APEX/IFSA News Rundown
Arconics gains customer in Dutch charter
Twelve of the aircraft in the fleet of the Corendon Dutch Airlines will be outfitted with the CloudStore Wireless IFE software platform from Arconics for inflight entertainment and ancillary revenue.
Corendon plans to install the platform on its fleet of 737-800s starting in the first quarter of next year. Included in the deal is the software platform, mobile apps and content licensing and encoding.
Passengers will be able to access movies from Hollywood and Dutch titles, television shows, music, map displays and destination content. Flight Focus will supply hardware.
Plans call for the system to provide ancillary revenue through an ordering process provided by MI Airline that will work on the Iridium credit card payment program, processing payments through the Iridium verification systems.
The airline is part of the Corendon Group, and operates scheduled and charter service out of the Netherlands and Turkey. Last year, approximately 600,000 people booked holidays through Corendon.
Air Europa takes Panasonic IFEC for its Dreamliner fleet
Air Europa announced September 16 it had selected Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s eX3 and eXConnect in-flight entertainment and communications on its 787-8 Dreamliner fleet.
The airline will be offering in-flight broadband by choosing Panasonic's Ku-band satellite service for Internet, email, and social media sites from a connected seatback or their own personal electronic devices.
“We are honored that Air Europa has selected Panasonic to offer such an exciting and strategic service,” in the announcement at this year’s APEX/IFSA Expo. “Their passengers can now expect an incredible entertainment experience and broadband Wi-Fi everywhere these aircraft fly."
El Al picks partners for connectivity
The BoardConnect product from Lufthansa Systems and the Exede in the Air connectivity service from ViaSat will form the backbone of the IFEC offering on El Al Israel Airlines.
The airline has been working with Lufthansa Systems since June of this year on El Al's DreamStream IFE offering. Installations are planned for the airline’s 737s and 767s.
Tapping into the Exede satellite system from ViaSat, El Al will be offering passengers wireless Internet and entertainment that can be accessed on laptops, tablets or smartphones.
Both the systems will be integrated into the airline's 737NG fleet by the middle of next year. ViaSat has a partnership with Eutelsat that will allow use of the Ka-band for inflight connectivity through Europe and the Mediterranean basin.
BoardConnect from Lufthansa Systems works with a standard WLAN. Operations require anywhere from two to five access points (depending on aircraft size) in the cabin to stream a variety of content including internet connectivity to every passenger device. It can be used with Apple iOS, Android and Windows 8.
Rockwell Collins to expand connectivity options with GX Aviation
Connectivity with speeds of up to 50 megabytes per second will available to commercial aircraft when GX Aviation makes its capabilities globally available next year, and Rockwell Collins will be a value added reseller of the Inmarsat product.
“By combining GX with our current L-Band services, we’ll also be able to provide our airline customers with a complete portfolio of connectivity options for a full range of applications from the cockpit to the cabin,” said Jeff Standerski, Senior Vice President Information Management Services at Rockwell Collins, in the September 8 announcement of the agreement.
GX Aviation will be offering a global Ka-band connectivity. The company has been working with Rockwell Collins for more than 20 years on avionics and services.
The first of three GX Aviation satellites launched in July of this year. Inmarsat plans to complete the next two launches in time to introduce the GX serves globally by the end of the first half of 2015. The airborne hardware is going through the certification process to support the launch of GX Aviation in 2015.
The Cabin Connect system made by Rockwell Collins subsidiary ARINC will make use of the GX Aviation systems increased bandwidth to stream real-time television and television on demand. Rockwell Collins is also expanding the capabilities of Cabin Connect to all passengers to make voice calls and send text messages. The company is also developing a dashboard feature that will allow airlines to monitor system-critical elements for the crew.
digEcor brings power source to APEX
Though digEcor is primarily known as the pioneer supplier of handheld IFE, the company has not sat still, and has added capabilities and new systems to its offerings.
This year the Utah-based company was showing visitors to its stand its new 5-Volt USB power port that installs easily for passenger to charge and use PEDs and available with options for cabin crew. digEcor says that it can also be modified for airlines to gain ancillary revenue by selling power, as well.
Since the company was purchased a year ago by Australia’s Total Aviation Solutions digEcor has found a partner to expand its IFE offerings, with an emphasis on seat-centric use of its digEplayer product. A semi-embedded system has been flying on the 737s of Gulf Air since 2011.
Spafax adds new customers, plans further opening in Latin America
Content and services provide Spafax announced a number of new contracts and service at APEX and in the period leading up to the Expo.
In early, September, the London-based company announced a partnership with JetBlue Airways to manage IFE and the offerings on the airline’s Fly-Fi streaming data and Internet service.
“Spafax will leverage its global industry connections and expertise to bring JetBlue’s customers the very best in entertainment selections,” said a September 8 release from the company. “From premium to independent selections, Spafax’s extensive suite of digital entertainment offerings will compliment JetBlue’s industry leading in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems. The brand-new Live TV 4 platform that is currently available on the airline’s Airbus A321 fleet.”
Movies on JetBlue range from current Hollywood blockbusters to smaller independent films, as well as multi-language solutions for Spanish-speaking passengers. By early 2015, all Live TV 4 platforms on JetBlue aircraft will be touch screens.
Spafax also renewed its IFE services contract with Royal Jordanian Airlines. The company will continue to provide movies, TV, and audio. To further the relationship, Spafax will be working closely with Royal Jordanian to review and improve Royal Jordanian Airlines’ IFE strategy to deliver an enhanced passenger experience.
Spafax has been awarded the exclusive inflight entertainment system media sales contract for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
At this year’s APEX Expo, Spafax announced plans to expand its operations in South America, opening an office in Lima, Peru.
Alonso Rosemberg Ferreyros will head the office. The new location is the 13th Spafax office, and the second one in the region. Spafax opened an office in Santiago, Chile 10 years ago. Spafax has a long-standing relationship with LAN Peru parent company LATAM Airlines Group,
Lightweight wheel chair used widely in Latin America
At the stand of Preferred Aviation, Inc, Rick Gonzalez, the designer of a light-weight folding wheelchair was showing the product to passersby.
The wheelchair is designed for use in tight quarters and folds up easily into areas around the cabin and can maneuver the aircraft aisle for passengers who need to use the lavatories. Unfolded, the wheelchair is 36 inches high, 18 inches high to the seat, 16 inches between armrests with a seatback width of 14 inches.
When folded, the wheelchair is 25 inches long, 16 inches wide and 6 inches high and is stored in a carrying case. Total weight is 16.5 pounds. It is available in several colors. Tapis Products was one of the subcontractors that supplied seating fabric.
Gonzalez said one of his most recent customers is Aeromexico, but the wheelchair is flying on several airlines in Latin America.
Sealed Air tests demand for packaging system
Sealed Air was showing visitors to the International Flight Services Association Expo a unique vacuum-sealed packaging system that the company says could have applications for inflight service.
The process makes use of the Sealed Air Simple Steps® vacuum skin packaging film. With the film and the needed Simple Steps vacuum packaging equipment, caterers could seal meals and snacks in a tight plastic skin that could be easily reheated. The food would have a long shelf life refrigerated and a much longer range frozen.
For food safety, the skin reduces the risk of cross contamination and provides a new option for special meal ordering on short notice. With a tight vacuum seal there is reduced preparation and cleanup time. The vacuum seal also removes oxygen and seals in fresh flavor.
Onboard the aircraft, crew can heat up the products with steam-assisted cooking systems. Self vents release the heat and pressure to prevent over cooking.