Monthly Archives: March 2015

The aviation community is in mourning today after yesterday’s tragic crash of Germanwings flight 9525 in France enroute from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. 150 passengers and crew are thought to have perished in the French Alps, including 16 German schoolchildren returning from a Spanish exchange program.

The Airbus 320 came down approximately 45 minutes into the flight, dropping from a cruise altitude of 38,000ft to 6,000ft in just eight minutes before contact was lost.

The cause of the crash remains unclear, but one of two aircraft ‘black box’ flight recorders has been recovered from the crash site and will be examined by investigators. What can be confirmed is that no distress signal was issued and the flight maintained total radio silence in the final ten minutes.

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims at this sad time.

Latest Technology for Monitoring Cabin PressureA California-based aviation technology company have launched a new innovation for pilots to detect a possible cabin pressurisation failure in a bit to combat accidents caused by hypoxia. AltAlert, the personal cabin pressure monitor is a simple device that is small and easy to carry, able to be clipped to a belt, shirt pocket or attached to a window via a small suction cup.

The device gives both audible and LED visual alarms to warn the pilot that the cabin altitude is climbing above specified thresholds.

Based on a NASA patent, AltAlert has a battery life of 18 months and was developed using algorithms for consistency and reliability. Four years in development, the monitor is the project of president and CEO of Carlsbad, Stacy Pappas Sawaya, who researched hypoxic-related accidents. She said, “I started researching the number of accidents logged with the NTSB related to pressurization. The Payne Stewart accident was the most highly publicized, but the total number is enormous. It was really just a coincidence that the TBM 900 went down last September; we were finishing up by then. It was yet another example of the need for this device and its lifesaving capabilities.”

The AltAlert device is now publicly available to pilots at many pilot shops at a cost of under $400.

Improving Airport Security with Biometric Solutions ProvidersAlthough the world’s major airports are stepping up security for passengers and employees, a top airport official, speaking at Los Angeles International Airport still thinks that it may not be enough to stop the ‘lone wolf’ slipping through the net.

Mr Patrick Gannon, police chief of LAX, said that 54,000 employees undergo recurring security screening, including criminal background checks, but believes that this may not be enough. He said, “I agree that in any airport throughout the United States and here also, there is never a 100% guarantee that somebody who wanted to do something illegal or wrong couldn’t make that happen.”

Just two of the U.S. airports, Orlando and Miami, require all personnel that have access to secure areas of the airport to pass through metal detectors, with other major airports conducting random checks. Often airport personnel undergo the bare minimum before being hired, such as a criminal background check.

The debate has been raised since the arrest of the Delta baggage handler at the end of last year at Jackson International Airport for gun smuggling alongside a passenger.

Mr Gannon is concerned about the process of screening airport staff and the risk of a single member of staff being overlooked. Miami airport security director, Lauren Stover agrees that ID badges and swipe cards are not enough to guarantee the eradication of the likelihood of contraband or a person with malicious intent getting through security access doors.

The debate continues as airports around the world aim to stamp out the threat of terrorist attack. As employees could be targeted by organisations, regular and constant screening is the only answer and is held back by cost implications on a broad scale.

Business Aviation Summit Held in NYCThis summer will see JETNET LLC host its annual JETNET Global iQ Business Aviation Summit in New York City on the eve of the NBAA regional forum at Teterboro Airport.

JETNET iQ Director of Special Programs will chair the confirmed speakers list for the 5th year – a line-up that includes business aircraft OEM leaders, finance and sales experts, aerospace and defence analysts from Wall Street, UHNWI researchers, trade organisation directors and aircraft owners and operators.

Paul Cardarelli, JETNET vice president of sales will, accompanied by JETNET iQ creator and director Rollie Vincent, present insights from the latest research from a survey database of over 8500 respondents from 125 countries and a 10-year fleet forecast.

Mr Cardarelli said, “Our past attendees are our strongest testimony for this extraordinary event. They’ve called it ‘The best one-day conference in the industry.’ We strive for nothing less, and this year’s event will be another must-see for aviation professionals.”

GX Aviation Provides Aircraft Operators with Enhanced Cabin Services CapabilitiesHoneywell and Inmarsat have announced the successful completion of high-speed data performance tests of Jetwave MCS 8200 onboard aircraft hardware using the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) network.

Aimed at delivering high-speed aircraft WiFi to passengers, Inmarsat GX was tested for video streaming and file transfers at Honeywell’s UK facility in the West Country. The first GX satellite, launched last year is currently used for government and enterprise customers in the Indian Oceanic region, with a second satellite launched last month for the Americas and Atlantic region, and a third planned for later this year to cover the Pacific, GX aviation will eventually service and cover the entire globe, providing a seamless connectivity experience for passengers.

Honeywell and Inmarsat are delighted with the success of their testing and plan to commence higher data rate testing in the coming months.

