ZIPAIR Selects Panasonic Avionics for Inflight Connectivity

ZIPAIR, a new Japanese middle-long haul carrier, has selected Panasonic Avionics Corp. (Panasonic) to provide inflight connectivity (IFC) solutions for its Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

ZIPAIR’s B787s will be fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service. Panasonic’s next generation connectivity enables a host of connectivity benefits, from fast internet to video streaming, all powered by its new satellite modem featuring bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

The announcement marks the beginning of Panasonic’s relationship with ZIPAIR, the new Japanese low-cost carrier which is a 100% subsidiary of Japan Airlines.

“By making the most of inflight Wi-Fi services provided by Panasonic Avionics, we hope to become an airline that gives customers the freedom to spend time on the plane in their own personal way and that makes flight time feel short,” , said Shingo Nishida, president of ZIPAIR.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with ZIPAIR to enhance their passenger experience with our world-class inflight connectivity,” Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said. “Our advanced inflight solutions will help ZIPAIR drive brand loyalty, encouraging their passengers to return time and again.”

ZIPAIR was established in 2018. It is a low-cost carrier and is due to operate medium to long-haul international flights. It currently operates a fleet consisting of two Boeing 787-8s, transferred from its parent’s fleet.


Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) Enhances Operational Efficiency with Wireless Technology Solutions from Teledyne Controls

Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) announced that its airline subsidiaries ABX Air, Air Transport International (ATI), and Omni Air International (Omni) are implementing a suite of wireless connectivity and data transfer solutions from Teledyne Controls, to further improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of its airline operations.

As part of a three-fold approach, ATSG’s airlines first initiative was to automate its FOQA (Flight Operational Quality Assurance) process and deploy Teledyne’s GroundLink Comm+ system, a multi communication device and quick access recorder, to record and wirelessly download flight data after every flight. Using the system, the data is automatically transferred to ground stations for immediate processing and analysis, without the need for manual retrieval. This provides consistent and timely access to the data to support incident prevention and safety management, facilitate troubleshooting, and make better maintenance decisions.  The GroundLink Comm+ system, which was successfully implemented across Omni’s 767 fleet, is being expanded to the ABX Air and ATI fleets.

Secondly, to further improve the efficiency and dispatch ability of their fleet, the ATSG airlines selected Teledyne’s Loadstar Server Enterprise (LSE), a ground software tool for the configuration, storage and electronic distribution of software parts to individual aircraft, and the enhanced Airborne Data Loader (eADL) that allows software parts to be electronically distributed and loaded onto the aircraft systems. With the eADL connected to the GroundLink® Comm+ system, software parts can be wirelessly transmitted from the LSE ground system directly to the eADL, for loading onto target onboard systems. This facilitates compliance by ensuring that the latest version of software is installed, reduces data loading time, keeps human intervention to a minimum and gives ATSG’s airlines the ability to load their aircraft at multiple hubs, increasing their on-time dispatch performance. 

Last, ATSG’s airlines are implementing GroundLink AID+, an add-on solution to the GroundLink Comm+ that provides connectivity for the flight crew and connects commercial tablets and crew devices with existing aircraft onboard data systems. ATSG’s AID+ system is integrated with Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro, allowing pilots to quickly and easily access charts and maps on their EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) tablets. GroundLink® AID+ also provides EFB connectivity to the flight deck printer. 

“Our subsidiary Omni Air International’s success with Teledyne’s FOQA process and GroundLink Comm+ system made the decision to expand our Teledyne partnership easy,” according to Ed Koharik, chief operating officer of ATSG. “Our continued investment in service improvements demonstrates our commitment to improve our industry-leading performance and exceed customers’ expectations.” 

“We appreciate the trust that ATSG has put in Teledyne Controls and we are very happy to be a part of their forward-looking vision,” says George Bobb, president of Teledyne Controls. “The integrated approach ATSG is taking with our GroundLink wireless solutions will deliver significant operational benefits.”

GroundLink Comm+ is a versatile communication system that facilitates and accelerates data exchange between airborne systems and ground-based equipment. It supports multiple applications across an airline’s operations, such as wireless distribution of software parts and databases, automated FOQA downloads, real‑time data streaming, cabin/crew connectivity, ACARS over IP and more. These enhanced capabilities are provided through software upgrades and are approved for use on multiple aircraft types via Teledyne STCs.


