of airline passengers, and in some cases have offered a rudimentary education on small aspects of the miracle of flight. For most of their history, these maps were static – something flickering on a small IFE screen with few controls and not many choices. Those limits have been swept away in recent years as interactive screens have been installed and technology has put more options in the hands of the passenger. The moving map has become entertainment in its own right. And now it is on the threshold of becoming a tool for commerce and, just as important, information about the person idly working the functions.

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Several companies have developed sophisticated systems for passenger interaction. One new entrant, Panasonic Avionics, aims to join, and perhaps dominate, the future of interactive maps with the introduction of Arc, first announced at April’s Aircraft Interiors Expo and set to be flying with passengers early next year. If its first users are shrewd observers, they’ll notice similarities to forms of entertainment on the ground and possibly find themselves making purchases like they do on Amazon and creating personal profiles in the same way they do on LinkedIn or Facebook. The map has been developed with an omnichannel approach, working across platforms on a passenger’s seatback screen or personal electronic device. “Arc has been carefully developed with both the airline and the end user in mind,” said Andrew Mohr, Head of Innovation at Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “Today’s consumers rely on multiple screens at home and expect the same experience in the air.”

Airline information can be teamed with online shopping and destination information

The look

What passengers on Arc-equipped airlines will notice is the company’s attempt to create a platform that in some ways resembles PlayStation and Xbox. “Inspiration [for the system] came from very modern gaming titles and genres focused on a first-person and role-play experience,” said Mohr. “Examples include sports games with HD displays, scene transitions [and] a multitude of camera angles and lighting effects.” Arc’s development is happening alongside other solutions in Panasonic’s NEXT IFEC system, a follow-up to the Panasonic X series. The NEXT series will feature high-definition 4K monitors similar to pricey flat screen televisions. Users of Arc will be able to view their flight path in map and satellite views, all the way down to the street level of the country below them. But what Panasonic says will be the important differentiations between Arc and other competitors (which also have highly sophisticated features) are the ways passengers can personalize the viewing experience. In what

Panasonic expects to deliver ARC systems to customers early next year

the company says is an industry first, Arc will integrate with its personalization services such as Marketplace. Passengers can set and retain preferences in order to build profiles that extend beyond Arc to other applications. They can resume unfinished movies from previous flights, receive recommendations based on viewing history and unlock exclusive content and offers based on loyalty program status, among other features associated with their profile. “Taking a destination-based approach means that an airline could promote timely events or activities taking place at a passenger’s destination through integrations with Panasonic’s e-commerce platform, Marketplace,” said Mohr.

A worthwhile collaboration

Panasonic worked with several partners to develop Arc. Local, authentic and personalized recommendations found in Arc are curated by Raleigh & Drake. Real-time aircraft data and maps were developed by FlightAware. One of the unique features that will appeal to AvGeeks will be a Fleet View, which shows the status of the airline’s other aircraft in the air at the time of the flight. Mohr said that implementation of Arc requires minimum processor and storage requirements, similar to what is required for those offering high-resolution media in flight. If minimum requirements are met, airlines will not need to install additional hardware and will be able to display flight information from existing aircraft interface connections. Much of the work that took place on Arc was done at Panasonic’s Malmö, Sweden-based digital studio, Tactel AB, which it acquired in 2015. The company says it will be announcing a launch customer for Arc and deliveries of the new moving map system will begin in the first quarter of 2020.  |  PAX TECH  |  13



ergonomic efficiency

Italian seating manufacturer Geven is leading a project to develop a new design solution for airline passenger comfort, as Mary Jane Pittilla discovers


eating supplier Geven is coordinating a ground-breaking new project named CASTLE (CAbin Systems design Toward passenger welLbEing) to develop an optimized passenger cabin environment, both for regional aircraft and business jets. The aim of Castle project is to develop a new design solution, focusing on ergonomics and anthropometry (the study of the measurements and proportions of the human body) and to reduce noise and the effects of vibration on the passenger. The Castle Consortium is represented by 11 partners, drawn from seven industrial firms and SMEs, and four research organizations. Geven, based in Italy, is coordinating the research project, which is funded by the European Union. The project beneficiaries are: Acumen Design Associates Ltd, UK; INVENT Gmbh, Germany; PGA Electronics, France; Siemens Industry Software NV, Belgium; Noesis Solutions, Belgium; DEMA, Italy; CIRA Italian Aerospace Research Center, Italy; UNINA: University of Naples Federico II, Italy; UNIBO: University of Bologna, Italy; and POLITO: Politecnico di Torino, Italy. The project started on July 1, 2016 and is scheduled to take six years to complete. The project forms part of the

