Beyond the Black Box – Live Flight Data Analysis

Beyond the Black Box – Live Flight Data Analysis
Press release
Toronto, June 18, 2009  >>

Star Navigation Systems Group Ltd. (TSX-V: SNA) (“Star” or the “Company”), a leading edge technology company focused on providing Aerospace Solutions to assist aviation operators worldwide discusses air safety.

As reported in the Singapore Straits Times on 12 June 2009, Pierre J. Jeanniot reminded Agence France-Presse that technology has evolved and the current flight recorders, the so called “Black Boxes”, are obsolete. Mr. Jeanniot, former President and CEO of Air Canada and former Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), was one of the pioneers of the original flight data recorder, some forty years ago.

Mr. Jeanniot pointed out that in the past there have unfortunately been several cases where even though the flight data recorders have been recovered, the “Black Box” had been so badly damaged that much of the data had been destroyed or very difficult to interpret.

Mr. Jeanniot said that a cost-effective automatic system for real-time data transmission exists. Today, it is possible not only to transmit data when specific malfunction occurs, but the system can also be programmed so that in the event of a serious malfunction, it will transmit all data and cockpit communication non-stop. The substantial reduction in satellite communication costs makes such a system relatively inexpensive to operate.

Star Navigation Systems Group Ltd. (TSX-V: SNA) continues to refine its In-Flight Monitoring System (“ISMS™” or “Terrastar: RTM™” Real-time Monitoring) – as a successor to the traditional “Black Box”.

Utilizing Star’s patented technology, the ISMSTM system has been fully developed, extensively tested in normal commercial aviation settings, and is commercially available. Such a system allows operators to define the frequency of reports, while retaining the override ability to respond immediately to so-called “Mayday” situations. The systems’ capability of sending immediate alerts in case of a significant divergence from acceptable system parameters allows for proactive action by Operations and Maintenance Centers.

Additionally, the flight performance information captured and transmitted by ISMS TM can provide a dynamic view of the overall behavior of the aircraft at a given time during flight operations.

For location information, the system uses on-board GPS equipment and standard aircraft systems to validate data integrity, and then transmit the information via satellite to the ground on a pre-determined or automatic emergency basis.

Please see Star’s website for more information.

About Star Navigation:

Star Navigation Systems Group Ltd. ( owns the exclusive worldwide license to its proprietary, patented In-flight Safety Monitoring System, the first system in the world to feature in-flight data-analysis, monitoring and diagnostics with a real-time connection between aircraft and ground. Its real-time capability of tracking performance-trends and predicting incident-occurrence enhances aviation safety and improves fleet management while reducing costs for the operator.

Certain statements contained in this News Release constitute forward-looking statements. When used in this document, the words “may”, “would”, “could”, “will” and similar expressions, as they relate to Star or its management are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements reflect Star’s current views with respect to future events and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Many factors could cause Star’s actual performance or achievements to vary from those described herein. Should one or more of these factors or uncertainties materialize, or should assumptions underlying forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein as intended, planned, anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Star does not assume any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of this release.

For further information:

Please call Viraf Kapadia, CEO, +1 (416) 252 2889
[email protected]

AGORACOM Investor Relations
E-mail all questions and correspondence to [email protected]

High Level Summary of Commercial Aviation’s Current Situation

High Level Summary of Commercial Aviation’s Current Situation
Industry Update
February, 2008  >>

In many respects, commercial aviation enjoyed an exceptional year in 2007 with traffic growing worldwide at 7.4%. The region of maximum growth was the Gulf at +18%, followed by Africa and Latin America at +8%, Asia/Pacific at +7.3%, and Europe and North America at around +5.5%.

During 2006 and 2007, some 4,700 airplanes were ordered from Boeing and Airbus which represents a 30% increase on the size of the current fleet. Both manufacturers considered that aircraft ordered achieved a peak in 2007, and they are expecting to have substantially less orders in 2008 and subsequent years.

Despite this exceptional traffic growth, profit was inadequate. The worldwide net profit for international airlines was $5.5 billion, which represents only 1% of revenues

The cost of fuel and continued pressure on yields contributed to the disappointing profit results.

