May 23 2024  |  Connectivity & Satellites

Bluebox and FFLYA prove viability of payments from Blueview

By PAX Tech Magazine Staff

Blueview user screen showing payment complete (Image Credit: Bluebox Aviation Systems)

Bluebox Aviation Systems Ltd. and FFLYA Ltd. (FFLYA) announced this week that they have conducted successful ground tests of credit card payments over the Iridium Certus satellite network. The tests involved live payment transactions completed on an iPad to purchase inflight entertainment bundles from Bluebox’s Blueview digital services platform, the press release said.

The purchases were sent wirelessly from the iPad to a Bluebox Wow portable wireless unit, connected to the FFLYA router. That router was connected through a patch antenna to the Iridium Certus satellite network; the payment was validated by a payment provider and the purchase was confirmed on the iPad.

The successful tests demonstrate the viability of a low-cost, low-weight connectivity solution that enables the Blueview digital services platform to provide live credit card payment transactions via the LEO satellite network.

"For Bluebox, ensuring our customers have choice – choice of digital services, choice of hardware system and choice of connectivity solution – is central to everything we do," said James Macrae, CTO, Bluebox. 

"Airlines invest considerably in differentiating their product and delivering the best experience for their passengers. No two airlines are alike – so one size won’t fit all. We’ve already integrated Blueview with high bandwidth GEO satcom connectivity, but these are still considerable investments for many airlines, especially for LCCs and regional operators. For some airlines, any investment in connectivity is still years away – and we have well-proven offline solutions for them," he added. "Now, we’re able to offer a happy medium – all the power of Blueview, boosted by the ability for airlines to increase revenue with more onboard sales in a secure retail environment, thanks to live payment validation."

The FFLYA patch antenna is an Iridium aviation certified Certus antenna. It measures three inches and has a footprint identical to a GPS antenna, with zero drag. An STC is available for A320 family aircraft, and FFLYA has plans in the works for the 737 series.

"Bluebox and FFLYA share some common principles in providing low-cost, rapid deployment of systems that improve the passenger experience and help our airline customers generate revenue," said Ron Chapman, President, FFLYA. 

"Bluebox are experts in digital passenger experiences, and we bring our expertise and proven experience with LEO connectivity and different antennae systems, knowing that for many of Bluebox’s target customers, a single patch antenna is the best solution. This eliminates the issues found with window antennae, for which there can be a 60-degree blind spot above larger aircraft which can result in a high failure rate of transactions due to the unique time and data requirements of live retail payment validation – not exactly ideal for an airline depending on maximising revenue from onboard retail sales. Plus, our antenna with a single cabling and partition install can be done overnight – making this a fast and simple engineering task and minimizing the time the aircraft is out of service," Chapman concluded.

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