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European Union’s Clean Sky 2 Program (CS2), which runs from 2014 to 2024 to enable the continuation of the successful Clean Sky 1 program. Clean Sky is the largest European research program developing innovative, cutting-edge technology aimed at reducing CO2 gas emissions and noise levels produced by aircraft. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, Clean Sky contributes to strengthening European aero-industry collaboration, global leadership and competitiveness. CS2 aims at supporting further gains in environmental impact, support new mobility for EU citizens, and reinforce the global competitiveness of the European aeronautics industry and its supply chain. The Castle Consortium’s proposal was presented by the group of partners, and published in a collaboration between Leonardo Aircraft and Dassault Aviation. The proposal refers to Leonardo Aircraft’s project, “Affordable Low Weight Human Centered Cabin” (integrated within the “Advanced Fuselage of Regional Aircraft” work stream), and Dassault Aviation’s “Office Centered Cabin” (integrated within the “Novel Travel Experience in Business Jet Aviation” work stream). For regional aircraft, objectives of Castle Consortium are an improved and

optimized passenger cabin environment through an innovative and integrated design approach, based mainly on human factor issues of ergonomics, anthropometrics, and introducing new environmental materials as well as technologies to reduce the effects of vibration and noise on passenger, crew and people with reduced mobility, including psychological aspects. For business jets, the aim is improved and optimized passenger cabin comfort, increasing passengers’ wellbeing and efficiency, both turning the traveling time into effective, productive time. All proposed methodologies and materials technologies will be validated by following the building-block approach: from the coupon level (single material characterization) up to interiors sub-component level (real scale cabin equipment) through element level (material layup and composition full characterization). The most promising methodologies and technologies will be brought from component level maturity up to the demonstration of overall performance at the systems level to support the innovative flight vehicle configurations. Once validated, they will be applied to an on-ground passenger demonstrator of cabin fuselage.

ESSENZA Essentially: class! Geven's latest response to the newest quirks of high density comfort seating. Light and tight - Essenza's little body is all you need to carry passengers in comfort in spite of the smaller pitches. Essential in design, but substantial in reliability. Conceived for the short haul - its life cycle is one you can count on for the long haul.

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for the


A sample of the products offered by Wallsun

PAX Tech spoke with four international trolley manufacturers to pick their brains about their history, the booming specialty trolley sector and where they predict this facet of the industry is headed Wallsun

After beginning with oven trays in 1996, Wallsun Aviation branched out to trolleys in 2000. Today the company produces several models of trolleys in half and full sizes, designed for meal, waste and bar, in addition to standard containers, aluminum drawers, and oven racks and trays. The company reports that it holds a 65 to 70% share of the Chinese market, with customers that include the country’s three largest airlines: Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. Its attempt to expand beyond its home shores is still young, having only entered the international market in late 2018. Wallsun tells PAX Tech that though its team is aware there are trolleys on the market with the ability to dispense 16  |  PAX TECH  |  JULY 2019

hot liquids like coffee – which, it adds, are especially popular among French airlines – the company is presently not looking into moving into this sector as many legacy airlines are steering clear of this method of service, and it will continue to meet the large demand for traditional trolley varieties. “Wallsun Aviation will certainly keep an open mind with regards investing in such ventures when conditions are more mature,” a company rep explained. Regarding the future of the trolley industry, Wallsun has high hopes, saying: “Perhaps one day, sooner rather than later, there will inevitably be a trolley with high-tech and new materials in the market, what with the progress of robotics and development of nano tech and 3D printing.”



Korita Aviation’s full-size Aluflite trolley with superlight polypropylene drawers (inset)

Korita Aviation

Since 2006, Korita Aviation has been delivering high-quality galley equipment that meets its clients’ specific requirements. “Bespoke design is our forte,” explains the company’s Marketing Manager, Samantha Collas. “Airlines need equipment that is ergonomic, delivers durability in service and complements their inflight passenger service delivery style. We do this.” Korita works with airlines of all sizes, from legacy to low-cost carriers, but in line with their “customer integrity first” approach the company prefers to remain mum when it comes to naming names. One name that they are happy to share, however, is that of a yet-to-be-released piece of technology, IT’s Aluflite, which Collas says will pave the way for a new type of airline catering management. A slimline device that is attached to the interior of the trolley, IT’s Aluflite tracks the trolley’s contents and usage by location and flight number throughout the entire logistical cycle, for the airline’s benefit. It will also track any malfunctions and send out an alert when the trolley needs to be serviced. “The aim is to ensure that key information is recorded easily and that it enables the traceability of a trolley and its contents, along with maintenance requirements,” Collas says. The company recognizes that onboarding a lightweight trolley is no longer the only concern of its airline customers – carriers are looking into ways to improve the passenger experience as well as the ease of use for crew, even at the trolley level. This has been especially true over the last two years, with digitally enabled food and beverage service being adopted by some airlines. Collas notes this is a direction Korita is looking to. “Ergonomic design and clear content recognition features to support an even greater level of preparation efficiency is an element that we play close attention to,” she told PAX Tech. “We believe that the ‘fine details’ of service efficiency will be important as this technology is adopted by more airlines. We are looking forward to this next phase, as our strength to offer bespoke design details will be an asset for airlines operating such systems.” 18  |  PAX TECH  |  JULY 2019

