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News : AIM Altitude develops autonomous lighting dimmer system

AIM Altitude develops autonomous lighting dimmer system

AIM Altitude has developed an autonomous lighting dimmer (ALD) system that will enhance the ambience of premium cabins, allowing LED feature lighting to be independently controlled without the need to
connect to the aircraft’s IFE system or cabin mood lighting system. 

The ALD is a single channel, single colour, 28v DC dimmer. It is able to power and control up to 2.5 amps (70 watts) of DC LED lights. This is sufficient for up to 12 metres of AIM Altitude’s white LED strip lights, with no connection to the aircraft lighting system.

The ALD system can accept discrete on/off inputs or can be used with AIM Altitude’s Light Sensor to automatically follow the intensity of the aircraft manufacturers’ cabin lighting system. ALDs can also be used to control autonomous feature lights in first and business class monuments and in illuminated bulkhead feature panels. The ALD provides user-definable controlled dimming, with over 4,500 incremental steps.

AIM Altitude says that the ALD is unique in having electromagnetic emissions that meet the stringent requirements of Boeing 787, Airbus A380 and A350 aircraft for LED cabin lighting in line-fit applications. The ALD is currently qualified for monument, bulkhead feature panel and premium seat applications in the Boeing 787-8 and 787-9, for bulkhead feature panel and seat applications in Airbus A380 aircraft, and for premium seat applications in Airbus A350 aircraft.

“AIM designed and developed the very first mood lighting to be used on passenger aircraft,” said John Heath, group design and technical director at AIM Altitude. “It has now become in important way for airlines to provide differentiation and to set the atmosphere for their passengers. Being autonomous, our ALD system provides airlines with great flexibility to add ambience to specific areas of the aircraft and to manage the cabin environment as required.”

AIM submitted a UK patent application for the ALD in 2014 and has also applied for protection in the rest of the EU and the USA.
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News : Finnair acquires Flybe UK’s share of Flybe Nordic on interim basis

Finnair acquires Flybe UK’s share of Flybe Nordic on interim basis

Flybe Nordic will transfer to Finnair’s ownership on an interim basis after Finnair acquired Flybe UK’s 60% ownership of Flybe Nordic for a transaction price of €1. 

The news follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by Finnair, StaffPoint Holding Ltd and G.W. Sohlberg Ltd on 7 January 2015, saying that Staffpoint and GWS would together own 60% of Flybe Nordic shares.

“Last November Finnair and Flybe UK decided to discontinue their Flybe Nordic co-operation and agreed that Flybe UK will sell its 60% ownership in the company to a potential new majority shareholder or Finnair. While the discussions with Staffpoint and GWS still continue, Finnair will now acquire Flybe UK’s share of Flybe Nordic. We hope to sign a new share purchase agreement in the coming months,” explained Pekka Vauramo, Finnair’s CEO.

“Finnair aims to find, together with its partners, a business model that would enable the development of regional flying in a financially sustainable way. We will take an important step to this direction at the beginning of May, when all routes operated by Flybe Finland at their own commercial risk will become a part of Finnair's contract flying arrangements, as we have communicated earlier. Flybe Finland has also implemented several internal measures to improve the company’s financial position,” Vauramo continued.

Flybe Nordic fully owns Finnish subsidiary Flybe Finland, which operates a substantial part of Finnair’s domestic and European routes as purchase traffic with a total of 26 ATR and Embraer aircraft. Flights operated by Flybe Finland will continue normally.
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News : Blue Air begins Liverpool–Bacau service

Blue Air begins Liverpool–Bacau service

Blue Air has begun operating its second service from Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) with twice-weekly flights to the city of Bacau in north-east Romania. 

The new service comes just over three months after Blue Air commenced operations at LJLA with three times weekly flights to the Romanian capital of Bucharest in December 2014.

Situated in the historical region of Moldavia, at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, Bacau is one of Romania’s cultural centres with a state theatre, museums and a symphony orchestra. 

