Thales’s in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) division has opened a new facility near London Heathrow Airport. The new premises will serve as the base for its sales and marketing operations in the UK and Ireland, as well as for its maintenance, repair and onboard services team covering Europe and Africa.
Business aircraft operators are beginning to follow the growing ranks of airlines that provide passengers with on-board connectivity for telephony, message and Internet-access services. Indeed, this sector now accounts for about 10 percent of Airbus/SITA joint venture OnAir’s 45 aviation customers, although not all clients have yet deployed the service.
Private aircraft makeover specialist Flying Colours is embarking on what may well be the company’s most ambitious project. Known for its Execliner renovations, which turn Bombardier’s CRJ family of regional airliners into well-appointed business jets (also known as Challenger 850s), the Canadian cabin completions specialist has begun work on what it describes as its first “fully loaded” CRJ200 conversion.
Nextant Aerospace has been awarded several new supplemental type certificates for the 400XT, including STCs for the Rockwell Collins Venue in-flight entertainment system and the Aircell Axxess cabin communication system featuring high-speed wireless Internet connectivity and dual-channel satellite phone service. Nextant also received STCs for additional avionics options, many of which help to pave the way for final certification by the EASA.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport-based Constant Aviation has completed an STC for Aircell’s Gogo Biz in-flight Internet and Wi-Fi system in the Phenom 300. It is the first such approval for the Phenom 300 and includes a satellite phone.
With support from StandardAero’s Springfield, Ill. completion facility, Associated Air Center of Love Field, Texas, has won a supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation of an Aircell ATG 5000 wireless Internet package on a Boeing 757-200.
“In-flight connectivity is critical to manage the lightning-fast pace under which today’s global businesses operate,” said Associated v-p and general manager Troy Jonas.
OnAir is working on a supplementary type certificate for the Dassault Falcon 7X, which will be the first purpose-built business jet to receive the on-board cell phone service specialist’s system. So far, the system had been installed only in “bizliners,” such as Boeing BBJs or Airbus ACJs.
Air Arabia has selected the Rockwell Collins dPAVES in-flight entertainment (IFE) system for 44 Airbus A320 aircraft, becoming the first airline in the Middle East to order the system.
In a media conference yesterday here at the NBAA convention, Flight Display Systems explained carefully that cabin electronics is sexy, “in spite of the messy nature of the retrofit business.”
Row 44 has received Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval to provide broadband connectivity on transatlantic flights, using the T11N North Atlantic oceanic coverage satellite. “This license creates complete seamlessness for Row 44’s broadband across the Atlantic,” said chief commercial officer Howard Lefkowitz.