Sometimes change is good, especially in the trolley sector. As Bucher Aviation’s CEO, Francisco Aguilera Iborra, explains, though his company is slowly shifting away from its conventional ATLAS trolley line, it is pressing forward in the sector in new and exciting ways. Bucher is doing this by hanging its hat on innovative new ideas, says Aguilera Iborra, the result of which will be a reduced total cost for airlines and caterers alike. One of the ways in which they are accomplishing this, at least initially, is through insulation, allowing airlines to reduce or eliminate chillers on their aircraft and optimize their catering logistics by offering more return options on mid- and short-haul flights. A recent announcement from the company revealed that its insulated ARCTICart™ trolleys are now available in half sizes, opening the model up to even more potential customers. Gustavo Romero, Director of Sales for Bucher, says that when the full-size version was being developed prospects were keen on the idea, even suggesting the need for perfectly insulated carts to the company. Adding the half-size cart, he says, was the next logical step, and the company presented the first prototype at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg this past April. At next year’s event, the company expects to have the ATLAS half-size carts certified. “Both the half-size and the full-size cart will include many improvements which were addressed by the prospects we have been talking to for the last months,” Romero adds. In the future, he sees the company pushing forth into the burgeoning Wi-Fi trolley sector, a step which they have already tentatively begun. “Bucher has worked on different concepts; for example, a concept cart to store and transport tablets, and to re-charge them on the ground,” Romero explains. “With our current design, we are already preparing for future steps, mainly by using materials which will help to ensure reliable connectivity carts.” The ARCTICart provides cost savings for both airlines and their caterers

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The pressures of increasing ancillary revenue means being smarter about what you load per route and get it managed by the caterer or last-minute provider.” – ISHA MAKER, HEAD OF SALES AND MARKETING FOR SKYTENDER

SkyTender Solutions

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The SkyTender Solutions stand at WTCE with Isha Maker, Head of Sales and Marketing, and Dr. Thomas Muetzel von Schwartz, Managing Director

crew have assured the SkyTender team they are moving in the right direction. Talks regarding the company’s multi-beverage trolley solutions continue with major carriers around the wold, including those in the U.S. Maker believes that SkyTender is ahead of the curve when it comes to the changing onboard landscape. On the future of the sector, she explains: “We see more and more solutions being trolley-based, even though there is a space shortage in the galley, as trolley service gives the airlines complete flexibility on what they are loading per route.” And, with the help of its products, SkyTender is working to make the inflight beverage experience better for all involved. “The pressures of increasing ancillary revenue means being smarter about what you load per route and getting it managed by the caterer or last-minute provider,” she says.


Back in 2017, a passion for coffee pushed SkyTender Solutions into developing a trolley that combines two of travelers’ favorite things: technology and java. According to Isha Maker, the company’s Head of Sales and Marketing, its products seamlessly bridge the gap between sustainability and a heightened customer experience through a multi-beverage post-mix platform. After fine-tuning its solutions in 2018, SkyTender is ready to meet the needs of both full-service and buy-on-board carriers with its SkyBarista cart. As Maker explains: “The SkyBarista trolleys transform the onboard experience into an onboard Coffee Club and cover all coffee specialty needs by providing coffee lovers with the quality and comfort they are used to on the ground.” The range also covers premium tea and hot chocolate, she adds. For passengers who are caffeine-phobic or are simply craving a more refreshing beverage, SkyTender offers a model that meets this need. SkyBar SPLASH dispenses chilled drinks in much the same way the SkyBarista does and can hold multiple beverage flavors, along with still and sparkling water. Based in Switzerland with manufacturing headquarters in Germany, SkyTender employs 31 team members who work to develop the technology and solutions that put on-ground quality beverages into the hands of airline passengers, with more ergonomic advantages for the crew. Their models are also available for galleys. “The combination of bringing the coffee shop experience on board enabled by technology and simultaneously solving the plastic bottles and cans issue very efficiently – that’s a revolution,” notes Wolfgang von Krogh, SkyTender’s CEO. The company has received numerous inquiries following April’s World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo. First orders have already been placed for roll out in Q4 2019, and positive feedback from both passengers and


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ELEVATING innovation



At Astronics, innovation never rests. Aircraft development is always moving forward, and delivering exceptional customer experiences is an ever higher bar. We collaborate with you, learn what your customers expect, and deliver technology products and services that set you apart. Learn how we serve as your innovation partner at APEX booth 1429.

CONNECTIVITY The Viasat and China Satcom teams hold meetings at Viasat’s Customer Experience and Design Centre of Excellence in Dublin

INCREASING ASIA’S connectivity options


Viasat and China Satcom partner to bring inflight connectivity service to airlines over China by MARY JANE PITTILLA

n an important development announced in April 2019, Viasat Inc, the global communications company, and China Satellite Communications Co. Ltd. (China Satcom), inked a strategic partnership to jointly provide inflight connectivity (IFC) services in China for domestic and international airlines. Viasat and China Satcom will work together to enable Viasat’s global airline customers access to roaming connectivity when flying over China; provide IFC service to domestic flights within the country; and enable Chinese airlines to roam onto Viasat’s global network. China Satcom is a licensed telecommunications service provider in China and also owns and operates the most capable and extensive Ka-band spotbeam satellite system in China, which is the only Ka-band system currently available for IFC service in the country.