For 2008, IATA forecasts traffic growth to return to a more normal 5%, with net profit coming down to $5 billion. One should remember that historically, the long term growth of traffic worldwide averages 4.5 to 5% per annum.

Both Airbus and Boeing have produced another 20-year forecast which project that the fleet of airplanes of more than 100 seats will grow from 13,500 in 2006 to 28,500 by 2026. As expected, the growth in the number of airplanes by types varies between manufacturers, the main difference being that Boeing forecasts a need for 960 Very Large Airplanes, while Airbus projects 1,700 of those. Boeing forecasts a need for 17,600 single aisle aircraft, and Airbus projects 16,500.

For regional airplanes of 80-110 seats, the current 10-year forecast projects 1800 units. The demand for 50-seat regional jets is expected to virtually disappear, and to greatly diminish for jets in the 70-80 seat range.

The recent deterioration in the economic situation in the U.S. has introduced some uncertainty. The main visible immediate impact is a significant reduction estimated at 40% in the start of new homes, which will increase unemployment and reduce personal consumption including air travel.

This seems to have prompted the more traditional (legacy) U.S. airlines to re-examine the need to downsize their operation and gain efficiencies by mergers. At the present moment, Delta and Northwest are said to be actively engaged in merger discussions, and it would appear that United Airlines and Continental are also beginning to examine whether they could merge. Should that be accomplished, some fleet consolidation would result and that would trickle down as well to the associate regional feeder airlines.

Should consolidation significantly improve the financial strength of the legacy carriers, it would facilitate and hopefully accelerate their fleet renewal. It should be remembered that those carriers have the oldest fleets of any of the major international airlines.

Whether the ongoing economic slowdown in the U.S. will be of relatively short duration or will further deteriorate into a fully fledged recession is still unclear at this time.

Equally unclear is whether this U.S. economic situation will have a significant impact elsewhere in the world. Thus far, despite the fact that Canada sends more than 85% of its exports to the U.S., the impact has not been significant.

Given the huge volume of its exports of consumer goods to North America, China could be the most exposed to a U.S. recession. Other regions of Asia such as the Indian Sub-continent, as well as Russia, and Latin America may not be affected significantly – but it is still too early to draw definitive conclusions.

On the regional aircraft scene, SAS is now replacing its Dash 8 Q400 with the CRJ 700/900 as a result of confidence in the Q400 having been shaken by the recent nose- landing-gear-related accidents. This is somewhat unfortunate for the Dash 8 Q400, which had been selling relatively well, given that turboprops are more fuel-efficient. There is, however, continued customer resistance to turboprops as they still have an image of being older technology by comparison to jets.

Bombardier is trying hard to convince customers that their CRJ 900 NextGen provides a significant increase in customer appeal, and although cosmetic changes have improved the cabin, they may still find it very difficult to compete against Embraer.

Embraer’s wider-body cabin has gained much customer acceptance, particularly the model 195, and the current ratio of sales between Bombardier and Embraer is likely to continue to favor Embraer by 3 to1.

Bombardier has been authorized by its Board of Directors to offer its long-awaited 110-130 seat ‘C Series’ with Pratt & Whitney engines, which should provide the fuel consumption improvement required to make the ‘C Series’ a competitive airplane. First delivery would be in 2013.

To be a winner, the ‘C Series’ must achieve at least 12-15% improvement in operating cost over existing comparable size airplanes from Airbus, Boeing and Embraer.

The new Sukhoi regional jet has yet to fly, but if it meets expectations it could also become a significant competitor in the regional jet arena.

Airbus finally managed a good start with the A380 operation early performance with Singapore Airlines. Airbus has made good use of the production delay by cleaning up the types of problems usually associated with the start of operation of a new airplane type. Singapore reports only one technical problem in three months of operation, which for any new aircraft is an excellent performance. Unfortunately, the production rate will remain very slow for at least another year, as the cabling will continue to be produced manually. However, the A380 operation at this time looks good and I believe it will meet expectations in time as the production accelerates. But unless manufacturing costs of that airplane are significantly reduced, it is doubtful that a break-even point can be reached before 550 to 600 aircraft are sold.