SD Unveils New Network Operations Center

Satcom Direct (SD) has unveiled the completed upgrade to its Network Operations Center (NOC) at SD World Headquarters in Melbourne, FL. With an increased footprint, the addition of cutting-edge technology and installation of an impressive 72x10ft digital wall displaying real time global customer connectivity activity, the enhanced NOC provides SD customers with significantly augmented customer and product support.

The evolution of the state-of-the art operations center has been driven by the need to intelligently aggregate, collate and analyze the increasing amounts of data generated by business aircraft activity. Information collected from the SD Xperience nose-to-tail portfolio of hardware, software and infrastructure solutions ensures the NOC is fully aware of the network status of each customer’s aircraft globally. 

Using a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning, data is aggregated and displayed on the enlarged screen. The NOC optimizes the enhanced visibility into the overall health of each individual aircraft and combines it with intelligent data analysis to identify any connectivity outage, degradation or systemic issues. This initiates the implementation of corrective action, often during flight. Predictive alerting is also triggered by the service intelligence platform enabling remedial action well ahead of potential issues. 

The company says their continuous monitoring of the aircraft status underpins the SD support motto “we know before you know” as the upgraded facility delivers improved situational awareness to the global support team through the automated analysis of data trends and patterns. An enhanced average response time of below five minutes, and 24/7/365 support, ensures customer issues are handled as efficiently and effectively as possible. Cybersecurity management has also been enhanced with abnormal patterns of data behavior highlighted to stimulate immediate mitigative action. In addition to technical corrective action, SD alerts crew to advise passengers of any necessary action needed to prevent potential cyber events. 

SD prides itself on strong partner relationships and the latest NOC enhancements also bolster these connections. The upgraded technology can identify systemic issues across the partner satellite networks to support implementation of remedial measures ensuring clients experience limited downtime if an issue occurs.

“Aircraft generate large volumes of multi-faceted data that provide clear insight into aircraft connectivity. If the data is behaving differently than expected we will often be aware of it before either our customer, the end user or our partners which means we can begin to fix issues more quickly,” says SD Founder & CEO Jim Jensen“The investment we’ve made ensures we can extract meaningful information about usage and/or degradation, enabling us to be even more proactive in issue resolution. It puts our support team ahead of the aircraft for years to come.” 

“We are committed to providing the best user experience possible and are proud to find ourselves in first position once again. Maintaining our number one ranking for six years in a row requires investment, dedication and continual development of our support product. We continue to raise the bar and it’s great to know our customers appreciate this commitment,” concludes Jensen. 


SD Reaches Major Milestone with Install of 2,000th FlightDeck Freedom

Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, has achieved a significant milestone for its FlightDeck Freedom datalink service by activating its 2,000th aircraft. The head-of-state customer signed for the service to take advantage of its unique configuration options, ability to integrate third-party flight planning services, evolving compliance support, and the streamlining of flight crew and ground operations workflow.

Specifically designed for business and military aviation, FlightDeck Freedom features an open architecture design to support every type of avionics and datalink-capable airframe and can be customized to meet each customer and/or aircraft platform’s mission needs.  On launch in 2007 it was the first datalink service to give customers the freedom – hence the name – to select, upload from, and communicate with preferred third-party trip planning services and today is still the only datalink service provider with a comprehensive offering of flight planning options. FDF also continues to be the only service that supports flight deck and cabin communications enabling crew to monitor connectivity and troubleshoot issues in real time to better manage passenger expectations.

In addition, FDF enhances operational safety through direct delivery of automated notifications including hazardous weather, route and security alerts, and supports real time aircraft and fleet tracking worldwide, which can be monitored from the ground and in the air. The unique GeoNotification feature details when aircraft are approaching a defined geographic area which may affect connectivity or be defined as sensitive airspace.

Integrated with SD Pro, the digital flight operations management system, data shared through FDF synchronizes flight crew with ground operations keeping team members informed about aircraft performance in real time to support improved flight operations, budgeting and maintenance scheduling. FDF also supports fleet compliancy with FANS, ADS-C and CPDLC to meet evolving Air Traffic Control safety requirements and the changing landscape of business aviation operations.