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China is the second-largest aviation market in the world, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). As one of the fastest-growing flying populations globally, and one of the most mobile and digitally-enabled, there is tremendous national interest in high-speed, high-quality IFC on flights in the country. Yet today only about 4% of flights within China are connected, according to Viasat. Speaking at the time of the April announcement, Don Buchman, Vice President and General Manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat, said: “Our agreement with China Satcom is a significant step towards realizing a seamless global community of highperformance IFC. China Satcom is now the only satellite operator and licensed service provider in China with the bandwidth resources to deliver the inflight experience our airline customers

have come to expect and depend on. Our partnership is a natural way to extend state-of-the-art services specific to China Satcom’s fleet and the China domestic market, and create a global roaming alliance for our existing and new domestic and international customers and the rapidly growing Chinese global commercial airline fleet. We are honored to work with China Satcom in China to make IFC-at-scale a reality.” Viasat and China Satcom will jointly develop and share in future China-based IFC business. Viasat will deliver and support its IFC equipment to airlines tailored for use on the China Satcom network. Today, approximately 2,000 global aircraft are served by, or planned for use on, Viasat’sViaSat-1 and KA-SAT satellites, as well as compatible satellites operating in Australia, Brazil, and other cooperating regional and global markets. China Satcom will leverage its telecommunications service provider


China Satcom is now the only satellite operator and licensed service provider in China with the bandwidth resources to deliver the inflight experience our airline customers have come to expect and depend on.” – DON BUCHMAN, VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, COMMERCIAL AVIATION AT VIASAT

business license, operating expertise and ground infrastructure to lead delivery of advanced IFC services to the airlines. China Satcom’s growing Ka-band fleet includes the already operational ChinaSat-16 satellite as well as ChinaSat-18, planned for launch later in 2019. Under the agreement, each company will maintain its own intellectual property and will operate its equipment using a multi-layered approach to network services. This agreement specifically covers commercial aviation IFC, but could extend into the development of new connectivity applications for other ancillary markets in China. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Asked how important this agreement with China Satcom is to Viasat, Buchman told PAX Tech: “Viasat views its relationship with China Satcom as highly important for opening up the Chinese inflight connectivity aviation market –

both within China for domestic airlines, as well as international airlines. Specifically, for Viasat this is important as it enables Viasat’s global airline customers to have roaming connectivity when flying into, over and out of China; expands business opportunities in domestic China, as we enable IFC services, as well as other value-added services, on domestic flights within China; and enables Chinese airlines (under service agreements with China Satcom) to roam onto Viasat’s global network.” Viasat and China Satcom are working toward having a beta service launch by the end of 2019. Specifics are not being disclosed. Once the service goes live, passengers will be able to connect online as soon as they enter the Chinese airspace, as China Satcom leverages its telecommunications service provider business license.

Viasat is preparing to launch a global Ka-band satellite constellation – known as ViaSat-3, composed of three ultra-high-capacity satellites – over the next three years. The satellites will be launched to offer coverage in the Americas in 2021, the EMEA region at the end of 2021 and Asia-Pacific in the second half of 2022. The ViaSat-3 constellation will join Viasat’s five other Ka-band satellites already on orbit. The new constellation will add more than 3,000 Gigabits per second (Gbbps) of total network capacity, as each satellite within the ViaSat-3 constellation has more than 1,000 Gbps of capacity. In comparison, other satellite operators offer 10 Gbps Kaband satellites, highlighting how different Viasat’s constellation is when compared to the rest of the market, Don Buchman, Vice President, Commercial Mobility, told PAX Tech during April’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. Viasat’s current system has enabled carriers such as American Airlines to launch full Internet and live TV services onboard, offering 12 channels. The airline broadcasted a live Willie Nelson concert to all of the Viasat-equipped aircraft in American’s domestic fleet late last year. In February of this year, Viasat, American Airlines and Apple Music partnered to let all American’s passengers stream Apple Music for free. “We offer capacity and a quality service that’s cost-effective and fits into an airline’s normal marketing spend. It’s all about capacity delivered at economics that make sense. Airlines can now get Apple Music, Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming services to every device,” said Buchman, adding that the Viasat platform allows for applications such as e-commerce and gaming. Over the past year, following a number of major contract wins, Viasat has been undertaking a heavy rollout program. The firm installed its system on more than 550 American Airlines aircraft in 2018, as well as additional aircraft with El Al Israel Airlines, United Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), Finnair and others. Other customers include JetBlue Airways, Qantas, Icelandair, Aeromexico, and Neos.  |  PAX TECH  |  25


Pushing the limits of


Inflight VR is taking off in airline cabins and lounges. Mary Jane Pittilla speaks to the leading players in this exciting entertainment space A passenger enjoys SkyLights’ Allosky VR cinema glasses in flight


ver the past decades, the selection and quality of inflight entertainment has grown in leaps and bounds, with airline passengers now able to potentially select from hundreds of pieces of media, including movies still in theaters and, in some cases, a selection of live television channels. In order to stay competitive and keep the interests of their guests piqued, some companies are turning to the latest frontier in IFE: virtual reality. SkyLights is one such company that supplies next-generation VR cinema glasses, tailored for premium cabins and able to be tethered to the seat. The system is designed to be simple to operate for airlines as it does not depend on the cabin crew for distribution. It aims to be a complimentary service for Business Class and First Class passengers, CEO David Dicko tells PAX Tech. SkyLights sells premium advertising space in the Allosky headsets via media agencies. This allows the system to be be deployed at reduced to no cost to airlines.

