What you should know about Starling and Qest before you head to Hamburg

About seven weeks ago this blog revealed that the new antenna being offered under a partnership between EMS Technologies and Israel’s Starling Advanced Communication is a mature product. I also believe I suggested you stay tuned to Runway Girl for more information. Don’t say I didn’t keep my word but you can, of course, call me a little bit late if you’d like.

A few days before the Aircraft Interiors Expo is set to take place in Hamburg, Starling VP marketing and sales Jacob Keret has revealed to me that the EMS/Starling team is very close to announcing its first customer for their ultra-fast, ultra-lightweight (45lb/20kg) Ku-band airborne antenna system that will be targeted at the US commercial airline market. You can hear me chat about it here – on an IAG podcast today.

“We are really expecting that to materialize in the next month or so,” says Keret. He adds: “We are progressing quite rapidly actually with EMS. We are replying to several RFPs and RFIs of US-based companies.”


An announcement regarding EMS/Starling’s first customer could be made in Hamburg or shortly thereafter. But, for the record, Starling feels “very, very comfortable with the partnership with EMS and we’re just moving forward,” says Keret. He also assures that Starling is financially “on solid ground”.

The EMS/Starling partnership has a number of competitors, but one of them, German firm Qest – a unit of automotive systems supplier Draxlmaier Group – had some interesting news today. As I reported for Flight premium news service Air Transport Intelligence, Qest will bring to market a bi-directional aeronautical antenna to support Ku-band services and ensure it can “immediately” meet current requirements of satellite operators.

Qest last year unveiled a new airborne broadband antenna that can enable both Ku-band and L-band services. By combining Ku-band and L-band in one integrated system, a “hybrid data link can be established”, resulting in “unprecedented connectivity options and maximum flexibility for owners and operators”, said the firm.

While the hybrid concept will not be abandoned it “entails new tasks for the satellite service operators, who will have yet to realize, amongst others, new concepts for a mixed signal processing in Ku- and L-band”, notes the firm.

In order “to be able to offer products that can immediately be used within existing satellite services, Qest will now also develop bi-directional antennas for Ku-band”.

Qest’s announcement, says Starling’s Keret, shows just how much the Ku-band market is progressing. Having “mature technology and a mature product with EMS in the market” will give the EMS/Starling team a “competitive edge”, he says. Starling is also offering its Mijet Ku-band antenna, and has secured an undisclosed customer, as previously announced here.

Yes, I’ve got a request into Qest for an interview. Stay tuned :)

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3 Responses to What you should know about Starling and Qest before you head to Hamburg

  1. dave July 24, 2008 at 4:16 pm #

    MaryK Just found your blog. Interesting.. I am particularly interested in your LiveTV comments..

    In early Feb. you blogged that Starling had linked up with EMS suggesting LiveTV as a potential customer. But a month later this came out…
    March 03, 2008
    LiveTV awarded a $20.1 million multi-year contract to KVH Industries to design, develop and build DirecTV satellite antennas for narrow-bodied commercial aircraft. Other terms of the agreement weren’t released. The pact runs more than two years and the first products will be available by year- end, a KVH spokesman said.

    So isn’t the big story here not that Starling is now dancing with EMS but that EMS lost an 8 year antenna relationship with LiveTV??

    The whys and wherefores of that might make an interesting blog topic? Who is this KVH?? They are saying these antennas will start being installed in Continental’s planes early in 2009.


  2. Steve gaynes July 29, 2008 at 9:36 am #


    Hello, Mary or Adam, Had a comment on the airline industry today in regard to a conference. Would welcome your feedback or interest. Best. Steve Gaynes

    Flying today is a nightmare for business and leisure travelers! It’s not enough that they’re saddled with soaring fuel costs, horrific security and departure experiences and cramped, often dirty airliners. Worse yet, how about passengers who may be unpredictable, unpleasant or even more extreme? We know you’re covering these areas regularly, but we’ve planned a bold conference for September– Airline Interiors — The Americas “Flying in the 21st Century”—to address how airlines must respond to their most precious cargo—passengers. No surprise! People still have to fly. But how the airlines can make cabin environments — temperatures, lighting and air, along with added security more welcoming? This aggressive conference will offer that focus. Is there an opportunity on your blog to discuss these challenges?

  3. steve Gaynes July 29, 2008 at 9:42 am #

    The first US Airline Interiors Expo (AIX Americas — “Flying in the 21st Century” in Long Beach, CA from September 9 — 11, 2008 and sponsored by Reed Exhibitions, will also deal with some hard hitting issues concerning passenger comfort and safety and will include exhibits like the Starling exhibit.

    For more information, and especially media interest, please contact me at sgaynes@yahoo.com or 203-767-6645

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