APEX Week in Review

Airbus will merge into one entity in January 2017. Image: Joao Carlos Medau

Here are the most-read stories from this week’s APEX Daily Experience newsletters. To receive breaking passenger experience industry news in your inbox on a daily basis, subscribe here

Long-Haul Decision: Air France-KLM Opts for Gogo’s 2Ku In-Flight Connectivity


Air France-KLM has chosen Gogo to equip its long-haul aircraft with in-flight connectivity. The agreement means Gogo will fit its 2Ku technology on board the Franco-Dutch airline group’s fleet of 124 aircraft, including Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s, with the bulk of installations taking place during 2018 and 2019. “We are delighted to bring Gogo’s industry-leading 2Ku technology to one of the largest airlines in the world and two of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO.

In-Flight Entertainment to Go: Before, During and After Your Flight


A new breed of preloaded and wireless in-flight entertainment platforms is pushing boundaries by pioneering pre-takeoff and post landing content to offer a door-to-door travel experience. Tanguy Morel, CEO of Interactive Mobility, says, “It’s a trend that will extend further in the ensuing years as it allows fresher content to be on board … and it offers great opportunities for personalization and data leverage.” Airports are showing interest in this model, too. Heathrow Airport partnered with SITA and Adaptive Channel to introduce EntertainMe: self-serve kiosks that let departing Terminal 5 travelers download movies, newspapers and magazines to their personal electronic devices (PEDs). But the strict protocols of studios reluctant to offer their latest movies on passengers’ PEDs presents a challenge to the wider adoption of preloaded content platforms.

Gogo Announces Air-to-Ground LTE Network to Support North American In-Flight Connectivity


Gogo today announced that it is developing a new generation of air-to-ground technology aimed at serving commercial and business aviation in North America. The in-flight connectivity provider says the network will incorporate LTE technology and use the company’s existing first-generation infrastructure of more than 250 towers. Gogo claims the service will offer ground-like performance, including video streaming capability, to passengers on regional jets and select narrow-body aircraft operating within the United States and Canada. The service is expected to be available in 2018. “We now have upgrade paths to more than 100 Mbps for both our North American ground-based and our global satellite networks,” says Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO.

Lufthansa Begins Fleet-Wide Airbus A320 GX Ka-Band Installations


Lufthansa Technik has started installing Inmarsat’s Ka-band satellite hardware technology as standard equipment across Lufthansa Group’s entire Airbus A320 fleet. Around 300 aircraft will be fitted with Ka-band antennae and routers by spring 2018 to enable connectivity to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network on short- and medium-haul flights. “The procedure we have developed, combined with Lufthansa Technik’s wealth of experience in the project management of extensive modification programs, ensures that we can equip even large fleets with this technology in the shortest possible time,” says Lukas Bucher, head of Connectivity at Lufthansa Technik.

Oman Air Apologizes Over “Persian” vs. “Arabian” Gulf Naming Dispute


Oman Air has apologized for in-flight maps that labeled the Gulf – the body of water separating Iran from the Arabian Peninsula – as the “Persian Gulf,” amid ongoing tensions between Gulf Arab countries and Iran. The naming of the waterway is a recurring source of contention between Iran and its Arab neighbors, who have called it the “Arabian Gulf” for several decades. Gulf Arab social media users criticized Oman Air and demanded the label be changed, prompting the airline to temporarily disable its seatback screen map. In a statement, the carrier said the map was a mistake, noting the aircraft are on lease from Kenya Airways and claiming it has asked Panasonic Avionics, which maintains its in-flight entertainment systems, to change the map software.

Airbus to Restructure Into a Single Brand


Airbus Group and Airbus Commercial Aircraft are to merge into a single brand as of next January. Tom Enders will retain his role as CEO and Fabrice Brégier will take up a new position as group COO and Airbus Commercial Aircraft president. “We are bringing Team Airbus closer together, recognizing that our commercial aircraft division is by far the largest contributor to our company’s revenues and financials,” says Enders. “We are committed to delivering the next level of performance by, for example, further streamlining our corporate structures and establishing a simpler and leaner organization overall.”

APEX Daily Experience

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