The company has partnered with STELIA Aerospace to showcase how the headset is secured to the seat. “STELIA Aerospace is a strong partner for us, playing a fundamental role. They’ve proven that our system can work,” says Dicko. SkyLights can also supply 20 or 30 headsets in airline lounges, boosting the level of entertainment offered to passengers in both the lounges and on board the aircraft. One of the challenges faced by SkyLights is finding long-term credibility within the airline industry, notes Dicko. “Airlines must trust you before you can install headsets on seats,” he explains. “Garuda Indonesia is the first carrier to say ‘let’s deploy it on our Boeing 777, working with STELIA’. The airline plans to deploy the system by the end of the year in its Business Class cabins. It will also be available in the Jakarta Airport lounge.” Other lounges that already have the system include those operated by Air France at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, as well as Aéroports de Paris and SriLankan Airlines. SkyLights was selected for International Airlines Group (IAG)’s global tech start-up accelerator program, Hangar 51, and has completed a pilot. Hangar 51, which includes British Airways, aims to create next-generation travel experiences. Dicko says he believes there are lots of opportunities ahead for inflight VR entertainment. “I can think of no other place on earth more spatially constrained in terms of square footage than on an airline,” he told PAX. “Thanks to the technology we use, you can transcend that lack of space with our immersive headset. You can show a passenger a screen of any size and at any distance.” In the future, the SkyLights’ system could also connect to aircraft cameras, allowing passengers to view the outside of the aircraft using its headsets. “This technology is feasible,” says Dicko.

Rossiya Airlines’ children’s amenity kit incorporates augmented reality technology and is supplied by AK-Service

26  |  PAX TECH  |  JULY 2019

STELIA Aerospace has an exclusive agreement to work with SkyLights on seat integration of the VR IFE system


Lounges that have the SkyLights VR system include those operated by SriLankan Airlines

The company has signed an agreement with Rail New Zealand for its headsets and is negotiating with cruise lines. In addition, it has inked a deal in the U.S. healthcare industry, giving dental patients who undergo lengthy treatments the opportunity to wear the headsets. What is Dicko’s key message for airlines? “Inflight entertainment remains the point in the journey that garners the least satisfaction among passengers. We can make that piece exciting again. The system offers a unique and memorable experience to retain the loyalty of passengers in the premium cabins. Having the system is a point of differentiation. “The airline industry often lags behind other industries. We have the opportunity to be in advance of the consumer world. Our product is high quality and is not available currently in the consumer market because of its price tag. However, it will likely be available to consumers in 36 months’ time. It’s an opportunity for airlines to be ahead of the space and introduce innovation. “Our ultimate goal is to provide high-quality entertainment to airlines via immersive headsets. We’re here for the long haul.”

Full seat integration

STELIA Aerospace has an exclusive agreement to work with SkyLights on seat integration of the VR IFE system. The real value of the system to passengers becomes apparent when you look at full integration within the seat, says Claire Nurcombe, Head of Marketing, Cabin Interiors at STELIA Aerospace. This means providing power and wired connections into the aircraft systems, ensuring that the headset remains functional for a whole flight, and allowing airlines to route crew announcements directly to the headsets. It also means better integrated connection into the seat, enabling additional features such as seat position control

from within the headset environment. For the passenger, this creates a seamless connection between the virtual and real world without removing the headset. Additional systems are integrated around the seat to enhance the passenger experience and create a 4D cinema experience. This provides a link between the visuals via the headset and vibrations in the seat to bring the film alive for the passenger. As discussed at the Passenger Experience Conference this past April, STELIA Aerospace is working with one of its customers and partners to bring this integrated system to the skies in the near future.

Animated amenity kits

AK-Service is introducing new technologies into its amenity kits to enhance the passenger experience, both for adults and children. The company has chosen to focus on the augmented reality (AR) experience on board, not virtual reality (VR). Danar Podkopaev, Head of Digital Department at AKService, explains that AR is more useful and convenient for passengers because it doesn’t require any additional devices, just a smartphone. Furthermore, AR technology offers the company “unique opportunities for onboard innovations to take our amenity kits to a whole new level. We can take inanimate real-life objects and make them come to life, blurring the line between real and virtual,” Podkopaev says. The company has already improved the children’s onboard experience with augmented reality technology in its children’s kits for Rossiya Airlines and Russian Railways. “These amenity kits give a real glimpse of what the children’s kits might look like with augmented reality,” Podkopaev says. “AR allows us to make the habitual games more attractive for kids on board in an entertaining and educational way and make their journey more interesting and memorable. We’re currently working on several augmented reality projects for kids, because airlines have a strong interest in this kind of onboard entertainment.” AK-Service also has several AR apps under development for adults. The firm plans to use the augmented reality experience for its amenity kits because it is an excellent marketing tool to achieve its clients’ business goals. It is set to debut augmented reality in its adult amenity kits in the near future. In another significant development, AK-Service has partnered with video game company Wargaming to help develop the AR experience at the highest level. “Wargaming is one of the leaders in the IT industry, and that is why we are confident that our partnership with them will help us to develop a really high-quality AR experience, especially for adults,” enthuses Podkopaev.  |  PAX TECH  |  27


The next


For years, lie-flat seating and luxury in the front cabin were driving seating design. Now airlines and seat makers are eyeing another part of the aircraft and creating more ways to enhance passenger comfort by RICK LUNDSTROM

The CL3710 from Recaro with the Abrazo wings on the headrest


here is little doubt that in the future a worldwide fleet of aircraft will be pressed into service that has a greater range of configurations, can fly greater distances and will challenge airlines with new demands for passenger comfort. Seeing all this happening, the makers of aircraft seating are looking at ways of making sales with product features that will help passengers pass time in the back of the cabin while helping them find the elusive sleep they crave amid a crowd of strangers. Those same seat makers also see possibilities for new cabin environments in the single-aisle market as these aircraft are increasingly being built to cross oceans and continents in long-haul nonstop routes.

