Rockwell Collins has validated Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX (JX) network performance in addition to a portion of its value-added services through the business aviation arm, ARINCDirect.
As a value-added reseller, ARINCDirect will offer Jet ConneX to its business jet operators to deliver high-speed aircraft internet, delivering the highest connection speeds and a greater efficiency in the use of bandwidth over the Ka-band.
Rockwell Collins’ ARINCDirect provide business aviation services, including flight planning and support, in addition to its flight deck and passenger communications solutions.
The annual Aircraft Interiors Expo saw more than 14,000 visitors this year over its three-day airing in Hamburg, Germany.
The latest innovations in cabin connectivity were shown and discussed, in addition to some incredible interior designs.
Airlines and service providers were asking new questions this year, leading us to believe that in-flight connectivity, as a relatively new requirement for the cabin, is climbing higher on the list of priorities for passengers.
Rockwell Collins’ Jeff Standerski, senior VP, said that the term IFEC (In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity) should be referred to in the future as IFPE (In-Flight Passenger Engagement), demonstrating that the way we are thinking about cabin connectivity is changing.
Rockwell Collins’ ARINC Cabin Connect is certainly moving with the times, offering next-generation connectivity with support for personal electronic devices, and opportunities to increase in-flight revenue and enhance customer service with AirCrew Connect.
A new communications satellite has been launched by Intelsat this week, the first of its latest EpicNG range. Intelsat 29e has been designed to provide low-cost connectivity for the North American routes for both air and sea and will eventually become part of a seven-strong satellite network.
The satellite will be used to deliver fast passenger communications onboard aircraft, as today’s demands increase for connectivity. Currently, both business and commercial aircraft are able to provide aircraft broadband at increasingly higher speeds and bandwidth, with many employing the Inmarsat satellite network, such as Rockwell Collins’ ARINCDirect, who provide passenger connectivity exclusively for business jets.
Business passengers are probably the most demanding when it comes to aircraft broadband, as they want and need to continue working onboard as effectively as they can in their ground-based office environments.
In a recent report from aviation analysts, it was found that the prices passengers are paying for inflight Wifi varies wildly, with some airlines offering a free service, and others charging up to £30.
So why the huge difference? Some providers say that the cost of installation of the aircraft system is a significant contributor to the high cost, yet it seems to be mostly the budget airlines offering free access, surprisingly.
Another complaint from passengers is the speed and quality of inflight Wifi. Onboard internet can be provided in two ways – via satellite communications or via air-to-ground communications systems. The air-to-ground option delivers higher speeds, but satellite is necessary for connectivity over oceanic expanses.
A growing number of airline passengers require inflight Wifi. Some commercial passengers want access to social media, or want to stream information, but others require access for business purposes. Executive travellers can often ‘charge’ inflight Wifi to their business expenses, but others are simply refusing to pay high prices that can be comparable with the cost of a monthly broadband fee at home.
Airlines need to look at their options, as it appears that the provision of inflight Wifi may become a source of competition amongst the airline community as time goes by.
Cabin management systems on business jets have become as important to travellers as the stylish interiors, with demand rising for comparable comforts and connectivity as those of the best hotels.
Honeywell is offering upgrades for its analogue C-series systems, which will deliver digital capabilities over a three-phase upgrade that will include updated HD monitors and surround sound systems.
In-flight entertainment and integrated cabin management systems, such as Honeywell’s latest offering and others like Rockwell Collins’ Cabin Connect, which combines options for concierge services, cabin crew applications and opportunities for enhanced revenue, are giving corporate and commercial aircraft operators far greater choice than ever before.
Acropolis Aviation, Farnborough, UK-based luxury Airbus charter provider, has received EASA approval for upgraded on-board Wifi and IFE systems.
Using a Rockwell Collins Skybox solution, Acropolis Aviation will be able to offer its passengers secure aircraft internet, in partnership with Satcom Direct’s SkyTicket.
Acropolis Aviation are pleased to offer the upgraded service and have enjoyed a ‘good working relationship’ with both companies.
As the demand for passenger connectivity soars, Gogo have announced that it has received Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for its latest 2Ku satellite service. They are hoping for a successful launch later this year for commercial aircraft.
Passengers on commercial planes today want to be able to use the internet onboard and the competition is hotting up amongst the providers.
Rockwell Collins’ Cabin Connect, powered by Inmarsat SwiftBroadband and with plans for the additional speed capabilities of GX later this year, allows for live streaming, video calling and surfing the internet from the passenger’s seat on the aircraft.
The video below shows how.
Rockwell Collins again hit the aviation headlines this week as they team with Inmarsat and Hawaiian Airlines to begin critical evaluations of Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband for safety services.
Rockwell Collins’ ARINC aviation communications network will play what is described as a ‘central role’ in Hawaiian Airlines’ evaluation of Future Air Navigation System (FANS) over SwiftBroadband.
For Hawaiian Airlines, the testing offers a wider opportunity for them to utilise SwiftBroadband for flight deck connectivity, passenger communications and cabin services.
Inmarsat’s latest satellite communications system, Global Xpress, scheduled to deliver global aviation broadband at speeds of up to 50mpbs later this year, is currently being used to aid the Nepal Earthquake Rescue teams as they co-ordinate relief to the devastated country.
The GX system, which is being tested before going officially into service, is providing communications support and broadband to the teams, as the country’s communications infrastructure was damaged during last month’s earthquake.
Global Xpress will eventually comprise of four satellites, the third of which is expected to be launched in June 2015.
SmartSky Networks announced a partnership with Kontron this week at the AEA Convention held in Dallas. Kontron, German-based cabin WiFi access point (CWAP) manufacturer, and the relatively new SmartSky Networks, air-to-ground aviation telecommunications network provider, will team to provide a SmartSky 4G service with an expected capability of 10 times the current speed and capacity of other networks, according to the Florida-based SmartSky.
As passenger and operational expectations increase across both business and commercial aviation sectors, airlines and operators are seeking greater transfer speeds and capabilities for cabin services and flight deck options.
Other next-generation cabin services providers are utilising powerful satellite communications networks, such as Inmarsat and Iridium, to deliver aircraft WiFi solutions that can be as effective in the sky as they can on the ground.