“Our focus is to always enable our customers to manage their flights and operations using the services, products and systems that best suit their needs. FDF was one of our first services built using open architecture to allow integration of third-party services,” says Chris Moore, president of Satcom Direct Business Aviation. “Reaching this milestone demonstrates the market’s hunger for integrated services that streamline the workflow. As the digitization of aviation continues to evolve, we will continue adapting and modifying our products to meet the changing requirements of flight crew, ground operations and the business aviation infrastructure.”


Collins Aerospace Brings New SATCOM Capabilities to Aviation with the Iridium Certus Service

Collins Aerospace Systems says it has reached a milestone in the development of its higher bandwidth Iridium Certus airborne satellite communications (SATCOM) system. Recently, Collins Aerospace was able to successfully connect and transmit data to an orbiting Iridium® satellite using the Iridium Certus service. The feat was accomplished using Collins Aerospace’s new Active Low Gain Antenna (ALGA) — making it the first successful airborne equipment transmission of this type over the upgraded Iridium constellation’s L-band broadband service. Collins Aerospace Systems is a Raytheon Technologies business.

“This significant achievement marks our progress in bringing our customers an even faster, seamless SATCOM experience,” said Nate Boelkins, vice president and general manager for Commercial Avionics for Collins Aerospace. “Today’s aircraft operators are looking for reliable, secure data interaction and this product will help ensure aircraft operators receive the uninterrupted and secure data feeds they need to operate most efficiently.”

Collins Aerospace’s latest SATCOM solution is currently in development and will be available to operators in 2022. Collins will provide all of the airborne hardware for the new system, including the Satcom Data Unit (SDU), SDU Configuration Module (SCM) and the antenna. Depending on the operator’s bandwidth requirements, either a low gain or high gain antenna can be included, providing L-band bandwidth to 176 kilobits per second (kbps) or 704 kbps, respectively.

In addition to faster speeds, Collins Aerospace’s system will have a lower weight and smaller antenna footprint for minimum drag and lower power usage than legacy systems.


Collins Aerospace to Bring Fast in-flight Connectivity to Four Gulfstream Platforms

Western Jet Aviation is paving the way for Collins Aerospace’s new LuxStream connectivity service to provide the fastest speeds available on multiple Gulfstream aircraft. Western Jet Aviation, based in Van Nuys, California, and Collins Aerospace anticipate the first Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this month to install the KuSAT-2000 SATCOM terminal on the G450. The G350, GV and G550 aircraft will follow shortly behind, with their STC’s slated to be complete before the end of the year.

LuxStream, launched in late 2019, offers speeds up to 25 Mbps in the United States and 15 Mbps globally via SES’s managed Ku-band satellite network. This new solution, available as part of Collins Aerospace’s ARINCDirect portfolio of services, will provide customers with additional benefits including:

• High-quality bandwidth capable of supporting multiple streams of ultra-high-definition content, all while fellow passengers are concurrently running other apps
• Flexible pricing models to meet the aircraft’s mission — whether flying daily, weekly or less frequently
• An always-on service enabled by the redundancy and resiliency offered by SES satellites
• A turn-key solution with both hardware and service provided by Collins Aerospace, giving the operator one point of contact and access to Collins’ industry-leading global support services

“With Western Jet Aviation’s STCs, Gulfstream operators can now go to any Collins Aerospace approved MRO to install the KuSAT-2000, allowing them to experience LuxStream’s unparalleled connectivity speeds and services,” said Dori Henderson, executive director, Business Aviation & Digital Solutions for Collins Aerospace. “We know in-flight connectivity is one of the most in-demand features on today’s business aircraft and we are proud to provide the market’s premier service.”

“Western Jet Aviation is committed to providing our customers with top-class products and services,” said Jim Hansen, CEO of Western Jet Aviation. “When it comes to Cabin Connectivity, we believe the KuSAT-2000 system combined with the LuxStream service meets this mark. The fast speeds and great customer service will be a great fit for our Gulfstream customer base.”

LuxStream is powered by SES’s global geostationary high-throughput and wide satellite beams, as well as a flexible, intelligent ground network. Its performance has been validated extensively with more than 25 passengers able to easily access the internet and stream entertainment content to their personal devices at 25Mbps at the same time.

