Industry Is Like “a Game of Whack-a-Mole,” Says ViaSat Exec
In-flight connectivity providers need to look further ahead to adapt to how passengers are using onboard Wi-Fi, says Bill Sullivan, ViaSat’s senior director of Strategy and Business Development for Enterprise Services, after noting the fast-emerging use of apps, such as Snapchat, in flight. “Internet content is rapidly changing – it’s like playing a game of whack-a-mole. You adjust to one piece of Internet content application or one website and another one pops up. The question is: How do we win?” asks Sullivan, who also notes that “it takes a long time to get new things on airplanes, so we get to see it coming from a mile away. So, the problem we have is figuring out if technology has to change in order for us to adapt.”
Royal Brunei Saves Weight With Wireless IFE on Regional Routes
Royal Brunei Airlines has equipped its new Airbus A320s with a wireless in-flight entertainment platform called RB Impian. The service allows passengers on regional flights to stream films, TV shows and music to their mobile devices via the airline’s RB Entertainment Player app, which is downloadable via the Apple App Store and Google Play. “This initiative allows us to provide our passengers with an additional in-flight entertainment option … It is a win-win for our customers, RB and our environment, from less carbon emissions as a result of a lighter aircraft and less fuel burn,” says Karam Chand, CEO of Royal Brunei Airlines.
Flight of the Drones: FAA Ushers in Rules Governing Use of Commercial UAVs
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a new set of rules on Tuesday that makes it easier for companies to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The FAA’s commercial drone rules allow a wide range of businesses to use drones weighing less than 55 pounds. However, the regulations require UAVs to be flown at an altitude below 400 feet, during daytime and at least five miles away from airports, and they can only be piloted by those who have passed a written test. “Within months you will see the incredible impact of these rules with commercial drones becoming commonplace,” says Michael Drobac, lawyer at Akin Gump. “This will show the technology is reliable and then it becomes harder to argue against broader uses like for delivery.”
First in Africa: Ethiopian Airlines to Begin Delivery of IFE-Ready A350 XWBs
Ethiopian Airlines is set to take delivery of the first of 14 Airbus A350 XWBs on June 28, making it the first African operator of the wide-body jet. The Ethiopian flag carrier says its upcoming A350s will be linefit with a new in-flight entertainment system featuring seatback HD touchscreen displays and onboard Wi-Fi. Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, says, “The Airbus 350 XWB will enable us to further expand our service quality – especially on long-haul flights.” GebreMariam also notes that the aircraft offers wider seats in both business and economy classes and full LED anti-fatigue mood lighting.
IAG Sounds the Profit Alarm Following Brexit Vote to Leave
International Airlines Group (IAG), owner of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, has become the first company to warn investors that yesterday’s vote in favor of the UK leaving the EU will impact profits. IAG had previously told investors to expect a $1.3 billion hike in profits this year, but now predicts lower. In a statement issued hours after the referendum, the airline group said, “Following the outcome of the referendum, and given current market volatility, while IAG continues to expect a significant increase in operating profit this year, it no longer expects to generate an absolute operating profit increase similar to 2015.”
Kymeta to Bring a Metamaterial Ka-Band Terminal to Market in 2017
Kymeta says it plans to bring a metamaterial-based Ka-band terminal to market in 2017. By developing the compact mTenna, the Washington-based metamaterial company aims to bring connectivity to aircraft too small for Honeywell’s JetWave fuselage- and tail-mounted antennas. Kymeta says its electromagnetic metamaterial technology is based on “a holographic approach to electronically acquire, steer and lock a beam to any satellite, with no moving parts.”