28.02.2012 | Egyptair optimizes network planning by adopting NetLine/Plan from Lufthansa Systems
In pursuit for achieving the highest network planning revenues and customer satisfaction, Egyptair has opted for NetLine/Plan, Lufthansa Systems’ solution to manage the route network. This enables the national airline of Egypt to raise the revenue and earnings potential of its network and increase profitability by up to five percent. With the modern technology and user-friendly architecture of NetLine/Plan, Egyptair can adapt its schedules to market demand. NetLine/Plan generates optimal schedules by simulating new connections and forecasting passenger flows, costs and revenues. This will make it possible for the airline to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the network and act accordingly.
NetLine/Plan gives Egyptair the ability to modify its flight plans in order to increase the overall capacity utilization of its aircraft. The airline can also generate additional demand by offering optimized transfer connections and codeshare flights. Finally, the solution offers significant economic benefits through increased revenues and improved load factors. More than 50 airlines around the world have already opted for a NetLine solution. “Egyptair is looking towards applying the best solutions for network planning optimization. We are looking for innovative ways for improving profitability and reduce operational costs” Captain Ayman Nasr, Egyptair Airlines Chairman & CEO commented. “Our positive experience with solutions from Lufthansa Systems encouraged us to opt for a NetLine product to optimize our network planning. NetLine/Plan gives us even better control over our growing route network and our cooperation with partner airlines,” says Yasser Elramly, Vice President Commercial at Egyptair from his side.
“With Egyptair we can fully implement the integration of several systems to optimize the overall benefit. NetLine/Plan and the SchedConnect codeshare management system already being used by Egyptair are part of our Integrated Commercial Platform (ICP) that covers all of an airline’s network and revenue management processes.” explains Peter Ahnert, Senior Vice President Regional Management Middle East and Africa at Lufthansa Systems. Besides these planning solutions, Egyptair is also already using the Sirax AirFinance platform and the Lido/Flight flight planning solution.
24.02.2012 | JAL Introduces Japan-Made Cheese Onboard International Flights
Following the recent renewal of its onboard wine list last month, Japan Airlines (JAL) will offer a new lineup of Japanese cheese for First and Executive Class customers on select international routes from March 1, 2012.
JAL has been offering assortments of quality cheese from around the world for its meal service to premium customers onboard its international flights. From March, JAL would like to invite its customers traveling in First and Executive Class to discover the uniqueness of Japanese cheese and through it, also the richness of Japanese culture.
Japan has many established dairy farms throughout the country, notably in Hokkaido with its cool climate and vast farmlands, and also where the early history of cheese-making in Japan began some 140 years ago. As this initially-European culinary culture gradually began to find its place among the Japanese people, production of cheese in the country also started taking root mainly with pasteurized milk used to create mild-flavored cheese. Today, to satisfy a more diverse palate for all kinds of cheese, Japan produces a wide variety of world-class quality.
“We are constantly striving to provide our customers with a refreshingly good experience whenever they fly with JAL,” said Yumi Yokoyama, lead cabin attendant in JAL’s Product and Service Strategy division who is also a certified Cheese Sommelier*1 from the Cheese Professional Association of Japan. “At the same time, as an airline established in Japan, we hope to promote the excellence of Japanese cheese to our customers and have thus carefully selected a platter of locally-produced cheese for their in-flight dining pleasure.”
An assortment of 16 types of cheese have been chosen for months up to August – offering five types in First Class and three in Executive, with a change in selection at the end of May. (See list of cheese, dates available and applicable routes below.)
In First Class, customers can also choose to simply enjoy the rich flavor of the different types of cheese available, or savor a specific type with a complementing snack.
24.02.2012 | JAL Upgrades Domestic Flight Booking Site, Adds “Lowest Price Search” Function
Japan Airlines (JAL) today renewed its English homepage (http://www.jal.co.jp/en/), with upgrades focused on improving the usability of JAL’s online domestic flight reservations website for greater customer convenience.
Lowest Price Search Function
With the addition of a lowest price search function, customers can now more easily locate the cheapest fare for their desired itinerary. The best price is identified by the system based on the customer’s selected routing and date of travel. All available flights for the specified sector and departure day will be displayed with an indication of the price difference compared to the lowest fare.
23.02.2012 | Transasia Airways selects Inflight Productions for its Audio and Movie Content Offering
Inflight Productions (IFP), the market-leading in-flight service provider specialized in engaging passengers through tailored content, has been selected by TransAsia Airways to provide the airline’s in-flight entertainment audio and movie offering.
IFP worked closely with TransAsia to provide content including monthly Hollywood movie updates and a selection of customized audio programs featuring local, regional and international music for the airline’s Taipei-Singapore route.
“We are delighted to work with TransAsia on their in-flight entertainment offering,” said Ricky Jardine, Director of Inflight Productions’ Singapore Office. “By supporting the airline with its IFE selection, we aim to offer value and a personalized service focused on engaging TransAsia passengers with relevant and customized content.
“Inflight Productions was a clear choice for our IFE requirements,” explained Annie Chiu, Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Communication Division at TransAsia. “In July 2011, we launched the content upgrade for our Taipei to Singapore route and the feedback has been very positive. We are also working closely with IFP on our new A330 fleets which will be equipped with full ex2 IFE systems and we look forward to creating an even more exciting experience for our passengers in the sky.”
In the last two years alone, TransAsia Airways has placed orders for twenty new aircraft including two large A330-300planes due to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2012, for which Inflight Productions has been selected as TransAsia Airways’ content service provider of choice.
22.02.2012 | British Airways: Fuel Efficiency Drive Saves a Packet
British Airways saved enough fuel to power 550 flights from Heathrow to New York last year following the introduction of an online suggestion box for staff.
More than 200 ideas were submitted by pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground staff as to how the airline could make further progress towards reducing emissions and cutting fuel bills.
