AIME event underlines importance of Middle East market

Gurpreet Sidhu and Neale Faulkner from the Inmarsat Aviation Middle East team collect the ‘Connectivity Enablement’ award in Dubai.
Gurpreet Sidhu and Neale Faulkner from the Inmarsat Aviation Middle East team collect the ‘Connectivity Enablement’ award in Dubai.

This week’s Aircraft Interiors Middle East (AIME) in Dubai highlighted the importance of inflight connectivity in the region.

A record number of 4,541 trade visitors attending the two-day event at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

A large number of connectivity and wireless IFE providers exhibited or supported the show including Gogo, Honeywell, Panasonic Avionics, AirFi, Astronics Aerosat, Bluebox, SITAONAIR, Rockwell Collins, Global Eagle, Inmarsat, Lufthansa Systems, Thales InFlyt Experience.

Amir Emam, Senior Strategic Marketing Manager at Honeywell Aerospace, said: “The Middle East is a high growth region and there is a lot of focus and attention on the MRO industry.

“Given the exponential growth of the MRO market in the region, as well as aircraft connectivity, it is the ideal place to see our partners and customers and demonstrate our dedication to the market.”

The event also featured the annual Inflight IFEC Awards with SAUDIA claiming the prestigious “Inflight airline of the year” title for the first time.

Other airline winners were Emirates (Airline IFEC experience) and Ethiopian Airlines (Interior retrofit project).

2017 winner Panasonic Avionics picked up another Inflight Middle East award in the “IFE system provider” category, Global Eagle took home the “Content provision” award, while Inmarsat claimed the “Connectivity enablement” trophy for GX Aviation.

Qatar Airways will provide GX Aviation on board more than 130 aircraft, consisting of Airbus A350s and Boeing 777s, and Emirates intends to install the service on its Boeing 777X aircraft fleet. Airlines connect to the GX network using Ka-band JetWave terminals produced by Honeywell Aerospace.

Ben Griffin, Vice President, Middle East, Africa and South Asia at Inmarsat Aviation said: “Consistent, reliable high-speed connectivity opens a new world of service innovation and personalisation to today’s airlines.

“This latest industry recognition attests to our commitment to provide the best inflight connectivity to passengers within the Middle East and we’re looking forward to seeing more and more passengers experiencing our award-winning broadband in the sky.”

The terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.

AirFi also announced it is off to a flying start in 2018, signing two new large airline clients, a major contract expansion and a landmark deal to expand and support its rapidly growing Middle East and North Africa footprint.

AirFi wireless IFE will be soon be flying on another 90 aircraft and through a new long- term partnership with a major unnamed Middle Eastern caterer, 200 further aircraft will be operating its sister platform, Connected Crew digital cabin assistant and EPOS.

Job Heimerikx, AirFi CEO said: “Welcoming two new larger fleet operators into the AirFi client family and tripling the AirFi-enabled fleet at one of our longest-standing airline customers, represents a hugely exciting opportunity for us and the level of confidence our clients have in our technologies and capabilities.”


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