Photo (from left to right): LJLA's air service development manager Paul Winfield and marketing and communications co-ordinator Lois Robertson.

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News : Wizz Air announces Lublin as 21st base

Wizz Air announces Lublin as 21st base

On 14 September, Wizz Air will open its 21st base in Lublin, Poland, with one new Airbus A320, introducing new routes to Brussels Charleroi, Doncaster Sheffield and Glasgow up to three times weekly.

Frequencies on Wizz Air’s existing Lublin service to London Luton will also increase from five to seven weekly flights from 15 September, whilst from 21 December its Lublin–Oslo Torp route will be increased from three to four flights per week.

The carrier says the new aircraft based at Lublin will increase annual seat capacity from the airport by 115% as well as stimulating the local job market in aviation and tourism sectors, as consumers will have access to more low cost routes. 

Separately, the airline has announced a new route from Wroclaw to Stokholm Skavsta and the conversion of its Poznan–Milan Bergamo route to a year-round service, both effective from 15 September 2015. 

“The first Wizz flight took off from Poland in 2004 and over the past 11 years, we have earned the trust and loyalty of our Polish customers. Developing and adding regional airports to our network, we have constantly expanded our operations in Poland and today’s announcement once again underlines our commitment to the country,” explained György Abrán, CCO of Wizz Air. “We put Lublin on the map of aviation in 2012 and it will now become the 6th Polish airport where we establish base operations.”
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News : Inmarsat brings Global Xpress to China

Inmarsat brings Global Xpress to China

Inmarsat and Beijing Marine Communication Navigation Company (MCN) have signed four Value Added Reseller (VAR) agreements to bring the Global Xpress mobile broadband service to China’s commercial and public sector organisations, as well as the aviation industry.
Inmarsat and MCN’s relationship dates back to 1979. Inmarsat works exclusively through retail partners in China, including MCN, to provide mission critical communications services to some of China’s biggest multinational enterprises, including Air China.
“From emergency first responders to those delivering remote education (e-learning) services, Global Xpress will bring the benefits of seamless, superfast connectivity to every region in China, while ensuring that Chinese companies – from airlines to shipping fleets – can enjoy the same high capacity service wherever they are in the world,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat. “China is one of the biggest markets for Inmarsat’s mobile satellite-based voice and broadband services, delivering double digit growth in the last five years and we are confident that there will be significant demand for Global Xpress.”
Mr. Song Zhen, VP sales and marketing, MCN, said: “We are delighted to partner with Inmarsat in bringing Global Xpress services to the market and believe that, with its many humanitarian, economic and social benefits, Inmarsat’s superfast broadband service will prove highly popular in China.”
Meanwhile, Inmarsat continues its $1.6billion investment in the Global Xpress network. The second Global Xpress satellite was successfully launched on 1 February 2015.  The third satellite is scheduled for launch in Q2 2015 and global commercial services are on course to be introduced earlier in the second half of this year.
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News : Lumexis launches low cost in-seat IFE system

Lumexis launches low cost in-seat IFE system

Lumexis has launched its new wireless-streaming, in-seat in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, iPAX, which boasts a 1080p HD picture. 

iPAX can also incorporate a credit card reader and a high power 2.1A USB charging port.

“Some three quarters of single-aisle aircraft fly on short-to-medium haul routes that could never before benefit from embedded IFEC,” said Lumexis CEO, Doug Cline. "That paradigm is turned upside down with iPAX, truly the first cost-effective HD video tool for earning significant new ancillary revenue from offering a diversity of products and services.”

Lou Sharkey, president and COO of Lumexis, added, "The Lumexis team has established yet another benchmark in commercial aviation with this unique revenue-generating tool. Fully-installed, it costs less than a conventional overhead monitor system and weighs half as much, so the in revenue it generates drops directly to the bottom line."

Lumexis will be showcasing iPAX at AIX Hamburg, Germany, April 14-16.
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News : easyJet opens Schiphol base and announces further expansion

easyJet opens Schiphol base and announces further expansion

Following the opening of a new base at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, easyJet has announced plans to add a fourth aircraft to its fleet at the airport from October 2015 onwards.

