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Case study: Aer Lingus on merits of connected electronic flight bags and cockpits

PARIS — Electronic flight bags have already proved their value in reducing on-board paperwork and digitizing aircraft manuals and navigation charts. When connected via data link to the flight management system, they can do even more. But what about a broadband satellite link to the ground during flight? Richard Niland, senior flight operations engineer at Aer Lingus, which operates more than 50...

Airline IFC case study: Air China assesses costs and benefits

PARIS — When does a major airline take the plunge into in-flight connectivity? What economic benefits should it expect? Are they immediately measurable? Zhihang Chi, vice president and general manager of Air China, which operates some 400 aircraft — mainly Airbus wide- and narrow bodies, to 106 international destinations — spoke to these issues Sept. 10 at Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business...

SSL President Zamarian: We’ll protect our customers no matter what – even if we have to shut down Palo Alto plant

PARIS — When Dario Zamarian left private-equity investment company Blackstone Group to become president of satellite builder SSL in 2017 he thought he would be helping diversify a company away from large, commercial, geostationary-orbit telecommunications satellites. He knew he arrived at what was then thought to be the latest cyclical downturn in GEO satellite orders, out of which Palo Alto,...

Telesat: First review of Maxar/Thales v Airbus bids for LEO program in a few weeks

PARIS — Telesat expects to select a prime contractor for its multibillion-dollar LEO broadband constellation by mid-2019 from competing bids by Airbus Defense and Space on the one hand and a joint bid of Maxar Technologies’ SSL and MDA with Thales Alenia Space, said Erwin Hudson, vice president of Telesat LEO. Hudson said Sept. 11 that Telesat will be making its first big review of the bidders’...

OneWeb, treading water awaiting debt financing, now a source of industry concern

PARIS — Startup broadband mega-constellation operator OneWeb’s recent change of CEO and its continued lack of debt financing is feeding concerns among industry officials of the consequences for the commercial space sector if the multibillion-dollar constellation is seriously delayed, downsized or worse. OneWeb, founded by Greg Wyler and backed by Softbank and a half-dozen OneWeb suppliers that...

Viasat selects ULA Atlas 5 to launch one of three Viasat-3 satellites

PARIS — Viasat Inc. selected United Launch Alliance (ULA) to launch a Viasat-3 broadband satellite into geostationary orbit sometime between 2020 and 2022 aboard a ULA Atlas 5 in its 551 configuration, the vehicle’s largest variant, Viasat and ULA announced Sept. 10. It was ULA’s first commercial deal since Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services handed over Atlas 5 commercial sales...

Merge it, sell it or scrap it: Maxar’s SSL Palo Alto campus going, one way or another

PARIS — Maxar Technologies, whose SSL unit ruled the roost for geostationary-orbit telecommunications satellites before that market’s collapse, has abandoned the diplomatic language and told investors straight out: Its SSL Silicon Valley production facility will be merged with another satellite builder, sold outright or, if that fails, shut down once current contract obligations are finished....

Satellite builder AAC Microtec Clyde Space: We won’t joint race to bottom on pricing

PARIS — AAC Microtec Clyde Space is not positioning itself as the low-cost provider of small satellite systems and expects to ride out the current wave of “really aggressive” new smallsat manufacturers by demonstrating in-orbit performance, the company’s chief strategy officer said. Craig Clark, the founder of Scotland’s Clyde Space, which was purchased by AAC Microtec of Sweden earlier this...

Avanti signs distribution agreement with Comsat, receives final Indonesian arbitration award

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Avanti Communications said government and commercial-maritime satellite services provider Comsat has entered into a seven-year distribution agreement to access Avanti’s fleet, in particular its new Ka-band Hylas-4 satellite. London-based Avanti said Hylas-4, launched in April and built by Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, the former Orbital ATK, would enter...

Speedcast says Globecomm purchase points the way to $1B revenue goal in three years

PARIS— Satellite services provider Speedcast, keeping to its 15-year average of one acquisition a year, said its purchase of Globecomm reduces Speedcast’s exposure to the still-slumping energy markets, increases its government portfolio and puts it on track to reach $1 billion in revenue in three years. Speedcast said the purchase, for $135 million net of proceeds from the $20 million sale and...

APT Satellite reports 1% growth in core business revenue, seeks mobile broadband partners

CENTER HARBOR, New Hampshire — Satellite fleet operator APT Satellite Holdings Ltd. reported revenue and profit increases for the six months ending June 30 but most of the boost was due to a nonrecurring technical support and project-management business. Hong Kong-based APT said it expects its core business of leasing capacity on its five satellites to remain steady and highly profitable — its...

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