The annual Geneva gathering of the Business Aviation world known as EBACE is once again underway. The event is a showcase for aircraft manufactures and third party suppliers to highlight their new offerings and features for the private jet travel industry. This year’s show includes incremental updates in the inflight connectivity and entertainment segment, as well as fun new interiors and even progress towards sustainability.
Viasat announced receipt of STC(s) for its Ka-band Global Aero Terminal 5510 on super midsize cabin business jets. The company also indicated that the first installation is complete, with “several additional installations underway.” Exactly which aircraft types are getting the high-speed wifi service remains unclear, however. The company is holding back on those details pending future announcements in conjunction with the aircraft manufacturer OEMs. Also of note, the OEMs will hold the STCs, not Viasat.
Inmarsat increased the speed and capacity available to customers of its Jet ConneX (JX) business aviation inflight broadband wifi solution. The new “JX-Pro” package delivers unlimited bandwidth and a higher top speed compared to the prior package iterations. The new package is what Kai Tang, Senior Vice President of Channel at Inmarsat Aviation, describes as an evolution of the company’s offerings, responding to market demands. The increase in bandwidth to the aircraft will be supported by additional Ka-band payload launches later in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Gogo is integrating flight positioning data into the ForeFlight app for both flight deck and passenger applications. The GPS positioning details are transferred from the aircraft flight management system to the inflight wifi network. from there ForeFlight can receive the latitude, longitude and altitude, integrating it into the travel experience. The IFC-integrated position data allows for this data sharing without adding dedicated GPS hardware on the planes.
Lufthansa Technik has grand plans for the Airbus A220. The company introduced SkyRetreat, a concept design for a private jet version of the smallest member of the Airbus family. The A220 BizAv cabin interior, as designed by Lufthansa Technik calls for a reduction to the essential, thereby cleverly and discreetly integrating latest cabin technologies, from 4K roll-up displays and smart touch surfaces to a totally unique Observation Lounge to be revealed in the coming months. Expect to see a full version of this design at the Monaco Yacht Show later this summer.
The custom A220 interior option introduction times nicely with this week’s announcement from Airbus that the type will see a two tonne increase in maximum take-off weight, translating into a 450 nautical mile range increase.
Embraer made news this week in with its new Praetor 600. The type received FAA and EASA certification, adding to the original Brazilian certificate received last month. The company and aircraft are also helping to drive sustainability efforts in the industry.
The Praetor 600 crossed the Atlantic on a 20% blend of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel. Sustainable fuel availability in volume remains a challenge, but that is slowly changing. Sweden is leading that effort thanks to a recent partnership between Neste and Air BP.