The extra aircraft means another estimated 40 jobs will be created, bringing the total number of easyJet employees based at Schiphol and employed on Dutch contracts to around 160.

The base opening at Schiphol has enabled easyJet to introduce nine new destinations including Corfu, Dubrovnik, Hamburg, Ibiza, Nice, Olbia, Palermo, Toulouse, and Venice, bringing the total number of destinations from Amsterdam for the airline to 29. Earlier this week, the airline also announced that it will start flying from Amsterdam to Milan Linate airport, which the airline says is ideal for business passengers due to its close proximity to Milan’s city centre.

CEO of easyJet, Carolyn McCall, commented, “Opening a base at Schiphol is an important strategic move for easyJet. easyJet is already the second largest airline at Amsterdam – one of Europe's leading airports serving a large and growing aviation market with strong passenger demand both to and from the Dutch capital.

“After flying to and from Amsterdam for so many years, it is great that we are finally able to call the airport ‘home’ for easyJet pilots and crew. Schiphol was easyJet's first destination outside of the UK back in 1996 and today we fly to and from London 108 times per week – a brilliant example of the strength of easyJet's network and schedule.

“Around one third of passengers on our Amsterdam flights are travelling on business and we are sure our improved European network will make travel easier and more affordable,” McCall declared.
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News : Students aim to solve aural discomfort in-flight

Students aim to solve aural discomfort in-flight

As part of the Airbus ‘Fly Your ideas’ competition, a group of students from Rome La Sapienza University has devised AURES, a concept designed to prevent the symptoms of barotrauma; pain in the ears caused by the change in pressure as an aircraft ascends or descends.

Under the academic mentorship of Franco Mastroddi, the AURES team consists of Roberta Cumbo, Agnese Caprara, Andrea Facchinetti Forlani and Giuseppe Bucciaglia, who are studying for Masters degrees in aeronautical engineering, and Corinna Cerini, a space engineering student.

From left to right: Roberta Cumbo, Giuseppe Bucciaglia, Agnese Caprara, Andrea Facchinetti Forlani and Corinna Cerini

Caprara explained, “AURES is an acronym for ‘Avoiding Uncomfortable Rate for Ear Safety’ and spells out the Latin word for ‘ears.’” 

“The aim of our project is to deliver the right rate of pressure to an individual passenger in order to prevent the onset of pain and discomfort caused by barotrauma,” said Cumbo. “Our proposed solution is a device which is basically composed of a mask and headphones which allow the opening of the eustachian tube to form a pressure balance between the outer and the middle ear.”

“The system is composed by a fixed part (linked to an on-board system) and a portable device,” Cerini continues. “The components of the on-board system are: an air cylinder, to provide the air for passenger respiration; an electronic pressure regulator connected to a microprocessor, to guarantee the right gradient of pressure and the right flow rate during the descending phase of the flight; and a filter, to reuse part of the tube.

A diagram showing the fixed component of the AURES device

“The portable device components are the mask and headphones, which are used to recreate a condition in which the desired gradient of pressure is provided for the passenger.”

A diagram showing the portable component of the AURES device

When saw the above diagram, we asked the AURES team if they thought passengers would be hesitant to wear something cumbersome and unattractive. Bucciaglia responded, “The device is designed for people that suffer from serious discomfort in-flight. We conducted a survey with 550 people, of which 81% responded saying they’d be willing to tolerate wearing an AURES device if it would solve their problem.” 

Could it be used to create ancillary revenue as well as improving the passenger experience? As part of their research the students asked how much passengers feel the AURES device should cost. 65% of respondents felt it should be less than €20, which shows it’s something passengers would contemplate paying for. Furthermore, of the 26% which believed the device should be free, 27% said if it came to it, they would be also willing to pay.

“In terms of our images, they show a rough sketch representing the main components of the device,” concluded Facchinetti Forlani. “The real version will reduction of the dimension of each component as much as possible and the choice of materials and colour will make it more pleasing to the eye. We have a few ideas for the future development and improvement of AURES.”

