This week, at the European Regions Airline Association assembly, speakers echoed the concern that is spread across the aviation industry about the upcoming mandatory regulations in Europe for CPDLC cockpit upgrades that are averaging $500,000 per aircraft in retrofit costs. Sectors are hoping for a delay to the mandate, which is intended to be in place by February 2015.
Also at the assembly, Steven Tyler, IATA director general says he has grown tired of trying to fight for reform in other areas.
Echoing the thoughts of many members, he said, “Everybody agrees with [changing the rules], but nothing ever happens. So the only conclusion you can reach is the reason they’re there is somebody likes it the way it is, and ‘the somebody’ is the governments. We can all agree it would be a good thing, but it’s just not happening, and the reason it’s not happening is because people like it the way it is. It may be illogical, it may be hypocritical, but I’m afraid that’s life. And that’s why I haven’t put all my own energy and all the energy of the organization, of IATA, into campaigning on this particular issue, because it would be wasted effort.”
Many types of mission-critical communications are sent during flights, both from the ground and the air. Reliable and timely access to flight information is essential for modern operators to ensure both maximised operational productivity and minimal ground delays. Type B communications transmission solutions providers handle millions of communications every day and costs vary for providers, some offering fixed-rate and others charge per message.
European embedded computer technologies firm, Kontron has launched the ACE Flight 600 airborne server which boasts three times more wireless content capacity that the earlier version.
The statement released today states that the 4G LTE integrated modem helps the server target advanced communication application requirements for the Ethernet-based network installations for both retrofit and linefit aircraft.
“To support the faster connectivity requirements of next-generation avionics flight information systems, the Kontron ACE Flight 600 provides the necessary gateway through which flight crews and ground personnel can access essential onboard information,” said Alan Manns, commercial avionics business line manager at Kontron.
Markets and Markets, market researching company has published a report this week that estimates the global Airport Information Systems market worth at $2,640.61million in 2014, with a projected CAGR figure of 4.76%, to reach $3,490.69million by 2020.
The competitiveness of the Airport Information Systems market, according to the report, with a limited number of market participants shows that many are collaborating to ensure success. Growth strategies have been studied and market leaders are making strategic decisions in order to expand their global presence with mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.
There is an increasing demand for Airport Information Systems as passenger flow increases and costs are micro-managed to ensure maximum operational efficiencies for both airports and airline operators.
Most recently, we see Rockwell Collins, aviation communications giant, with their acquisition of ARINC Inc last year and their agreement signed with Inmarsat earlier this month, making every effort to corner the aviation sector with technological solutions that effectively fit the bill in terms of Airport Information Management and communications.
It has been announced that the FAA has granted approval for Jet Aviation Saudi Arabia to operate as an official Repair Station for Gulfstream aircraft.
This is good news for the company, who can now support its customers in Riyadh and Jeddah, improving their ability to meet the maintenance requirements of Gulfstream GII, GIII, GIV and GV aircraft. They will perform light scheduled maintenance (A Checks).
Alain Champonnois, vice president and general manager of Jet Aviation Saudi Arabia said, “Large aircraft are preferred by many of our clients flying in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This service expansion directly improves our ability to meet the maintenance requirements, while providing assurance of the highest business aviation standards.”
Bombardier’s business jet aircraft will be the first to deliver Honeywell’s JetWave Ka-Band satellite connectivity system, exclusively supporting Inmarsat’s JetConneX service which is set to go live in 2015. The system will bring business passengers global in-flight connectivity at high speeds and will allow for video-conferencing, large file exchange and content streaming capabilities.
Inmarsat and Honeywell signed an agreement two years ago which gave Honeywell the exclusive provision of hardware for the Ka-band GX Aviation service, branded as JetConneX for business aviation customers. The service promises connectivity in the air as seamlessly reliable and fast as that of ground-based offices and thus appealing to the business aviation market for executive aircraft.
“With JetWave securing the backing of a leading business jet manufacturer in Bombardier, we celebrate a major milestone in the evolution of business aircraft connectivity,” said Brian Sill, president, Business and General Aviation, Honeywell Aerospace. “The industry is showing a clear desire for high speed, global, consistent in-flight connectivity and is turning to Honeywell and Inmarsat to deliver it.”
“Our customers want to be online everywhere they go. They will now experience the same level of connectivity in the air that they have come to expect on the ground without a drop in connectivity performance once they leave their homes or offices,” said Eric Martel, president, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “The introduction of this technology allows us to further strengthen the industry-leading cabin experience that we are offering to our customers.”
Honeywell is also the prime distributor of airtime for the business aviation sector, working with ARINC Direct, Satcom Direct, Satcom1, Aircell and OnAir.
Australia’s government has ordered a review of airport security following heightened terror alerts across the country to include an ‘active shooter’ response plan.
Physical airport security procedures will be reviewed and tightened, with measures in place to raise awareness amongst passengers. It was made clear by the Department of Transport that they were not requesting heightened implementation of additional security measures, but “review their current security measures to ensure they remain relevant for both generic and specific threat and alert level”.
Amongst the requests made of industry participants are that they ‘take steps to reinvigorate security awareness’; ‘increase vigilance around unattended or abandoned items’; increase security signage and increase face-to-face identification checks of personnel.
There has been an increase in Federal Police patrols as a reaction to the increased terror alert level – the first in Australian history – as they believe the threats to be real and an attack ‘imminent’.
Sydney airport is one of the first to review its physical security procedures and has launched a passenger campaign that is centred around the term ‘if you see something, say something’. Increased security is present in the airport and additional signage has been placed.
Following a recent GX Aviation Added Value Reseller deal with Inmarsat, Rockwell Collins have announced enhancements to their ARINC Cabin Connect suite, the company’s leading in-flight connectivity for cabin services platform. The enhancements will benefit both passengers and airlines as the latest Ka-band services bring greater possibilities to the aviation industry.
Rockwell Collins will use the increased bandwidth and high-speed connectivity to offer real-time TV and TV on-demand in addition to the launch of a new capability that will give passengers the opportunity to use mobile phones onboard to send and receive, where approved, SMS messages and make voice calls over the internet.
Airlines will notice an immediate benefit with Cabin Connect, as the elimination of the need for separate on-board cell phone and Wi-Fi network equipment will significantly reduce weight and installation costs, while allowing extra potential for value-added services.
“Our knowledge of how communications platforms work, combined with our systems integration expertise, enables Rockwell Collins to create solutions that meet the specific needs of our global aviation customers,” said Michael DiGeorge, vice president of international and global airports for Rockwell Collins. “Expanding our ARINC Cabin Connect capabilities through Inmarsat’s high-speed service will provide airlines and their customers with new services designed to meet the ever-growing demand for accessing information and in-flight entertainment.”
Another benefit in addition to passenger connectivity using Cabin Connect will be the new tools designed to enhance airline efficiency. Rockwell Collins’ information management capabilities feature a dashboard that will allow airlines to access monitoring for system-critical elements including cabin applications utilisation and fleet information.
“Because we offer nose-to-tail solutions, we have a tremendous amount of valuable information we can provide to airlines about their aircraft,” said DiGeorge. “With this dashboard, we are putting that information into an easy-to-use format that helps airlines to improve their operational decision making.”