Additional LuxStream STCs are anticipated by the end of the third quarter of 2020.


Ports of Jersey Modernises Voice Comms with FREQUENTIS

Ports of Jersey (PoJ) Limited has selected Frequentis next generation IT voice communication system (VCS) to upgrade three end of life systems at its main and contingency facilities, enhancing performance and availability. 

Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, located in the English Channel between England and France. The modernisation will include the main VCS located at the Air Traffic Control Center (ATCC), the main VCS at its contingency facility and the emergency VCS (E-VCS). 

“This project will ensure Ports of Jersey can continue to provide resilient and essential Air Traffic Services whilst adopting digital voice technologies that are being rolled out across the global ATC networks.  This will help us to continue to work with French and UK ATC to adapt as the aviation industry and requirements for the Channel Islands Airspace change,” says Robin MacRae, Airport Director at PoJ.

Frequentis will deliver the next generation VCS3020X, the first IT VCS on the market, with an architecture that provides an enterprise Air Traffic Control (ATC) system, with exceptionally high availability, flexibility, performance, and deployment-ready maturity and compliant with EUROCAE ED 137 standard.

“Frequentis is the ideal technology provider for the deployment of mission-critical communications. As the world leader in VCS deployments, our complete turnkey solution drives many benefits and several unique features, including an intuitive controller user interface tailored to the controller’s needs, minimizing interaction errors. We are looking forward to enhancing safety-critical Air/Ground and Ground/Ground communication for Ports of Jersey,” says Hannu Juurakko, Frequentis vice president ATM Civil and Chairman of the ATM Executive team.

Frequentis and Ports of Jersey have worked together on both aviation and maritime projects in recent years, including modernizing vessel traffic services (VTS) in British waters in 2016, supplying an integrated communications system to enhance search and rescue. Additionally, Frequentis deployed a contingency remote tower solution in 2018 to improve resilience and business continuity at its airport. 


Intelsat to Acquire Commercial Aviation Business of Gogo

Intelsat, operator of the world’s largest and most advanced satellite fleet and connectivity infrastructure, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the commercial aviation business of Gogo, the largest global provider of in-flight broadband connectivity, for $400 million in cash, subject to customary adjustments.  

The transaction further propels Intelsat’s efforts in the growing commercial in-flight connectivity market, pairing its high-capacity global satellite and ground network with Gogo’s installed base of more than 3,000 commercial aircraft to redefine the connectivity experience.    

Gogo’s leading commercial aviation business provides Intelsat with key airline relationships and customer-facing capabilities, including a leading software platform, ISP and network management infrastructure. It currently serves 21 commercial airlines, including 9 of the top 20 global carriers.

This transaction will combine Intelsat’s next-generation high throughput space assets with Gogo’s best-in-class 2Ku antenna to uniquely position Intelsat to deliver more cost-effective and advanced commercial aviation broadband connectivity services. Passengers will benefit from an enhanced in-flight connectivity experience that delivers fast and reliable video streaming, browsing and cloud-based applications from gate to gate. Airlines can expect a fully integrated platform offering high reliability, flexibility and passenger satisfaction. 

“Consumer demand for in-flight connectivity is expected to grow at a double-digit rate over the next decade, notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19. The addition of Gogo’s commercial aviation business provides compelling strategic value for our stakeholders and makes strong commercial sense,” said Intelsat’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Spengler. “Gogo’s business is a perfect fit with Intelsat’s expansive satellite network and infrastructure due to the breadth of Gogo’s technological solutions, global reach and operational excellence.”

Spengler continued: “A priority growth objective for Intelsat is to extend our reach closer to the millions of customers who use our satellite capabilities to stay connected around the world. The addition of Gogo’s commercial aviation business is a significant step toward this goal. We are growing beyond satellite connectivity to expand into consumer-optimized managed services.”

“We are excited to welcome the talented people of Gogo’s commercial aviation business to the Intelsat family and look forward to pairing their aviation expertise with Intelsat’s owned network capability to unlock new opportunities for growth. Our ability to execute this transaction in the midst of our financial restructuring speaks to the strength of our underlying business, our vision for the future, the commitment of key Intelsat stakeholders and the momentum that we have maintained over the past several months,” Spengler concluded.


