Some gems from Vancouver

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Lots of little gems came out of last week’s Inmarsat Aeronautical Conference in Vancouver. And some of them can be found on Flight Global’s new IFE&C web channel, including a piece about IMDC’s (somewhat dire) forecast for IFE expenditure this year; an update on Inmarsat’s aeronautical business and Thales’ revelation about TopConnect flight tests on a McDonnell Douglas DC-9.

I also posted a blog about Rockwell Collins’ Ku-band considerations for the commercial air transport sector. But I think the following info is also noteworthy.

    • As you may be aware, the EC recently selected Inmarsat and Solaris to provide mobile satellite services across Europe. The license is specific to Europe but as Inmarsat looks at its next generation I-5 satellites, S-band is something to look at.
    • Inmarsat says there is no new news “at this time” to report about Harbinger’s strategic interest in acquiring Inmarsat.
    • SwiftBroadband will eventually support safety services (but please don’t ask me to explain how this will work…I’m waiting for Inmarsat aeronautical product and safety services manager Gary Colledge’s speech to be made available online before tackling that topic)
    • Boeing says it is actively looking at developing common wireless infrasMary V 011.jpgtructure for its aircraft portfolio. For example, the 787 architecture leverages Ethernet quite a bit. Boeing has taken that and moved it to the 747-8 programme. The company is aware that it needs “to be able to be able to accommodate different service providers to give airlines true choice”.
    • IMDC senior analyst Robert Smith (to the right) says Aircell “has a very finite potential market and with the deals they’ve made [in North America] they appear very close to reaching that finite market”. (However, I should point out that Aircell is working on a hybrid solution - to support ATG in North America and Ku-band connectivity on overseas flights.) Here is a slide from Smith’s presentation:
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    • Installs of OnAir’s SwiftBroadband-supported mobile connectivity service are performed during standard light C-checks and take approximately three days to complete. ECS, which is spearheading the install cert process, says it knows that Ryanair’s trial of OnAir will be short-lived “if it doesn’t produce revenue results for them”Mary V 017.jpg. Thus far, however, the prognosis is good, with Ryanair recently applauding the service.

In an unrelated aside, Delta Air Lines has issued an update about its Gogo equipage.

The carrier says that nearly 49% of its pre-Northwest merger fleet is now equipped with the Aircell system (that’s 157 aircraft). Nice to see Delta driving fast forward on this one! Isn’t this a funky car from Vancouver? Love it!

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