Comfort above the clouds

HAECO Eclipse.jpg A cabin for the future. The Eclipse cabin from HAECO bridges that gap between Premium Economy long haul and Business Class short haul

28  |  PAX TECH  |  JULY 2019

As workers put the finishing touches on the Recaro stand at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo, the subject on everyone’s mind was sleep. An Economy Class seat, decked out top to bottom with comfort elements that were simple to operate, install and retrofit, was gaining interest among the airlines and taking home hardware in the 2019 Crystal Cabin Awards. The winning concept was the CL3710, sporting three important features that any passenger would recognize and appreciate. At the top of the seat was an Abrazo (in English, “hugs”) headrest that serves as a suitable substitute for the U-shaped pillow commonly sold at airports. Moving down the model, the CL3710 is equipped with a flip cushion that supports the lower lumbar area of the back in a cradle or sleeping position, and near the bottom an extended seat supports the upper parts of the lower legs.

The CL3710 was shown alongside two other products in the Recaro line: the SL3710 for short-haul Economy and the CL6710 for Business Class. With airline routes changing and passenger comfort at the top of mind throughout the cabin, Dr. Mark Hiller, CEO and Shareholder at Recaro, said airlines are starting to shift their focus to a new section of the cabin. “Five years ago the major focus was on Business Class – having the brand new Business Class seats,” he tells PAX Tech. “Now those investments are done. Now there is more and more focus on Economy Class.” Improving the Economy Class experience can be accomplished through better utilization of the cabin space in ways that can improve seat pitch in high-density areas of the aircraft. The CL3710 has been a mainstay, manufactured in several Recaro plants in Europe. One of the most important selling points of the new features are not only their simplicity, but their ability to be added to existing seating. As Economy Class seating is only occasionally updated, Hiller said airlines could easily add one or more of the new features from the next-generation seating to their existing stock.

A cabin concept

Late summer saw HAECO Cabin Solutions busily preparing the seating for its Eclipse Cabin concept that had been selected by a yet-to-be-named Middle Eastern launch customer. The seat has completed a preliminary design review in anticipation of a critical design review slated for September where the final decision on the new seating will be made. HAECO expects to have the FAA Technical Standard Order (TSO) by early 2020. What the launch customer will have is a product designed for short-haul Business Class or long-haul Premium Economy

that incorporates elements such as privacy spaces and additional stowage space for amenities, crew baggage, trolleys and other items. What sold the launch customer on the Eclipse Cabin was its combination of comfort, living space and privacy, said Jose Pevida, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Product Development at HAECO Cabin Solutions. “It was a combination of those unique selling propositions of the product [and] the ability to work with HAECO Cabin Solutions,” he explained. “We were very eager to customize the product to the unique needs of the airline. We weren’t trying to push a catalog product.” In a cabin configuration, HAECO estimates that the seat, combined with monuments and other elements (and by staggering the middle or outboard seating), can create up to 14% more passenger capacity within the same cabin space. While making use of every inch of the cabin, HAECO has also designed the Eclipse for maximum comfort within the configuration using ergonomic research first utilized by the U.S. space program. The Eclipse seat moves into what Pavida said was a Zero-G position, which resembles a Z-shape when reclined. In this position, a passenger’s body is cradled in such a way that pressure points are eliminated in the back, thighs and lumbar regions. HAECO sees Eclipse Cabin as a niche product filling an important gap in an airline market that will be flying further and longer in narrow- and wide-body aircraft. “We harness our decades of experience in providing premium seating products and services to take a holistic approach to creating a new standard,” said Doug Rasmussen, President and Group Director of HAECO Cabin Solutions, in the April announcement of the Eclipse Cabin concept.

KUWAIT AIRWAYS TAKES CABIN PRODUCTS FROM COLLINS AEROSPACE Kuwait Airways’ A330-800neo Business Class will have the Super Diamond Business Class seat and the recently introduced Essence™ galley inserts, both from Collins Aerospace Systems. Eight A330-800neo aircraft will enter into service in 2020. “Accommodating passengers in today’s competitive airspace means offering highly distinctive experiences through the seat they sit in, the quality of food and beverage service, along with other amenities offered throughout a flight,” said Alastair Hamilton, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Interiors for Collins Aerospace, in the announcement. “Super Diamond and our Essence galley inserts are proven to exceed expectations and make the passenger’s journey as enjoyable as possible.” Kuwait Airways joins more than 20 airlines in selecting the Super Diamond Business Class seat. The airline will install 32 individual passenger placements per aircraft in a 1-2-1 configuration. This brings the total to 10,000 Super Diamond seats flying worldwide. Passengers will experience all-aisle access in a 78-inch fully-flat Business Class solution teamed with the Crystalflex™ diaphragm comfort system from Milliken Textiles, living space with increased stowage and gate-to-gate inflight entertainment solutions, all while maintaining overall cabin space.