Some of the more unusual suggestions included replacing glass with plastic wine bottles, reducing the amount of water carried in aircraft water tanks, and perhaps most unusually, the descaling of toilet pipes on the Boeing 747 and 777 fleets. Not only did this save some £600,000 as a result of reduced weight, it also improved the performance of the toilets.
The airline has also employed more conventional methods such as reducing the use of auxiliary power units, single engine taxiing and performance improvement packages on more than 40 Boeing 777 aircraft. In total the savings were worth over £20 million.
Jonathon Counsell, head of environment at British Airways, said: “This really has been a team effort. It goes to show that small changes here and there can add up to significant savings. Not only does this help us to reduce our environmental impact, it also saves us money.”
British Airways is already working on more projects to save fuel in 2012, including the use of new, lightweight catering trolleys, headsets and cargo containers.
The airline has also extended a trial of tripleO, a special paint coating that improves aerodynamics and leads to greater fuel efficiency. A Boeing 777 is to be coated, following a successful trial of a smaller Airbus A318.
21.02.2012 | IFE Services celebrates 20th anniversary
Leading inflight entertainment (IFE) content service provider, IFE Services, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
The company’s first client has been serviced since 1992 with innovative in-flight entertainment including movies, TV programmes and music. Since then, IFE Services has grown to become one of the world’s leading global providers of great value entertainment content to airlines. Clients include South African Airways, LAN Airlines, bmi and Singapore Airlines. Cruise line clients include Royal Caribbean and P&O.
As well as supplying entertainment content for embedded and wireless IFE systems on board aircraft, the company provides portable inflight entertainment solutions such as the iPad and Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP). IFE Services also produces original productions for airlines such as safety films, promotional videos, entertainment guides and GUI design and development.
IFE Services’ head offices are near Manchester in the UK. The company has a state-of-the-art encoding lab in Irvine, California and operations in Madrid, Singapore, Santiago and Johannesburg to support its growing client base – 12 new airline accounts were won in 2011.
“We’re very proud to have reached this milestone in the in-flight entertainment industry,” said Andy McEwan, CEO of IFE Services. “There are many factors that can be attributed to our success over the years but underlying them all is an unwavering commitment to our clients’ needs. It’s a real testament to our team that we have not only reached two decades in business but are now thriving in new markets as we continue to provide airlines with great value IFE packages.”
For more information about IFE Services visit: www.ifeservices.com
16.02.2012 | Pogo brings fun to flying with Gogo in-air multimedia platform
Fliers, fasten your seatbelts for some friendly competition. Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) today announced that Pogo™, its popular online gaming destination, will make three of its most popular games available for free on Gogo’s new in-air multimedia platform, which is currently live on all Gogo equipped Alaska Airlines and select Delta Air Lines flights. With just a few quick clicks, these games are now at passengers’ fingertips—even when they’re in the air. Pogo is the first game provider to provide free entertainment on Gogo’s in-air multimedia platform.
As the first ever game content provider on Gogo’s multimedia platform, Pogo will offer airline passengers three fun-filled games, including First Class Solitaire, MONOPOLY® and Mahjong Safari—for free. Passengers who want to play more games on Pogo.com can access the site through Gogo’s in-air Internet service, and log-in using their Pogo account. Passengers can purchase a segment pass to access the Internet through Gogo for anywhere between $1.95 and $14.95 depending on the length of the flight. Now millions of new customers will be able to discover the fun of Pogo games, and loyal Pogo players won’t have to miss a moment of their Pogo playing time when they travel.
“Pogo games offer the perfect distraction for the plane,” says Beatrice Spaine, Vice President, Publishing Pogo at Electronic Arts. “Sometimes you just need five minutes of fun to improve your mood on a long flight. Our games are easy enough to pick up and play and entertaining enough to keep you seated for an entire cross-country flight.”
“Our new platform represents the convergence of in-flight connectivity and in-flight entertainment; and we’re helping our airline partners enable a richer, more compelling in-flight experience,” said Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo’s chief marketing officer. “By working with Pogo.com, we are excited to offer another exciting entertainment option at 30,000 feet.”
16.02.2012 | Eurowings selects Lufthansa Systems for data center operations and SAP application management
German regional airline Eurowings has selected Lufthansa Systems to provide data center operations and SAP application management and hosting. The operation of the data center comprises around ten applications that are vital to its flight operations and includes a virtualization degree of a 100 per cent. Both companies recently signed an outsourcing contract for five years. The migration from the Eurowings data center will be completed within an exceptionally short period of five months.
“For this major outsourcing project we were looking for an experienced partner who is close to us so we can easily manage the handover of our data center operations as well as SAP application management”, said Thomas Muth, Vice President Information Technology of Eurowings. “The expertise in running critical airline applications as well as our long-standing and trustful business relationship has been another important aspect for our decision.”
Eurowings has been a customer of Lufthansa Systems since 2006, when it picked the Lido/RouteManual charting solution for its flight operations. Today the airline entirely relies on IT from Lufthansa Systems for its flight operations. It uses a broad range of solutions from the Lido family of products including Lido/Flight, the Lido/FlightBag EFB solutions, the Lido/eRouteManual electronic navigation charts plus NetLine/Sched, NetLine/Crew and NetLine/Ops for network planning, crew management and flight operations.
“We are proud that Eurowings has entrusted Lufthansa Systems with the operation of their core IT systems”, says Martin Rüschen, Senior Vice President Key Account Management Lufthansa Group Airlines at Lufthansa Systems. “By getting critical applications and having them operated in the data center by the same provider Eurowings achieves sizable technical and administrative synergies.”
Lufthansa Systems has extensive experience in IT outsourcing for airlines as well as an increasing number of customers from a wide variety of industries, who as well benefit from the high standards of quality, availability and data security which are essential for the airline industry. Lufthansa Systems manages and maintains the systems of its customers at its own data centers in Germany, Great Britain, the U.S. and Singapore. The largest of them is the data center at the company’s headquarters in Kelsterbach, which is among the most powerful and modern in Europe.