Airbus is most fortunate that the A320 series continues to enjoy great popularity and as such generates a good part of their revenue sources today and for some time to come. A program is underway to further improve the efficiency of the A320 series, in particular to improve the fuel consumption by 1% initially and eventually by as much as 4-5%. This will further boost that airplane’s popularity for some time to come. Airbus will not likely be in a position to develop a successor to the A320 much before the year 2020.

The A340 family has clearly been outclassed by the Boeing 777 family, both the B777-200ER and 300ER, which basically leaves Airbus with the A330 family as its main contender in the medium size twin airplane market.

With the A350 XWB still 4-5 years away, Airbus is today most vulnerable in the large twin market. As the A350 family comes on line, it will then be in a position to compete much more effectively and likely displace some of the B777s, particularly the earlier generation. However, Airbus will then again be vulnerable in the smaller twin market as they will have no answer to the B787 series.

Although the B-787 program is likely to be as much as one year late, Boeing has managed to avoid the bad publicity which Airbus faced on the A380. The delay did not affect sales, with close to 700 B787s already sold despite the fact that the airplane has yet to fly.

Assuming the airplane is successfully launched, Boeing will have achieved a very dominant position in the smaller twin market, virtually holding a monopoly in that niche.

Boeing will be in a better position than Airbus to launch a successor to the B737 series should they wish to do so, as early as the 2016-2017 timeframe.

The new technology engines and composite experience should enable these new replacements to the B737s and the A320 airplanes to achieve at least 20% improvement in operation cost. Of this, reduction in fuel consumption is expected to be a major contributor.

The continuing weakness of the US dollar coupled with the rapid growth in the wealth of corporations and of individuals in Russia, India, China and Latin America will continue to fuel demand for private and corporate jets. In addition to Bombardier, Embraer, Gulfstream, Dassault, etc. – are gearing up to meet this demand. The rapid growth of this market segment represents an important opportunity for the avionics and IFE suppliers. However, they will also contribute to increasing the congestion in air traffic control capacity as well as airports.

Environmental pressures on aviation will continue to increase the demand for more efficient engines and continue to accelerate the search for less polluting types of fuel, some of which are being tested at this moment.

The recent signing of an air bilateral agreement between Europe, Canada and the U.S. could provide an additional boost to the traffic growth over the North Atlantic and will encourage additional liberalization of air markets around the world along the lines of this significant breakthrough in air bilaterals.

Should the world economy not deteriorate as a result of the current U.S. problem and the market takes advantage of this increased freedom, traffic growth could be sustained over the next timeframe at a higher level than is currently forecast.

In conclusion, despite some economic concerns raised by the situation in North America, some of which has spread to Europe, at least to the banking sector, I believe that one should remain reasonably optimistic on the prospects for the growth of commercial aviation over the next timeframe. The areas of healthy growth are likely to remain the Gulf, China, Southeast Asia – particularly India – and Latin America. It is entirely possible that the strength of their economies may this time largely cushion them from the current U.S. economic problems.

Air Transport Urged to Compensate for Carbon Through Massive

Air Transport Urged to Compensate for Carbon Through Massive Reforestation Project
Press release
Cannes, October 17 2007  >>

The air transport industry was urged today to compensate for its carbon footprint by undertaking a massive reforestation project such as greening of the Sahel, the 5,000-kilometer-long African boundary zone of semi-arid grasslands and thorn savannah running south from the Sahara that includes some of the most disadvantaged countries in the world such as Mauritania, Mali, Niger, the Chad and Sudan.

This “modest industry proposal” was made by Pierre J. Jeanniot, chairman of the 16th annual World Air Transport Forum, in his welcome address to air transport executives and experts meeting in Cannes to discuss how the industry could do “more than its fair share” in addressing the “foremost challenge of the 21st century – global warming.”

Mr. Jeanniot is a former director general of IATA and a past CEO of Air Canada, one of several airlines who have already announced programs allowing passengers to offset emissions by investing in reusable energy projects.

Individual company schemes are perceived as being much too small to make a difference, says Jeanniot. “Almost all climate experts believe that only large reforestation projects could offer an appreciable reduction in greenhouse gasses.”

The Sahel project would certainly fit the bill. Jeanniot envisages creating a forest some 10 kilometres wide the length of the Sahel, an area of 50,000 sq. kilometres or five million hectares.

A carbon sink of that magnitude would absorb two billion tons of CO2 per year, given that one hectare of mature forest removes approximately 400 tons of CO2 per year.