Whilst it may not be aesthetically pleasing, it certainly seems to that the students have identified a gap in the passenger experience which is yet to be catered for.
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News : Imagik and Thompson Aerospace launch Allure IFE system

Imagik and Thompson Aerospace launch Allure IFE system

Imagik and Thompson Aerospace have joined forces to create Allure, which they claim is the lightest and most cost effective full in-flight entertainment (IFE) and infotainment offering on the market.

Using Thompson Aerospace’s 1Net private cloud technology, the Allure system features a 10.1” HD touch screen and QUATRO in-seat USB points. QUATRO can be installed as part of the IFE system or as an independent charging system for personal electronic devices (PEDs) to allow airlines greater flexibility.

“Entertainment solutions are big data solutions and with our partnership with Imagik allows us to focus on the data to provide the best value to airline customers,” said Thompson Aerospace CEO, Mark Thompson. “Our innovative 1Net Private Cloud technology enables the airline to tailor content solutions and enrich the infotainment experience similar to personal devices.”

Pablo Vadillo of Imagik stated: “With this agreement we can offer our customers almost every option they can look for in an IFE system, from movies, to e-commerce to global tracking.”

Thompson Aerospace will focus on security, data management and connectivity with its new CSUv2 server, which is the core of the 1NETv2 Airborne Local Area Network. The secure data solution is an ecosystem for managing all aircraft data while maintaining the capacity for streaming passenger content.

Thompson Aerospace is partnered with B/E Aerospace for the manufacturing of their 1Net server product line.

Allure will be showcased at AIX in Hamburg, Germany, April 14-16.
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News : Skycast Solutions launches portable IFE tablet with Alaska Airlines

Skycast Solutions launches portable IFE tablet with Alaska Airlines

Skycast Solutions has partnered with Microsoft to launch its Windows-based portable in-flight entertainment (IFE) tablet on most Alaska Airlines routes over 3.5 hours.

The tablet runs Windows embedded 8.1 Industry, with an Intel Atom processor offering one touch integration with Alaska’s onboard server, simultaneous multiple screen options and privacy and content protection settings. The tablet’s IFE content showcases early-window movies, TV, music, digital magazines and an XBOX Game Centre for a personalised IFE experience.

“We are thrilled to launch with Alaska Airlines,” said Bill Boyer, CEO of Skycast Solutions. “After almost a year in development, it’s been very rewarding to have a successful launch and greatcustomer feedback.”

“Our Windows in-flight entertainment tablet now flying on Alaska Airlines is the latest example of our passion for innovation in the airline space and we are pleased to partner with Skycast onthis programme,” said Greg Jones, director of hospitality and travel solutions at Microsoft. “We look forward to enhancing this product even further with Windows 10.”

The tablet is free for First Class cabins and available for rental to passengers flying economy.To date, over 7,000 tablets are now have been deployed onboard Alaska Airlines aircraft.
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News : Jazeera Airways reports FY2014 financial results

Jazeera Airways reports FY2014 financial results

Jazeera Airways Group has reported the full-year 2014 revenue of KD68.8 million, up 4.9% from 2013, and its pre-transaction net profit was KD17.4 million, up 4.4% from 2013.

However, as a result of the carrier’s fleet sale from its leasing business, the company’s bottom line for 2014 was affected by a one-time non-recurring loss leading to a net loss of KD2.88 million for the year.

Jazeera had a record 4Q performance last year earning a pre-transaction net profit of KD3.8 million, an increase of 47% from on 4Q13. 

As a result of the pre-fleet sale result, the board of directors recommended record dividends and payments to shareholders totalling up to KD50 million in the form of special dividends for 2014 and a share buyback programme.

Jazeera Airways Group chairman, Marwan Boodai, said, “Our divestment from the leasing business came at the right time for us and our buyers. Our fleet’s new owners are getting modern assets that are already placed with airlines across the world and generating revenue from day one. We are now focused on our star performer, Jazeera Airways, which is now more nimble, asset-light, cash-rich and debt-free to pursue new opportunities to serve our customers.”