Eurowings is a member of the Lufthansa Regional group of airlines, headquartered at Düsseldorf airport. It operates a modern fleet of 23 Bombardier CRJ900s to destinations throughout Europe. Founded in 1993, Eurowings has received a number of industry awards including “Airline of the Year” by the European Regions Airline Association.
15.02.2012 | Pacific Royale Airways Selects Lumexis FTTS IFE
Tarun Trikha, Chairman and Samudra Sukardi, President of Pacific Royale Airways, today joined Lumexis® CEO Doug Cline in announcing the airline’s selection of Lumexis’ cutting-edge FTTS® (Fiber-To-The-Screen®) technology, to begin building out its fleet of A320 aircraft with five installations in 2012.
“Continuing our plan to build the leading full service carrier in the region, Pacific Royale Airways is committed to providing all our passengers with a truly superior in-flight experience,” said Chairman Trikha.
“After reviewing and assessing the latest available In-Flight Entertainment /Communication (IFEC) products, we determined that only Lumexis’ Fiber-To-The-Screen (FTTS) IFE offered the full range of advanced passenger services and entertainment we required, especially its unique full AVOD HDTV delivery to every passenger,” added Pacific Royale’s President Sukardi.
“Lumexis is delighted to partner with such an innovative young carrier as Pacific Royale Airways,” Cline added. “As the launch customer for the Pacific Region, the company demanded not only unparalleled, leading-edge performance, but most importantly, the highest reliability to assure uninterrupted service and full passenger satisfaction. The airline management’s emphasis on truly superior in-flight service sets the carrier apart from its competitors.”
As Cline explained further, “FTTS has not only quickly earned a reputation for high seat availability, its rich offering of cabin applications and passenger services today is almost unbounded in future growth of features.”
13.02.2012 | IMG Media and Panasonic Launch Live 24-Hour In-Flight Sports Channel
IMG Media, part of IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company, has teamed up with electronics giant Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), the world leader in state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment and communication (IFEC) systems, to launch the first-ever live global premium 24-hour sports channel – SPORT 24 – for airline passengers from this week.
The ground-breaking service, which is available through Panasonic’s eXTV service, is being broadcast via satellite to specially-equipped Gulf Air planes and feature live coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, The Barclays Premier League, and Bundesliga, The Masters, The Open Championship and the Ryder Cup, Formula 1, Roland Garros and the Australian Open.
The channel will also be available to cruise liners from March 1 with Norwegian Cruise Liners (NCL) being the first operator to broadcast SPORT 24 on selected vessels.
There are ongoing discussions with a number of other airlines interested in taking the service and Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national airline, is initially offering Sport 24 on its ‘Sky Hub’ which is currently available on A330 aircraft that fly long-haul and on some intra-Gulf routes including its destinations to Europe, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jeddah, Manila, Lahore, Islamabad.
Panasonic’s eXTV television network uses the company’s eXConnect in-flight Ku-band communications service, including the same Ku antenna and onboard components, to deliver high-quality, television programming to passengers during their flight. It provides live, uninterrupted content to aircraft flying all over the world, even over oceans.
IMG Media, who already produce a 24-hour Premier League content service for the League’s overseas broadcasters, has acquired the rights to the various sporting events and programming and will be producing the content within its London production facility.
Richard Wise, Senior Vice President, IMG Media, said: ““Sport 24 will revolutionise the way passengers watch live sports on Airlines and Cruise Ships. For the first time ever viewers will be able to enjoy the greatest sporting events live while travelling on business or holidaying abroad. Sport fans will no longer have to miss their favourite team, or event on this new dedicated sports channel.”
David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communication Services with Panasonic Avionics Corporation said, “The launch of the Sport 24 channel is a momentous occasion not only for Panasonic’s eXTV service but for all of the in-flight market. The Sport 24 channel represents a major advancement in the in-flight experience for passengers all over the world. We are excited to be working with IMG and to have Gulf Air as our launch customer. After all, there’s nothing quite like watching the world’s top sporting events like the Olympics, live, on an aircraft, anywhere in the world.”
Gulf Air Senior Manager of In-Flight Entertainment & Communications, Mr. Mohamad El Assaad said: “Following the successful launch of our ‘Sky Hub’ we are now bringing our customers, more live channels and more programs; the Sport 24 channel, with an exceptional array of live action is the latest in our offerings. Now our customers onboard can watch their favorite sports stars live at 35000 feet with all exhilaration and enthusiasm.”
13.02.2012 | PME and Warner Bros. Pictures Domestic Sign 4-Year Agreement
Post Modern Edit, LLC (PME) and Warner Bros. Pictures Domestic are pleased to announce that they have agreed to renew their existing agreement for a subsequent four-year term. Under this agreement, PME handles all technical work for Warner Bros’. non-theatrical markets. Amir Samnani, Managing Partner and COO fo PME, said, “We are honored and proud to have such an exceptional and longstanding relationship with Warner Bros. We look forward to continuing to assist the Warner Bros. team in providing the highest quality services to their airline and other non-theatrical customers in tune with the changing needs of the IFE industry.”
09.02.2012 | New version of Lido/eRouteManual for even higher usability in the cockpit
Lufthansa Systems has unveiled a new version of its Lido/eRouteManual electronic navigation charts. The latest release features enhanced functions for displaying and configuring the charts. Pilots can now save route and airport charts with all of their personal settings, such as zoom levels, and they can select a specific operational flight plan (OFP) from a number of saved plans. This and a completely overhauled system architecture significantly enhance the performance and user-friendliness of the solution.
Additional configuration and display options make it possible to adapt the charts to current working conditions or personal preferences. For example, special use airspaces along the flight path can be specially marked for extra clarity so pilots can identify these areas at a glance and quickly use this information in flight. Additionally, decompression routes can be displayed in their own layer on the route charts. The display can also be divided into two fields so that charts comprising several elements can be shown next to each other with individually adjusted zoom and frame settings. This applies, among others, to the plan view and descent profile views of the approach charts. The menu bar can be placed on either the left or right edge of the screen in the new version, which makes it easier to use the solution on side-mounted displays.
