Podcast Episode 021: Gulf Competition and Cyber Suspicions

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Welcome to Episode 021 of the #PaxEx Podcast. Our guest for this episode is Michael Reilly, who serves as vice president of e-enablement and entertainment at Arconics. A 15-year veteran of the IFE industry, Reilly is now leading the expansion of Arconics’ key products, including wireless IFE and electronic flight bag (EFB) solutions for pilots.

It would have been difficult to miss the recent dust up between Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson and Gulf carriers. Anderson claims Emirates, Ethiad Airways and Qatar Airways enjoy an unfair competitive advantage over US carriers in the form of government subsidies. And Gulf carriers have hit back, saying US carriers have been able to restructure their costs under the USA’s liberal Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. But the row begs broader questions. Co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby discuss whether US carriers can compete with Gulf carriers in terms of product, and overall #PaxEx, and whether the restructuring of labor costs under Chapter 11 has, somewhat ironically, put US operators at a competitive disadvantage in terms of customer service.

Now that more and more aircraft are “e-enabled”, the FAA has announced plans to establish an industry working group to tackle cyber security concerns. While it seems inexplicable that the FAA has waited until 2015 to launch this initiative, Max, Mary and Michael agree that it’s ‘better late than never’. They talk about what the FAA hopes to gain, and Michael shares his knowledge about the challenges airlines face in keeping the bad guys at bay as they move forward with significant change in the digital space.

Last but not least, Indian start-up Vistara has announced plans to “beam IFE directly to passengers’ devices”. Michael, an expert in the field of wireless IFE, tells us why these solutions are gaining traction, and he answers the multi-billion dollar question – will wireless ultimately replace embedded IFE systems?

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