The fleet sale transaction is reflected in 2014’s financial accounts that will be available next month. As a result of the fleet sale transaction, Jazeera Airways Group will receive KD148.5 million in cash. The proceeds will be used to settle all of the company’s outstanding debt, amounting to KD116.6 million as of end of 2014.
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News : Jambojet launches Q400 service

Jambojet launches Q400 service

Jambojet (the low-fare subsidiary of Kenya Airlines) has become the second African carrier this year to add service with a Bombardier Q400.

The aircraft, chartered from DAC Aviation, will fly to Jambojet’s three new destinations in Kenya’s coastal region – Lamu, Malindi and Ukunda – from the carrier’s base at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

“Launching operations with the technologically advanced Q400 aircraft will allow us to implement our growth strategy as we strive to open new destinations in the East African region to respond to the anticipated increased demand in business and leisure travel,” commented Willem Hondius, CEO, Jambojet.

“We are very familiar with Bombardier’s Q-Series turboprops and CRJ regional jets and can attest to their reliability and cost efficiencies since we have owned and successfully deployed several for many years,” said Warren Feschuk, DAC Aviation’s CEO. “The Q400 aircraft continues this tradition of regional air transport excellence and has proven its operational capability in Africa’s hot, topographically diverse landscape. It is an excellent asset in our portfolio and offers the most seats in its class. We are confident that it will meet and even exceed Jambojet’s operational requirements.”
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News : easyJet launches winter 2015 UK schedule

easyJet launches winter 2015 UK schedule

easyJet has announced that over 78,000 flights are set to take place to and from the UK between 25 October 2015 and 28 February 2016 as part of its winter schedule this year, providing 13,045,080 million seats. 
“We’re pleased to be putting winter 2015 on sale for our passengers today, allowing them to book early and take advantage of our lowest fares to the ski resorts as well as to the cities and beaches across Europe,” remarked Sophie Dekkers, easyJet’s UK director. “With our record 750+ routes on sale, passengers have more choice than ever on where to spend their winter.” 
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News : Arik puts 1st three-abreast business class CRJ1000 into service

Arik puts 1st three-abreast business class CRJ1000 into service

Arik Air has put the first Bombardier CRJ1000 NextGen aircraft configured with three-abreast business class seating into operation in an attempt to increase network service on its most popular business routes in West Africa.

Michael Arumemi-Ikhide, group CEO of Arik Air, claimed, “Configured to offer the very best inflight comfort and style for our passengers with 10 premier, three-abreast, business-class seats and 81 economy-class seats, the CRJ1000 NextGen aircraft also provides a high degree of operational flexibility to enhance our service, with a reduced environmental footprint to promote greener, more sustainable aviation.

“Deployed to increase frequencies between our more popular business routes from daily to twice-daily flights, we are also using the aircraft to launch a third daily flight on our popular Lagos to Accra service.”
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News : bmi regional launches three routes from new Munich base

bmi regional launches three routes from new Munich base

bmi regional has opened a new base at Munich Airport which has seen the carrier move to Terminal 2 to commence flights to Rotterdam in The Netherlands, Liege in Belgium, and Bern in Switzerland up to three times a day.

The airline is operating these new services with two based Embraer ERJ 145s in codeshare with Lufthansa, meaning joint BM and LH flight numbers. This strengthens bmi regional’s network presence in Munich with Lufthansa as the airline also flies twice a day from Bristol to the Bavarian capital in partnership with the German carrier.

Peter Simpson, CEO of bmi regional, stated, “The new base in Munich and the three new routes represent a significant step forward for bmi regional. Our experience with Munich from Bristol has shown that the airport is both a great destination and a major hub with excellent connection opportunities.

bmi regional notes the flights have been timed to enable seamless onward connections via Lufthansa’s Munich network of over 200 global destinations.
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