“The latest version of Lido/eRouteManual is a big step forward,” said Captain Jörg Pikolin, Vice President Product Management Airline Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “An improved usability, new display options and carefully thought-out details make it even easier for cockpit crews to work with the solution. This enhanced release shows that our continual dialogue with users around the world pays off.”
Lido/eRouteManual includes charts for take-off and landing as well as airport and route charts. These charts are generated directly from the Lido navigation database, which contains worldwide aeronautical information and topographical data. Layout, colors and symbols are identical in the charts’ paper and electronic versions, making it easier for pilots to migrate from Lido/RouteManual to Lido/eRouteManual. One benefit of Lido/eRouteManual is that updates can be delivered more quickly and easily than paper charts, since updated charts no longer need to be printed out and distributed to each cockpit. In addition, the level of detail can be adjusted in the individual zoom levels of the dynamic route chart for additional clarity.
Lido/eRouteManual is designed for use with the Lido/FlightBag EFB solution from Lufthansa Systems as well as other EFB systems. Over 60 airlines around the world are using Lido/RouteManual or Lido/eRouteManual in their daily operations.
08.02.2012 | Japan Airlines and IAG take first step towards intended joint business between Japan and Europe
Japan Airlines (JAL) and International Airlines Group (IAG) have agreed plans for a new joint business between JAL and British Airways on flights between Europe and Japan. The joint business would benefit customers by providing better links between Europe and Japan, greater choice of flights, enhanced frequent flyer benefits and the potential to launch new routes.
JAL has today submitted its application to the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) seeking antitrust immunity to co-operate on flights between the EU and Japan with British Airways. IAG is in contact with the European Union.
The revenue-sharing agreement would also strengthen the oneworld alliance and enable it to compete more effectively around the world with other global alliances.
“JAL is looking forward to the potential customer benefits we foresee from the synergies with British Airways,” said current president and chairman-elect of JAL, Masaru Onishi.
“Just as our customers travelling over the Pacific have gained from the joint business between JAL and American Airlines which began last April, we expect the closer relationship with British Airways to also provide the travelling public between Europe and Japan with greater convenience and options.
“JAL seeks to continue improving customer experiences all-around, including through tighter cooperation with our quality partners as the industry liberalises.”
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “British Airways has a long history of flying to Japan and linking the world’s third largest economy to the UK and Europe.” “We have very close links with JAL and look forward to enhancing that relationship further. Despite the difficulties the Japanese aviation market has faced in recent years, we have great confidence in JAL’s business outlook and the overall market’s future prospects.
08.02.2012 | JAL and airberlin Enter First Codeshare Agreement
Japan Airlines (JAL) announced today its first codeshare agreement reached with soon-to-be oneworld alliance member, airberlin. Flights between Frankfurt and Berlin operated six times a week by airberlin will be coded with JAL’s flight code from February 12 and available for sale from February 8, 2012.
airberlin is Germany’s second largest airline with an extensive network. It carried more than 35 million passengers in 2011 and has won numerous accolades for its high price-performance ratio. Comprising 170 aircraft with an average age of five years, the airberlin fleet is one of the most modern in Europe.
The new codeshare agreement adds another connection option for JAL customers traveling to Germany’s capital city. On top of the current connection on British Airways from JAL’s daily flights to London, customers can soon also reach Berlin via Frankfurt, to which JAL also operates daily with a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft fitted with JAL First Class Skysleeper Solo, Executive Class Shell Flat Seat and Premium Economy service. At present, JAL customers can transit in Frankfurt to Helsinki and Madrid on other fellow oneworld member airlines Finnair and Iberia respectively.
07.02.2012 | Singapore Airlines wins Best Inflight Retail and Best Inflight Food and Beverage at the 2012 AR Awards Asia Pacific
Today, the Airline Retail Conference, the most focused networking platform for airline buyers and suppliers, has announced the winners of the inaugural AR Awards Asia pacific. With Singapore Airlines picking up two awards, other notable winners included DFASS, Scorpio Distributors and Anna Brownell as Airline Retail Personality of the Year.
The awards were announced at the Airline Retail Conference (ARC) Asia Pacific Gala Dinner at The Grand Hyatt hotel in Singapore. The full list of winners voted for by ARC delegates in advance of the conference included:
· Best Airline for Inflight Retail – Singapore Airlines
· Best Airline for Food & Beverage – Singapore Airlines
· Best Inflight Agent or Distributor – Scorpio Distributors
· Best Inflight Concessionaire – DFASS
· Airline Retail Personality of the Year 2012 – Anna Brownell, Inflight Duty Free Manager, Etihad Airways
There were also four further categories, voted for by ballot at ARC in Singapore. The winners of these categories were:
· Best Inflight Product – Retail – Pashma
· Best Inflight Product – Food – Royce’ Confection
· Best Inflight Product – Beverage – Patron Spirits International
· Best NEW Inflight Product – Buckley Jewellery London
“I would like to congratulate all our winners and nominees at this year’s AR Awards Asia Pacific,” said Alex Vail, ARC Events Director. “The number of entries we had and the quality of each of the nominees was astounding and we are really proud of the success of the first AR Awards Asia Pacific”.
07.02.2012 | Air France to improve operations efficiency with Lido/Flight from Lufthansa Systems
Air France opted for the leading flight planning solution Lido/Flight from Lufthansa Systems to optimize its flight planning processes. Lido/Flight calculates optimal flight routes based on a number of different factors, which can lead to significant fuel savings. The five-year contract also covers several add-ons of Lido/Flight, including aircraft performance solutions. With this agreement Air France and Lufthansa Systems expanded their cooperation. The airline already uses IT solutions from Lufthansa Systems for its revenue accounting and the Lido/FMS navigation data.
