Arinc Breaks into Cabin WiFi Market and Diversifies Data Applications

 - October 10, 2011, 3:37 PM
Arinc has already enjoyed some success in the business jet market for cabin communication systems, but it now wants a slice of the market for wireless Internet access for airline passengers. (Photo: Arinc)

Arinc has jumped into the crowded market for wireless Internet access in airline cabins with the unveiling of its new Cabin Connect suite of products, using Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband connection. The new service will allow passengers to connect online with their own portable electronic devices, through either free access provided by the airlines or prepayment when they buy their tickets.

Other new projects at Arinc–a long-established flight-planning and data specialist–include integrating electronic flight bags into the cockpits of Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific’s airplanes, as well as introducing new self-service check-in kiosks at smaller airports such as Belfast City in Northern Ireland, and expanding its GlobaLink VHF datalink network, concentrating on boosting coverage in Asia. It has also won a contract with Spanish carrier Vueling for its Acars [aircraft crew addressing and reporting system] message management service.

In August, Eurocontrol selected Arinc to provide a test system to validate the functioning of VDL Mode 2 (VDL2) avionics for ATC communications in 2013. The company will install a new laboratory at the Eurocontrol Experimental Center in France. Operators must gradually retrofit aircraft to allow them use of controller-pilot datalink communications in European upper airspace beginning in  February 2013.

The company has also invested heavily in its advanced passenger information exchange (Apix) for border control and plans to launch three more new products in early October. These are Apix Infinity, an entry-level passenger data analysis tool; Apix + PNR (passenger name recognition) for advanced passenger information messaging with PNR verification; and Apix + iAPI, which offers interactive API messaging. Arinc is also introducing AviSec, a new flat-rate pricing concept for airlines to help them better manage the costs of transferring API to government agencies. AviSec can handle and convert multiple formats from different airline systems and safely transmit data over Arinc’s AviNet network.

Arinc recently also announced that it will provide security systems in support of the FAA’s initiative to allow air traffic controllers back in the cockpit for training purposes, which authorities haven’t allowed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The U.S.-based company is enhancing its widely used cockpit access security system to include screening of air traffic controllers as well as pilots.