Rockwell Collins’ stars trek to London with future technologies

Rockwell Collins rolled out the big guns from its fledgling Information Management Services arm in London yesterday.Announced in April as the new division incorporating recently acquired ARINC, it is evident that the Cedar Rapids, Iowa headquartered firm has wasted no time in developing an all-new digital services division.Mike DiGeorge (pictured) head of the international and global airports division said, “Our focus is on protecting and growing core business. We see our Cabin Connect business integrating with airports and other digi business. We have a new focus on integration.”He added that the firm had been ‘under invested’ in this regard under the previous ownership and was now looking to “accelerate its air to ground and ground to ground communications.”As promised this Spring, the company is focusing its capabilities on innovation with a newly restructured senior management team, which has its own HQ in Annapolis, Maryland. The firm said, “We are focused on realising synergies in all aspects of the business but importantly customers are telling us they appreciate the fact they can get more services and technology from a single source.”Rockwell promised that it sees, “terrific opportunities for further international growth,” especially in what it dubs “future connectivity” – in the flight deck and the cabin, “where we aim to deliver more aircraft apps and content.” As Rockwell Collins is now an Inmarsat GX services reseller, it is offering several add-ons to its in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) services. Global Xpress is set to be globally available by the end of the first half of 2015, and is slated to bring connectivity speeds of up to 50Mbps virtually everywhere in the world – according to both Rockwell and Inmarsat. Should it work as promised, it will bring other value adds, enabling IFE to add real time TV, video on demand and standard email and web browsing. GX Aviation will be the only global commercial Ka-band network, providing a consistent service across the world.This adds to the news at APEX earlier this month, where the firm announced enhancements for ARINC Cabin Connect that will enable passengers around the world to use mobile phones to send and receive SMS text messages and, where approved by aviation authorities, make voice calls over the internet while in-flight. The firm’s ARINC Direct business aviation portfolio of products and services continues to grow and is supporting over 3,500 tails around the world every day. According to Andy Hubbard, there will be new announcements at NBAA next month. Hubbard says, “Our ARINC Direct portfolio of services will be a prominent feature of the Rockwell Collins exhibit.”Such services include: complex multi-leg fuel planning via its new ‘tankering’ planning function. Customers will be able to quickly decide whether or not they should carry more fuel, which in itself has a cost of carriage, or choose to use just what they need to travel to a destination. The aim is to reduce the overall aircraft fuel bill over time by better managing the cost of filling up for the next leg. This can be quite a low marginal gain but easing the capability to do this will add up to quite substantial savings for customers over time. It is also offering multi-country Advanced Passenger Information System filing. Until recently only the USA required an electronic APIS submission for business aviation flights. ARINC Direct provided a solution that customers have used since the outset, which both meets US requirements and enables any operator via an NBAA managed site. It can now offer a similar solution to other countries. The main benefits of this are the validation of the data provided for multiple countries and the ease of management of the passenger manifest with its connection to the actual flight plan. Passenger data is securely stored and managed by the operator for easy addition to a manifest of crew and passengers. Document details including expiry dates help to properly manage the passenger and prevent embarrassing oversights for important trips. Border crossing points and estimated landing times are automatically added based on the flight plan calculation too to provide a seamless and accurate transfer of required data to the relevant authorities.The firm is also offering extra capabilities with its iPad App, which now offers stand-alone weight and balance and aircraft performance calculations without the need to be online. It pulls existing Weight and Balance performance data for each leg of the journey flown while the view/save option puts the document on to the leg (via document management function), recording to website/iCloud when connected for record keeping. Launched in 2012, its free App, available from the Apple Store can receive information from ARINC Direct that was previously only available via aircraft avionics. Lastly the new management team is Mike DiGeorge, former head of the IMS Asia Pacific business, who now leads the International and Global Airports Division from the UK, and he reports directly to Jeff Standerski who oversees the entire Information Management Services division. Reporting to Mike are Heament Kurian, managing director, Asia Pacific, Andy Hubbard, MD for EMEA, Chris Forrest, staff vice president global airports, and Dan Pendergast Sr. director, e-enabled programs.Liz Moscrop, Inflight/Inflight-Online.comLondon, UK

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