The implementation of Lido/Flight, which will replace an in-house solution, is part of the restructuring of the entire Air France flight support and dispatch activities. “We put very high requirements on our flight planning systems in terms of reliability, efficiency and process management. We evaluated Lido/Flight intensively in every aspect and are convinced that it will contribute to the re-engineering of our operations. In addition, we have taken into consideration the positive experiences of our sister company KLM, which has been using Lido/Flight for ten years. With the new system we will be able to reduce costs, save fuel and make our processes in daily airline operations more efficient,” explains Laurent Barthelemy, Senior Vice President Operations Control at Air France.
Lido/Flight covers all aspects of flight planning. The system provides dispatchers with many optimization options regarding flight time, fuel consumption or costs of each flight. It is in use with major airlines around the world operating in different business models. Lido/Flight is a component of the Integrated Operations Control Center (IOCC) Platform from Lufthansa Systems.
The system also offers a variety of additional modules which facilitate dispatchers’ work in various subtasks. Among the modules, which will be used by Air France, are Lido/Flight TFR (Traffic Flow Restrictions) which opens up a host of new route options as it considers partly restricted airways, Lido/Flight InflightMonitor, which automatically informs the dispatcher about all notifications relevant to flights which have been calculated but not yet completed and finally the two aircraft performance solutions Lido/Flight TakeOff and Lido/Flight Landing.
“We are very proud that Air France decided to expand our cooperation and joined the growing circle of Lido/Flight customers. This strengthens the position of Lufthansa Systems in the European market. As soon as the implementation at Air France is completed, about 45 percent of the flights operated by European carriers are planned with Lido/Flight”, explains Marco Cesa, Senior Vice President Regional Management Europe at Lufthansa Systems.
06.02.2012 | Astronics Corporation Reports Net Income Up 16% on 18% Increase in Sales for Fourth Quarter 2011
- 2011 fourth quarter sales achieved a new record at $61.2 million
- 2011 fourth quarter diluted earnings per share of $0.40, up 14% from $0.35 in 2010 fourth quarter
- Results included a $2.5 million pre-tax, or $0.12 per diluted share after tax, write-down of Test Systems goodwill and intangible assets
- Record annual sales of $228 million and record diluted earnings per share of $1.67
- Expects 2012 sales of $235 million to $250 million
Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leader in advanced, high-performance lighting, electrical power, avionics databus products and automated test systems for the global aerospace and defense industries, today reported financial results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2011. Results include Ballard Technology, Inc. (“Ballard”) which was acquired on November 30, 2011. Peter J. Gundermann, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “The fourth quarter was a good one in many ways. We again achieved record revenue, margins were strong, orders were brisk, and we acquired Ballard, a leading designer and producer of avionics databus solutions for the aerospace industry. However, we had our share of disappointments during the quarter as well. We learned recently that the United States Air Force decided to cancel the VDATS procurement, which contributed to the $2.5 million write-down of goodwill and intangible assets in our test systems business. Additionally, the bankruptcy filing of American Airlines led to a $500,000 receivable reserve.”
Sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 were $61.2 million, up $9.3 million, or 18.0%, from the prior year fourth quarter. Aerospace sales, which represented approximately 95.2% of total fourth quarter sales, increased 24.5% over the prior year period to $58.2 million. Test Systems sales decreased to $2.9 million for the fourth quarter 2011 compared with $5.1 million in the 2010 fourth quarter. For the full year, sales for 2011 were $228.2 million, up $32.4 million, or 16.6%, from the same period last year. Aerospace sales of $213.9 million, which represented approximately 93.7% of 2011 sales, increased 19.1% over prior year sales of $179.6 million. Test Systems sales in 2011 were $14.3 million compared with $16.2 million in 2010.
Net income in the fourth quarter of 2011 was $5.2 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, compared with net income of $4.5 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, in the same period of last year. Net income for 2011 was $21.6 million, or $1.67 per diluted share, compared with net income of $14.9 million, or $1.20 per diluted share, in 2010.
Earnings per share for prior periods have been adjusted to reflect the impact of the one-for-ten Class B stock distribution to shareholders of record on August 16, 2011.
Consolidated operating margin in the 2011 fourth quarter was 12.3% compared with 12.4% in the prior year period. In the 2011 fourth quarter, Astronics recorded a non-cash pre-tax charge of $2.5 million, or $0.12 per diluted share after tax, for impairment of goodwill and intangible assets related to its Test Systems business. Leverage from increased sales in the 2011 fourth quarter was offset by the impairment charge as well as increased bad debt expense of $0.5 million related to the American Airlines’ bankruptcy and increased engineering and development (“E&D”) costs. E&D costs were $9.5 million in the 2011 fourth quarter compared with $7.3 million in the prior year’s fourth quarter.
Consolidated operating margin in 2011 increased to 13.5% from 12.5% in 2010, reflecting the leverage gained from increased sales offset partially by the impairment charge, increased E&D costs as well as higher selling, general and administrative costs (“SG&A”). SG&A costs increased primarily as a result of additional legal costs of $1.4 million, higher bad debt expenses of $0.5 million related to the American Airlines’ bankruptcy and increased compensation costs as compared with the prior year. E&D costs were $36.1 million and $28.3 million in 2011 and 2010, respectively.
The effective tax rate in the 2011 fourth quarter and full year periods were 28.0% and 25.6%, respectively. For the quarter and the year, the effective rate was below the statutory rate of 35% primarily due to research and development tax credits and the domestic production activity deduction.
Aerospace Segment Review (refer to sales by market and segment data in accompanying tables).