The project would be financed by relatively modest airline passenger contributions of say, two euros per domestic flight and eight per international flight. Annual traffic approaching 1.5 billion passengers would generate six billion euros.

A new NGO assisted by an existing UN agency or affiliate such as ICAO could run the project says Jeanniot. It would report annually to a representative industry group such as the World Air Transport Forum.

Reforesting the Sahel would be of specific benefit to some of the neediest people in the world – often the victims of large-scale famine – and one of universal benefit to all mankind.

“Until some new form of emission-free propulsion becomes available,” says Jeanniot, “the air transport industry must look for additional ways of stabilizing if not reducing its CO2 footprint despite having to meet continuing growth in travel demand.”

Better air traffic control, the latest fuel-efficient aircraft and engines, and biofuels will only produce incremental improvements.

Carbon trading is far from being universally accepted and is at best a short-term expediency, not a longer-term solution.

Jeanniot’s proposal for a huge aviation-financed forest is based on his belief that the best way to offset carbon emission is to use nature itself.

“Using nature as an ally to absorb CO2 in sufficient quantity to totally offset future emissions could capture the imagination of our industry and rally the enthusiasm of our flying public. It could become the industry’s main environmental contribution.”

For more information, please contact:
Pierre J. Jeanniot
World Air Transport Forum
Email: [email protected]

The Montreal Economic Institute supports Transport Canada’s new “Blue Sky” policy

The Montreal Economic Institute supports Transport Canada’s new
“Blue Sky” policy
Press release
November 27, 2006  >>

The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) welcomes the new “Blue Sky” policy on international air transportation unveiled today by the Canadian Minister of Transport Lawrence Cannon.

“It’s an important step towards a more globally open air transport market,” says the former head of Air Canada and IATA, Pierre Jeanniot, who authored two studies on this issue as an MEI Senior Fellow.

Mr. Jeanniot points out that the new policy clearly demonstrates the desire of the government to be more pro-active in its pursuit of Open Skies agreements. The new policy is more ambitious in that it will seek at the outset of each bilateral discussion so-called “fifth freedom” rights, whereby an airline is allowed to pick up passengers in another country and fly them to a third country. The MEI Senior Fellow is also pleased to learn that the government will from now on be guided not only by the priorities of the airlines, but also by the interests of the airports which in the past have often complained of being overlooked.

The document issued by Transport Canada indicates in its list of guiding principles that Canadian carriers must be able to compete in international markets on a level playing field. With this in mind, Pierre Jeanniot expresses the hope that the government will take into consideration the excessive levels of airport rents, fuel taxes and security charges which heavily burden Canadian operators and places them at a disadvantage in comparison to the United States. Last week, the Montreal Economic Institute issued an Economic Note arguing that in a context of growing liberalization of airline markets, this excessive burden on Canadian companies threatens their competitiveness.

Black box obsolete, says Pierre Jeanniot

Black box obsolete, says Pierre Jeanniot
Montreal, October 19, 2004  >>

“The black box is obsolete”, says Pierre J. Jeanniot. “New technology is now available that would make the recovery and analysis of critical aircraft performance factors a much surer and faster task than it is today.”

The Director General Emeritus of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and a former President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada was commenting on the recovery of the damaged flight data recorder of the MK Airlines cargo jet that crashed at the Halifax airport last week, claiming seven lives.

Mr. Jeanniot ought to know. As founder and head of the national airline’s operational research group in the 1960s, he suggested modifications to a British manufacturer’s electronic recorder designed for maintenance purposes that resulted in the famous “black box” so eagerly sought today by crash investigators.

“Instead of storing critical data in a box that is often damaged, hard to locate and sometimes lost, 21st century technology makes it possible to transmit the data via satellite to processing centres where it can be stored and accessed when needed.”

“Satellite transmission is becoming rapidly more economical”, he said. Transmission would begin only when abnormalities were recorded, limiting the amount of data that would have to be stored or analyzed by the centres.

A number of companies are actively developing this advanced concept, which Mr. Jeanniot suggested at an IATA Conference several years ago. Once a workable system is in place, governments should standardize its use and make it mandatory, he said, just as was done with the black box some 40 years ago.