APEX 2016: Airbus pushes out connectivity

Connectivity is the buzzword for Airbus at this year’s EXPO, as it showcases its latest cabin innovations.

Addressing the media, Ingo Wuggetzer VP cabin marketing at Airbus presented the company’s vision for The Connected Cabin of the Future.

From a base level of zero in 2007, there are now approximately 74 airlines with onboard connectivity: a response to the 55-65% of passengers who value onboard Wi-Fi as one key criteria to choose an airline.

With industry data suggesting that there will be 100% smartphone penetration in the millennial market in the next two-three years, Airbus has answered with the only digital native aircraft 100% with in-flight connectivity – the A350XW. The aircraft offers customers a choice of suppliers – Panasonic’s Global Communication Suite (GCS) selected Ka-Band Broadband; the Ka-Band TopConnect from Thales and Zodiac’s RAVE Broadband.

Airbus also announced the first flight-test of Airbus’ new standard High-Bandwidth-Connectivity architecture on an A330.

This is the industry’s first such platform to be flight demonstrated that will soon allow airline customers to choose from the range of new high-throughput satellite technologies such as Ka-Band, SwiftBroadband ‘SBB’ and Ku-Band, and be able to do so independently from airlines’ choices of IFE supplier. In turn, this means that passengers and crews on Airbus aircraft can be just as ‘connected’ in the air throughout their entire flight, as they are on the ground. The new HBC platform will be rolled-out from mid-2017 onwards and will rapidly become available across Airbus aircraft families.

Airbus is also presenting its interactive Airspace experience, which uses the latest HTC ‘Vive’ technology so that visitors can immerse themselves in our award-winning Airspace cabins. In addition, all our aircraft cabins – encompassing the A320, A330neo, A350 and A380 – will be presented in full 3D using Samsung VR headsets.

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