Fourth quarter and full year sales to the commercial transport market increased on higher demand for both cabin electronics products and aircraft lighting products. Fourth quarter military sales were relatively flat with the prior years’ fourth quarter, while full year 2011 military sales were up slightly, primarily as a result of higher airframe power sales, offset somewhat by lower aircraft lighting product sales. For the business jet market, fourth quarter sales increased slightly as increased airframe power sales were offset by a slight decrease of aircraft lighting sales. Increases to the business jet market in 2011 reflected higher sales of airframe power products. The decrease in 2011 fourth quarter and full year FAA/Airport sales was due to lower revenue from airport turnkey projects and lower order rates from the FAA. Sales from Ballard that are included in the fourth quarter results amounted to approximately $0.4 million.
Aerospace operating profit for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $12.2 million, or 20.9% of sales, compared with $7.8 million, or 16.8% of sales, in the same period last year. For the year, 2011 operating profit was $40.4 million, or 18.9% of sales, compared with $30.1 million, or 16.8% of sales, in 2010. The margin increase in the 2011 fourth quarter and year was due to the leverage gained from increased sales volume partially offset by higher E&D costs and increased SG&A costs. The primary increase of SG&A costs were related to legal, compensation costs and bad debt expense.
Bookings for the Aerospace segment during the fourth quarter were $54.0 million, up 33.9% from $40.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, and down 12.4% from bookings of $61.7 million in the trailing third quarter of 2011. Backlog at the end of the fourth quarter was $97.9 million of which $0.7 million was related to Ballard. Ballard’s backlog remained virtually unchanged from the date of acquisition to December 31, 2011.
Test Systems Segment Review (refer to sales by market and segment data in accompanying tables).
Sales in the 2011 fourth quarter decreased to $2.9 million when compared with $5.1 million for the same period in 2010. Sales for 2011 decreased to $14.3 million compared with $16.2 million for the same period last year.
Test Systems operating loss for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $3.4 million compared with an operating loss of $0.4 million in the same period last year. For the full year of 2011, Test Systems operating loss increased to $4.8 million compared with $1.8 million for 2010. The fourth quarter and full year loss reflects the $2.5 million impairment charge related to intangible assets and goodwill and lower sales volume.
Astronics learned recently that the United States Air Force decided to cancel the VDATS program, which the Company expected would be a large part of Test Systems’ activities in 2012. The loss of the program contributed to the write down of the Company’s Test Systems intangible assets and goodwill. There are $1.3 million of intangible assets remaining related to the Test Systems business.
Test Systems bookings in the fourth quarter were $2.5 million compared with $1.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, and down slightly from the trailing 2011 third quarter, which had bookings of $2.8 million. Backlog was $8.4 million at the end of the fourth quarter. Balance Sheet Cash at the end of the 2011 was $10.9 million compared with $22.7 million at the end of the prior year. The Company acquired Ballard Technology for approximately $24 million in cash. Additionally during 2011, Astronics acquired for approximately $10 million, the building that houses its Ft. Lauderdale operation and a partially completed building in Kirkland, WA for its Astronics AES subsidiary (“AES”). The Company expects to invest an additional $7 million to $9 million to build out the Kirkland, WA facility which AES plans to relocate to at the end of 2012.
Capital expenditures during the fourth quarter and twelve months of 2011 were $1.4 million and $14.3 million, respectively, compared with $1.0 million and $3.6 million in 2010, respectively.
In total, the Company expects capital spending in 2012 to be approximately $13 million to $16 million, which includes the cost to complete the Kirkland facility.
On December 31, 2011, backlog was $106.3 million, improved over backlog of $99.8 million at the end of 2010, though down slightly from backlog of $110.2 million at the end of the trailing third quarter of 2011. Approximately 87% of the current backlog is expected to ship over the next four quarters.
Astronics expects sales in 2012 to be in the range of $235 million to $250 million. Astronics anticipates that approximately $225 million to $238 million of forecasted revenue will be from its Aerospace segment, while approximately $10 million to $12 million of the forecasted revenue will be from its Test Systems segment. The Company expects E&D expenditures for 2012, which are included in cost of goods sold, to be in the range of $36 million to $40 million.
Fourth Quarter 2011 Webcast and Conference Call
The Company will host a teleconference at 11:00 AM ET on Monday, February 6, 2012. During the teleconference, Peter J. Gundermann, President and CEO, and David C. Burney, Executive Vice President and CFO, will review the financial and operating results for the period and discuss Astronics’ corporate strategy and outlook. A question-and-answer session will follow.
The Astronics conference call can be accessed by calling (201) 689-8562. The listen-only audio webcast can be monitored at www.astronics.com . To listen to the archived call, dial (858) 384-5517 and enter conference ID number 386478. The telephonic replay will be available from 2:00 p.m. on the day of the call through Monday, February 13, 2012. Alternatively, an archive of the webcast will be available on the Company’s website at www.astronics.com . A transcript will also be posted to the Company’s website, once available.
03.02.2012 | QEST introduces novel Ku-Band Single Antenna Panel for Global Operations
QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH, the supplier of the antenna panel for KuStream® 1000 of TECOM Industries, Inc., today announced that it has developed a novel low height single panel design for airborne broadband antennas operating in Ku-Band which enable single panel antenna systems to be operated globally including equatorial flight routes.
When conventional low height single panel aircraft antennas are operated near or at the equator, real broadband data rates require special encoding schemes. Implied by their low profile, the main beam of single panel antennas widens significantly when approaching the equator. This effect leads to interference with signals from satellites adjacent to the target satellite so that the receive data rate may suffer.
Until present the only practical approach to that issue seemed to be the use of so-called multi-panel antenna systems. Here two or more antenna panels are operated simultaneously when the aircraft approaches the equator, thus limiting the physical effect of antenna main beam widening to a certain extent. However, such multi-panel antenna systems present specific disadvantages: A reliable command of two or more combined beams within regulatory limits requires considerable technical effort and complexity. This adds cost and weight, and raises questions about antenna system reliability – all being major criteria for airlines looking for connectivity solutions. By construction the antenna efficiency of multi-panel systems is rather low, unnecessarily increasing the overall antenna system size. Inoperative – thus useless – in higher latitudes, the additional panels are needed in a small region around the equator only. About 90% of all commercial aircraft flight routes do not touch that region, and most of the affected routes are typically crossed in a relatively short period of time. Altogether, multi-panel antenna systems don’t seem to offer balanced economic solutions for commercial aircraft applications.