Also on board Kuwait Airways’ A330 fleet will be Collins Aerospace’s full suite of Essence galley inserts that include steam ovens and espresso machines plus a full suite of galley-chilling equipment. With the order from Kuwait Airways, more than 10,000 seats in the Collins Diamond family will be in service  |  PAX TECH  |  29


Inflight publications,

à la carte by RACHEL DEBLING

Publications from more than 120 countries are represented on the app.

As airlines search for ways to meet their customers’ sustainability requests while providing the variety of content they demand, digital platform developer PressReader is moving ahead on its global expansion plans with several international partnerships


ith a library representing the cultures and preferred content of more than 120 countries, PressReader is determined to carve out a niche for itself on board in the rapidly growing digital publication sector. In the first quarter of 2019, the company made big strides toward this goal when it announced a partnership with Turkish Airlines in which the carrier’s passengers and guests of its lounges are provided access to its databank of content for 48 hours, a huge boon for the Richmond, British Columbia-based

30  |  PAX TECH  |  JULY 2019

Passengers on Turkish Airlines are offered access to PressReader’s library free of charge for the 48 hours surrounding their flight.

PressReader adds nearly 100 new publication titles to its app every month

business. (It also counts Dublin as headquarters for its international offices.) “There’s been a real shift in the way both consumers and the industry think about news and magazine content,” said Alex Kroogman, Chief Executive Officer of PressReader, in a March statement announcing the Turkish partnership. “Now, it’s part of the travel experience. For us, that means we are always thinking first about the reader – or the passenger. We want to create an experience that truly connects them to the rest of the world.” The company’s team keeps its ear to the ground for exciting and new content, adding approximately 100 new publication titles to its platform every month. As Nikolay Malyarov, PressReader’s EVP and Chief Content Officer, explained to PAX in June, global coverage is of the utmost importance to the burgeoning company, as it wants to represent all travelers, no matter their interests or where they hail from. “We want to ensure [passengers] can access content from their home country or home town, in their native language,” he said, adding that if passengers happen to access something outside of these parameters, the PressReader system can help them understand what they’re reading through its translation services. When comparing its service to its competitors, the PressReader team offers ample evidence that they say lends to its

credibility and, ultimately, superiority. For starters, PressReader cuts through the “crowded and confusing” digital publication and distribution landscape thanks to its variety of mediums, encompassing both magazines and newspapers. (Most other digital platforms, including the Apple-owned Texture, offer only magazines, which PressReader points out not only limits the quantity of content available but is also a much easier process than keeping up with robust daily editions, as PressReader must do.) Much more than a simple PDF version of a print publication, the PressReader app offers flexibility for publishers and ease-of-use for the end user (i.e. airline passengers) with the ability for the reader to select how their content is displayed to them, no matter the original form of the publication. When it comes to the user experience, the technology the company employs to bring these publications to life in a digital format has been 20 years in the making. Innovation, its team says, is the foundation of the company. “Interactivity and versatility are just some of the attributes that distinguish our product from others,” Malyarov explained. “From multiple viewing options (graphical, print replica and text flow that’s specifically optimized to different mobile platforms) to our text-to-speech audio feature, to on-thefly translation into up to 18 languages,

to sharing, commenting, bookmarking and more, we’ve always focused on what readers will not just appreciate but will, in fact, expect from a premium product.” PressReader’s sponsored access model also sets it apart from other applications. While users can purchase monthly subscriptions or opt for a pay-as-you-go purchase, PressReader partners with thousands of hotels, airlines (like Turkish), cruise ships, libraries and other businesses that pay for their customers and employees to have access to the platform’s wealth of information. “It’s a win-win-win for readers, brands and publishers,” Malyarov stressed. Its model also provides a more stable and profitable outlet for publishers, as it offers both paid and free content. “If the publisher is looking to generate extra revenue in addition to reaching new audiences, in both single-copy sales and our all-you-can-read (flat-rate) subscription models we work on either a per-copy royalty, a license fee or a combination of both,” Malyarov said. “We’re quite flexible, as long as it works for both parties.” This approach, as opposed to the sometimes employed “time spent” model, ensures that it’s not just the biggest publishers that get paid. PressReader also welcomes publishers who provide their content on the platform free of charge as a way of improving their reach, which is especially attractive to publications that undergo annual circulation audits. In the inflight arena, sky-bound PressReader clients include Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Iberia, Air Canada and Virgin Australia, among others, and the company is eager to expand further. To that end, its team partnered with APEX a few years ago for a survey that queried airline executives on what their passenger entertainment strategy looked like, and how they planned on implementing it. The responses at the time, said Malyarov, were quite conservative. “Passengers, like you and I, are accelerating this process with our changing needs and habits,” he noted. “Airlines are looking to remove extra weight off the aircraft to save fuel and, absolutely, help the environment. Some have removed and more will choose not to install in-seat IFE systems to reduce weight as well. Faster, cheaper and more userfriendly technology coupled with the above changes are all contributing to the shift in the industry.” And that’s exactly where PressReader hopes to come in.  |  PAX TECH  |  31




