Inmarsat Faces EAN Legal Challenge From ViaSat, Eutelsat and Panasonic
ViaSat, Eutelsat and Panasonic have filed a complaint with the European Court of Justice, seeking an injunction on Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN). The plaintiffs contend that Inmarsat’s S-band radio spectrum license, which was granted in 2009, was supposed to be used for rural satellite broadband, but that most of EAN’s connections will be from ground stations. “The air-to-ground network that they’re proposing is inconsistent with the procurement,” said Rick Baldridge, ViaSat’s COO. However, Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat’s CEO, dismissed the legal challenges. “We are very confident about our license and have issued a cease and desist order on them,” he said.
One in Three Qantas Passengers Have Used Wi-Fi on Connected Flights
Since launching in April, Qantas says more than 40,000 people have used its domestic in-flight Wi-Fi service on its first ViaSat Ka-band-equipped aircraft. The Australian carrier registered an average of 32 percent of passengers logging onto the service at some stage during their flight, compared to an industry standard of 10 percent. Qantas says it expects usage rates between 30 to 50 percent once the service is rolled out to more of its Boeing 737s and Airbus A330s. The airline attributes the high uptake rate to the service being offered free of charge.
US Lifts Electronics Ban on Emirates and Turkish Airlines
Emirates and Turkish Airlines today confirmed that the United States has lifted its onboard electronics ban on US-bound flights from their respective hubs at Dubai International Airport and Istanbul Ataturk Airport. The news comes one week after the US announced a series of heightened security measures for inbound overseas flights. Effective immediately, the announcements come three days after the ban on Etihad Airways’ US-bound flights from Abu Dhabi International Airport was lifted. Emirates cut US flights by one fifth after the ban went into effect in March, citing weak travel demand.
East Meets West: Hainan Airlines Debuts New Uniforms at Paris Haute Couture Week
Hainan Airlines unveiled new cabin crew uniforms at Paris Haute Couture Week two days ago. The outfits, designed by Laurence Xu, combine what the airline describes as “elements of classical, time-honored Oriental aesthetics and the silhouette of a modern Western suit.” The Chinese carrier said it met frequently with Xu during the design process, going through more than 1,000 design blueprints and trying over 100 garment and accessory samples. The latest designs are the fifth iteration of the HNA Group-owned airline’s uniforms and will launch this coming fall, replacing the previous staff attire, which has been in use since 2010.
IdeaNova Technologies Unveils Browser-Based DRM Video Player
IdeaNova Technologies has launched a new multimedia player that enables any digital rights management (DRM) content, such as Hollywood movies, to be played on laptops and any web browser. The company says Inplay Instant does not require plug-ins and supports adaptive streaming, adaptive download, in-flight chat, multilingual subtitles and audio, data analysis tools and advertising integration with DRM content. “We believe this will have a huge impact as it gives operators more time to roll out new technology while providing entertainment to customers on their existing platforms,” said Juraj Siska, CTO of IdeaNova Technologies.
[PHOTOS] Corsair’s Upcoming Business-Class Cabin
Airlines and overseas airports may struggle to meet deadlines for complying with the US government’s enhanced security requirements for flights to the country, say airline industry groups. According to the Financial Times, airlines have been given three weeks to implement certain security protocols and 120 days for those remaining. IATA said in a memo that the Department of Homeland Security’s directives, which were issued on Wednesday, give airports a short timeline for implementing the measures. It noted that explosive trace detection equipment and bomb-sniffing dogs, which are required under the directives, aren’t readily available in all of the 280 airports affected.