Based on its advanced technologies and its extensive experience in the field of satellite antennas for commercial aircraft, QEST has now succeeded in designing a low height single panel that significantly reduces Adjacent Satellite Interference also for large geographical skew angles, i.e. for the regions at and around the equator.
The basis for that is QEST’s proprietary and field proven horn array antenna panel which is already installed on more than 200 commercial aircraft today. Despite its small size (60cm x 16cm only), this single panel solution offers superior performance in both transmit and receive operations. By applying advanced antenna beam engineering to the new panel, Adjacent Satellite Interference has been reduced significantly while preserving antenna dimensions and performance.
Antenna systems using QEST’s novel single panel can be operated within the global coverage area of geostationary satellites at broadband data rates with standard providing schemes. Even at the equator, the improved antenna beam shaping enables large bi-directional data volumes. The advantages of single panel antenna systems with respect to robustness, reliability and costs are now also fully available in equatorial regions.
“Based on QEST’s advanced antenna technology we have achieved another breakthrough in the field of aeronautical broadband antennas”, comments Dr. Joerg Oppenlaender, CTO of QEST. “The equatorial performance of our improved Ku-Band single panel is now comparable to far more complex multi-panel antennas. Finally, Ku-Band global broadband operations can be provided by a field-proven and most reliable antenna technology.” And he adds: “Of course, QEST will be using similar technologies for its Ka-Band single panels which will reach prototype testing phase very soon”.
“The new QEST single panel has the potential of presenting significant cost savings for service providers and airlines”, supplements Michael Stobinski, QEST’s Director of Sales and Marketing, “facilitating a true global broadband connectivity offer to passengers.”
02.02.2012 | JAL Group Announces Financial Results for the First Three Quarters of FY2011
The JAL Group (JAL) announced today, the consolidated financial results for the reporting period of April 1 to December 31, 2011, the first three quarters of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012.
JAL continued to review aircraft scheduling on each route and enforced measures to increase revenues while examining every cost category to achieve greater cost reduction, such as in fuel costs. Profit consciousness of each department has also been enhanced through the implementation of a new revenue management system introduced last April, which has helped to increase management efficiency.
As a result of these efforts, resilience to risks posed by changes in the operating environment has strengthened, and for the first three quarters of this fiscal year, JAL was able to achieve a consolidated net income of 146 billion yen based on consolidated operating revenue of 909.1 billion yen, operating expense of 747.4 billion yen and operating income of 161.6 billion yen.
(2) Air Transportation Segment
As with the previous fiscal year, following the termination of underperforming routes and reduction in the number of aircraft types in its fleet, JAL has continued to review its fleet to enhance profitability through improving the balance of demand and capacity, and to also improve the capability to respond swiftly to changes in the operating environment.
In October, when passenger numbers to Thailand decreased due to the severe flooding there, JAL reduced the number of flights after the evacuation of a large number of Japanese expatriates and their families leaving Thailand had settled down. Meanwhile, JAL increased the number of flights on the Delhi route from four to five a week beginning on October 30, 2011 to meet the robust corporate travel demand observed in that sector. In addition, as leisure demand for flights departing from Japan had recovered from the summer, special seasonal fares were offered and larger aircraft were used for over 148 flights to Honolulu between October and December 2011. In ways such as these, we strived to increase profitability by swiftly adapting to the fluctuations in demand.
JAL and oneworld alliance partner American Airlines have been steadily expanding the joint business launched in April 2010. Among other areas of co-operation, joint fares between China (via Japan) and the U.S. were announced in December. Timed with the commencement of code-share flights with WestJet on three domestic routes in Canada, JAL introduced attractive discount fares for flights between Japan (via Vancouver) and Canada in December. Furthermore, through improvements to in-flight services, such as the occasional tie-ups with popular restaurants to provide signature dishes onboard, JAL strived to attract passengers through greater convenience and better service.
International capacity for this reporting period on a consolidated basis declined year-on-year by 21.2% when measured in available-seat-kilometer (ASK), and demand declined year-on-year by 27.5% in terms of revenue-passenger-kilometer (RPK). Load factor was 6.0 points less at 68.8% compared to the same period in the previous year. Revenue from international passenger operations for the first three quarters of the fiscal year on a consolidated basis was 288.9 billion yen, representing 31.8% of total revenue.
Continuing with efforts to improve profitability through timely reaction to changes in the operating environment and by striking an appropriate balance between demand and capacity, JAL scheduled larger aircraft and operated extra flights on several performing routes such as between Haneda and Sapporo as well as Okinawa to maximize revenue, following the recovery in passenger demand in July. In the winter schedule, from late October, flight frequency on six routes, including Haneda??Akita and Haneda=Okayama, were also increased for the convenience of the customers.
In hoping to boost domestic tourism, which would contribute to the local communities in Japan, JAL also sought to create new demand through the JAPAN PROJECT. Working in collaboration with local governments and businesses, JAL has been introducing the unique attractions of regional areas in Japan each month through inflight magazines and inflight meals.
As a result, domestic capacity, measured in ASK, declined year-on-year by 17.7% in the first three quarters of the fiscal year on a consolidated basis, while demand declined to a lesser degree, by16.9% in terms of RPK. Accordingly, load factor rose slightly to 63.3%. Domestic passenger revenue in the first three quarters of the fiscal year on a consolidated basis was 367.2 billion yen, representing 40.4% of total revenue.
International and Domestic Cargo
JAL endeavored to maximize revenues by responding to post-quake demand for transportation of automobile parts and cigarettes, and also scheduled larger aircraft to meet the urgent demand after the floods in Thailand last October.