Suppliers of digital press material like newspapers and magazines deal with many of the same challenges as other media, and France-based Adaptive has developed two solutions that address airline concerns by RICK LUNDSTROM


Personal electronic devices give passengers the option of viewing publications before and during flights

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The New York Times Newsweek Financial Times Top Gear Die Welt Le Figaro

We do not know of any other company that is able to deliver that industrial power to screen thousands of newspapers and magazines every day.” – LAURENT SAFAR, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF ADAPTIVE

airlines. At April’s Aircraft Interiors Expo, the company showed potential customers a new web-based reader that reduces the amount of bandwidth required for accessing reading material, saving the airline money and the user time. To accomplish both those tasks in the highly complex cabin environment, Adaptive developed the Stream Reader. The proprietary file format adds a step in the acquisition process of a story from a digital publication, splitting the digital content into multiple tiles as opposed to full images. With that process, the bandwidth required to access the content is limited. (A beta version of the Stream Reader can be viewed here.) “Usually when you stream content for a newspaper or a magazine there is a [time] lag associated to that because every time you look for the information you do not have it locally stored,” says Laurent Safar, co-founder and CEO of Adaptive. “We have used a variety of techniques to change that and have a normal instantaneous display of the content.” With Stream Reader, Adaptive has added a number of features such as, in addition to traditional scrolling, the ability to “pinch” content with fingers to zoom. A mode developed within Stream Reader gives passengers the opportunity to personalize the app’s appearance, which is especially helpful for readers with special visual needs. Written content can be adjusted to change font size, line spacing and contrast. The content can also be integrated into an airline’s IFE system in multiple ways, regardless of the technology’s architecture, and can be adapted to the airline’s onboard app, if so desired. Adaptive sees Steam Reader as an ideal solution for airlines that offer wireless IFE streaming to passengers’ personal electronic devices. Adaptive recently supplied the platform for the French Business Class-only airline La Compagnie for use on its A321neo flights to the United States.

Monitoring marginal content

Adaptive has a portfolio of thousands of publications delivered through the company’s Stream Reader system


s airlines move fast to make inflight entertainment and connectivity options more plentiful and easily accessible to their passengers, the inevitable bottlenecks in delivering this streaming content have occurred, oftentimes leaving the user holding a personal electronic device and waiting for their selected item to load. The providers of digital press content share those challenges with providers of video and audio. When a cabin is filled with passengers working their PEDs, even an innocuous, gray newspaper article can end up in the queue and may not load immediately. That lag time between selecting and accessing digital content from thousands of available publications has led Toulouse-based Adaptive to develop a faster and more efficient follow-on to its ACES digital press product selected by many

As Stream Reader allows access to a portfolio of thousands of mainstream media publications from the around the world, airlines may be concerned about nudity or other images of a sensitive nature showing up on their passengers’ devices. Adaptive has proactively responded to this potential demand by developing an automated content moderation tool that scans digital images for nudity and rates each image with a percentage score. The tool can then be used to automatically or manually replace all the images above a certain percentage score, determined by the customer. Images that are removed would be replaced with a message agreed upon by the airline customer. Users can view the questionable images, if they so choose, on a dashboard-style screen that can be monitored by the airline or by someone from Adaptive. Safar is sure the new feature is a first of its kind in the industry. “We do not know of any other company that is able to deliver that industrial power to screen thousands of newspapers and magazines every day, every week and every month and provide such a level of consistency,” he says. While still seeking a launch customer, he said airlines in the Middle East, Asia and Europe have expressed interest. Adaptive has broad customer base of airlines that initially selected its ACES mobile reader solution. Among the customers are Singapore Airlines, SAS, Qatar Airways and TAP Air Portugal. The company has also found customers in airport lounges across Europe and in other transportation providers.  |  PAX TECH  |  33


Bigger, stronger, faster The staggering numbers behind international air travel

385 feet

321 feet

The wingspan of the Stratolaunch jet, the invention of Paul Allen, the late cofounder of Microsoft. It took its first flight in April 2019, usurping the previous wingspan record set by Hughes, and is expected to help launch satellites into space.

The wingspan of Howard Hughes’ iconic H-4 Hercules, also known as the “Spruce Goose.”

700 MILLION The number of American air passengers each year, the most of any country in the world.

58 million Emirates Airline flew this many passengers in the 2017/2018 fiscal year, according to Statista

A350-900ULR The aircraft that flies Singapore Airlines’ nonstop Singapore (SIN) to Newark (EWR) route, the world’s longest at 18.5 hours.

9,534 miles The distance covered by Singapore Airlines’ SIA-EWR nonstop flight.

THE WORLD BANK GROUP says that in 2017 nearly 4 billion trips were taken by passengers around the world. Of these trips, 849 million were attributed to the U.S.; China came in second at over 550 million. 34  |  PAX TECH  |  JULY 2019

In 1970, around 310 million trips were taken by air travelers.









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


25-26 February 2020 Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE


W W W. A I M E . A E R O



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