Leo Mondale, Inmarsat Aviation president said, “Both the GX network and Honeywell’s terminal have met and exceeded our high expectations. We’re another step closer to bringing a true broadband experience to both commercial airlines and business aviation.”

Using Technology to Provide Increased Airport SecurityAtkins Identity Management toolkit will be integrated with the ARINC vMUSE and VeriPax technologies from Rockwell Collins to produce a new suite of fully integrated and configurable airport identity management solutions, which will help to take automated passenger processing to another level, while maintaining critical airport security.

The combined technologies will capture passenger identities using biometrics, comparing the information with boarding passes and passport details, including finger print and facial recognition capabilities.

Nick Whitehead, head of strategic services in identity assurance at Atkins said, “Combining Rockwell Collins’ experience deploying CUPPS technology at airports worldwide with our proven capabilities in developing and implementing biometric applications has allowed us to create a fully integrated identity management solution for airports. Airports can use this service to validate a passenger’s identity, ensuring that the individual given the authority to fly is actually the one who boards the plane.”

The initial implementation of the technology will include highly configurable elements and standardised plug-ins to allow seamless identity management without making changes to an airline’s DCS.

Atkins is a leading global design, engineering and project management company with employees in the UK, Middle East, Europe, Asia Pacific and North America.

Ethisphere Honours World's Most Ethical CompaniesRockwell Collins has been recognised for the sixth year by Ethisphere Institute as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

Based upon the Ethisphere Institutes Ethics Quotient, a framework developed over many years of research, the World’s Most Ethical Company award recognises organisations that ‘have had a material impact on the way business is conducted by fostering a culture of ethics and transparency at every level’.

Rockwell Collins are delighted to be a sixth year honouree as Bob Perna, senior vice president of the General Counsel and Secretary at Rockwell Collins said, “We are proud to receive this award. Our employees work hard to deliver on our commitment of trust and integrity in all we do, which is critical to our business success”.

There are five categories involved in the scoring process:

  • Ethics and compliance – 35%
  • Culture of ethics – 20%
  • Corporate citizenship and responsibility – 20%
  • Governance – 15%
  • Leadership, innovation and reputation – 10%

A full list of the 2015 World’s Most Ethical Companies can be found here.


Nicole Kidman New Etihad AmbassadorIn a bid to increase global awareness, Etihad Airways has announced the signing of Australian actress Nicole Kidman as their latest brand ambassador. Ms Kidman has featured in a video ad, part of which was filmed onboard an Etihad Airbus A380, and stills will be appearing in more than 130 countries around the world.

The campaign, launched this week, is aimed at raising global awareness and Ms Kidman was selected because, according to Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer for Etihad, “Nicole Kidman, as a globally respected artist, was the perfect voice and face for our story, and embodies worldly sophistications, intelligence, originality and elegance – values which form the foundations of the Etihad brand.”

Ms Kidman said she was impressed with the passenger services experience she had previously enjoyed with Etihad before joining the campaign. She said, “I loved doing it because I think The Residence is one of a kind, and it’s an apartment in the sky. I spent four days shooting on it and it still blows my mind that it is so big.”

Ms Kidman is not the first Australian actress to promote Etihad’s star Airbus, The Residence. Danii Minogue also worked with the airline last year.

Improving Airport & Facility SecurityAcross the UAE, airports will be launching biometric screening systems in a project to upgrade the physical security with multimodal measures including eGates.

The project has been prompted, according to ministry officials, by ‘numerous security challenges in the region’ and as Dubai International airport in particular expects more than 80 million passengers during the coming year, the requirements for improved security measures are clear.

In addition to airport security, the plans are expected to include all the country’s borders, with the implementation of fingerprint, eye and facial scanning technology. eGates will strengthen security immediately and help with screening and tracking of passengers leaving and entering the country.

Across the world we see international airports making improvements to physical and biometric security – a result of increased threats from terror organisations all over the globe.

Providers of Bag Drop & Passenger Processing Solutions to Revolutionise the IndustryRockwell Collins are having a busy month this month with the unveiling of yet another new product. Developed to further streamline and enhance the passenger processing system in airports, ARINC vMUSE mobile enables ground handling and airline agents to use a tablet-based application to check-in passengers from anywhere in the airport.

The possibilities for the new passenger processing system are far-reaching, particularly for off-airport check-in, which is a sector of the industry that is fast growing in popularity for both passengers and airports. The flexibility offered to passengers, with off-airport bag drop points and now the ARINC vMUSE mobile system from Rockwell Collins is revolutionising the entire air travel experience; completely changing the traditional airport queue and waiting system that many passengers dread.

The industry is getting a good look at the new product this week at the Passenger Terminal Expo 2015, where demonstrations of the system’s capabilities are being carried out.

ARINC vMUSE mobile will allow each airline to access its own check-in application with the same security and reliability of traditional CUPPS, but without the additional technical resources, software configurations or installation time, thus reducing the costs, but giving the full CUPPS advantages.