In cargo sales, JAL strongly promoted its expertise in carrying temperature-controlled, high added-value goods, such as pharmaceuticals, as well as cargo from around Japan to overseas through the domestic-international connection services facilitated by the internationalization of Haneda airport. As a result of the suspension of freighters and large capacity cuts, many of which took effect in October 2010, the comparative volume of international cargo transported in this reporting period on a consolidated basis in revenue-cargo-ton-kilometer (RCTK) declined by 44.2% in comparison to the same period in the last year, and JAL logged a revenue of 40.6 billion yen in this segment.
Domestically, JAL made efforts to meet the demand for air transportation of cargo, which had shifted from surface transportation after the Great East Japan Earthquake. From July, JAL carried perishables especially from Hokkaido, Kyushu and Okinawa, and made full use of the belly space of extra passenger flights operated at the year-end to capture peak domestic cargo demand. While capacity, in terms of available ton-kilometer (ATK), decreased by 22.5% due to the downsizing of network and aircrafts, the volume of domestic cargo transported in the first three quarters on a consolidated basis in RCTK terms declined year-on-year by 13.8%, and revenue generated from domestic cargo operations was 19.1 billion yen.
(4) Forecast of JAL Group Consolidated Financial Results
The outlook for consolidated results for the full year of fiscal 2011 has been revised from the previous forecast which was announced on November 8, 2011 along with the financial results for the first half of fiscal year 2011. Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal year 2011 has increased from the original projection in part due to the high yen rate, which encouraged international leisure travel from Japan, as well as from stable corporate travel demand, while domestically, reservations for special campaigns were made more convenient to help improve earnings.
As a result, figures for operating income and net profit estimates are now both adjusted upwards by 40 billion yen, to 180 billion yen and 160 billion yen, respectively. The consolidated financial statements for this reporting period are as follows:
The forecast in this document represents estimates of future results based on the information available at the time of release and the company’s reasonable judgment on this information. They are inherently subject to risks which may result in a divergence in the actual result from the forecasts and estimates contained herein.
01.02.2012 | Astronics Corporation Announces Fourth Quarter 2011 Financial Results Conference Call and Webcast
Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leader in advanced, high-performance lighting, electrical power, avionics databus interfaces and automated test systems for the global aerospace and defense industries, announced today that it will release its fourth quarter and full-year 2011 financial results before the opening of financial markets on Monday, February 6, 2012, followed by a conference call and webcast at 11:00 a.m. ET. During the call and webcast, Peter J. Gundermann, President and CEO, and David C. Burney, Vice President and CFO, will review the financial and operating results for the quarter and full year and discuss Astronics’ corporate strategies and outlook. A question-and-answer session will follow. The conference call can be accessed by dialing (201) 689-8562. The listen-only audio webcast can be monitored at www.Astronics.com. A telephonic replay will be available from 2:00 p.m. ET the day of the call through Monday, February 13, 2012. To listen to the archived call, dial (858) 384-5517 and enter conference ID number 386478. Alternatively, the archive of the webcast will be available on the Company’s website at www.Astronics.com. A transcript will also be posted to the Company’s website, once available.
01.02.2012 | DTI Solutions provides Japan Airlines with the world’s first inflight eManga reader
Tokyo – February 1st, 2012 - DTI Solutions, the inflight applications and solutions expert, has announced that it was selected by Japan Airlines (JAL) to develop its unique eManga Reader which will be available onboard the airline’s 787 Dreamliner aircrafts in March 2012.
Designed exclusively for JAL in partnership with online manga provider eBook Initiative Japan, DTI Solution’s eBook Reader application will allow passengers to browse through an extensive collection of reading material, from their video seat terminals. It is one of several market-leading inflight applications, which DTI Solutions provides to the airline community.
“DTI Solutions is proud to have collaborated with JAL on this exclusive eBook Reader application” said Patrick Préfontaine, President of DTI Solutions. “Manga are an essential read in Japanese culture and we aim to provide airlines with original inflight entertainment solutions that offer outside-the-box content sensitive to passengers’ cultural heritage.”
“Japan Airlines strives to provide the highest standard of passenger experience,” said Mr. Hideo Ninomiya, Executive Officer of the Managing Division of Route Marketing at Japan Airlines. “DTI Solutions’ eBook Reader was a clear choice for our international Dreamliner aircrafts, allowing our passengers to enjoy a roster of quality inflight reading material, including popular manga favorites.”
01.02.2012 | Qantas takes Wi-Fi to Australian skies
Qantas today officially launched its Q Streaming in-flight entertainment system, based on ground-breaking wireless technology from Lufthansa Systems. In a pilot test on a Boeing 767-300 registered VH-OGH, Qantas passengers are able to enjoy over 200 hours of on demand movies, television and radio programs, streamed direct to a Wi-Fi enabled device. This is an even greater choice than what is currently available on the airline’s international flights. Initially, the trial will involve tablets provided by Qantas with a view to using passenger-owned devices at a later stage.
The innovative infotainment system is based on Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect, a Wi-Fi network comprising an on-board server and five access points distributed throughout the cabin. As no wiring is required, the system is much easier to install than regular IFE systems. It can be integrated during regular maintenance checks and without additional downtime, saving up to 50 % in installation costs compared to legacy systems. Moreover, the elimination of wiring and data distribution hardware can lead to weight savings of nearly half a ton for a Boeing 767-300. This reduces annual fuel consumption by around 20 tonnes per aircraft, while operating and maintenance costs can also be greatly reduced.
Olivier Krüger, SVP Regional Management Asia-Pacific at Lufthansa Systems, stated, “This launch is a milestone in the history of BoardConnect. With Qantas, one of the world’s most experienced and most innovative airlines is taking wireless technology to the skies. We are proud to work with Qantas to provide a unique passenger experience as well as to open up new revenue potential for the airline.”
The system makes it possible for airlines to offer new forms of customer communication, information and services. New services can generate additional revenues for airlines, and airlines can also customise their contact with each passenger.