MySky and Satcom Direct Form Strategic Alliance to Integrate Financial and Operational Data

MySky and Satcom Direct (SD) announced a strategic alliance enabling seamless access to real-time data for private aviation. MySky and SD say subscribers will benefit from an all-encompassing approach to aircraft management that combines operational and financial information into a single source of data, the SD Pro platform.

Designed to bring transparency to the industry for the first time, MySky provides unrivaled access to financial data and proprietary IT tools that help owners and operators reduce costs, refine spending and improve the overall aircraft ownership experience. SD Pro, the digital management dashboard, provides relevant and timely information about pre- to- post flight aircraft performance to aircraft operators around the world. An open architecture platform, SD Pro adds value to the user experience through the integration of third-party suppliers. As a result of the integration with MySky, SD will add a financial component to its SD Pro platform.

The agreement between MySky and SD will allow for a full 360-degree approach to business aviation management, promoting a fiduciary duty amongst industry stakeholders. Through the SD Pro platform, aircraft operators will have direct access to financial and operational information from both MySky and SD. The integrated data can increase longevity of ownership and improve the overall ownership experience. The aggregated information enables better informed, proactive decisions in real-time, heightening control and efficiency. Rote tasks can be automated to increase productivity and reallocate valuable human resources.

“At MySky, our goal is to bring increased transparency and accountability to the private aviation industry by ensuring stakeholders have the necessary tools to better understand and manage the costs of their assets,” said Kirill Kim, co-founder and CEO of MySky. “By combining our industry-leading financial data with SD’s detailed operational information, I’m confident that this alliance will help stakeholders better navigate the long-time obstacles associated with private aviation management.”

“SD is dedicated to delivering advanced technological capabilities to our customers. With the integration of MySky into the SD Pro platform, we are adding a significant resource to the operational mix by providing a business management tool that complements our operations-focused products. We are excited to work closely with the MySky team to foster industry growth and long-term sustainability for our clients,” said Chris Moore, SD president of business aviation.


Airbus to Build BADR-8 Satellite for Arabsat, with Optical Communications Payload TELEO

Airbus has been contracted by Arabsat to build BADR-8, a new generation telecommunications satellite. BADR-8 will replace and increase Arabsat’s capacity and augment its core business at the BADR hotspot 26°E.

The BADR-8 satellite will be based on the-state-of-the-art Airbus Eurostar Neo electric orbit raising platform giving access to a wide range of launchers. 

BADR-8 will also include the innovative Airbus developed TELEO optical communications payload demonstrator. The company says this payload will enable very high capacity analogue optical feeder link communications, as part of the development by Airbus of a new generation of optical communications technology in space to be integrated in its future commercial products, which is highly robust against jamming.

“This important contract with our long-standing customer Arabsat has a special significance for Airbus Defence and Space,” Jean-Marc Nasr, head of Space Systems, said. “It is the first seventh-generation Arabsat satellite and the first Eurostar Neo satellite we are building for Arabsat after six previous Eurostar satellites. BADR-8 incorporates the best of our expertise and technologies, including a very innovative optical communications hosted payload. This further strengthens our continuing strategic partnership with the Arab Satellite Communications Organization, which has been connecting people by satellite across the Middle East and the world for more than 40 years.”

Khalid Balkheyour, president and CEO of Arabsat said “We are delighted to sign this contract with our long term partner Airbus. It marks another milestone in our objectives to provide customers with premium satellite technology with the highest level of performance, and to expand reliability and service security. BADR-8 will be joining our Badr-network at Arabsat 26°E hotspot, expanding our service over EMEA region.”

The satellite is scheduled for launch in 2023 and its electric propulsion system will enable it to reach geostationary orbit in four to five months, depending on the type of launcher used. It has been designed to remain in service in orbit for more than 15 years. The satellite will have a launch mass of around 4.5 tonnes and power of 17 kW.

This new contract reinforces Airbus Defence and Space’s position as the world’s number one in electric propulsion satellites, with three full electric satellites operational in orbit and 15 additional full electric high-capacity telecommunications satellites under construction.


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