Waypoint Leasing, Eagle repurpose AW139 for utility customers

Waypoint Leasing (Ireland) Limited (“Waypoint”), in technical partnership with Eagle, a leading global helicopter solutions provider, has established an aircraft reconfiguration program, the Waypoint Medium Utility Helicopter (“MUH”) for legacy AW139 variants for use in support of a range of utility mission areas, including: firefighting, light EMS/SAR, mining, powerline support, and general aerial work and transportation services, the company said.

The Waypoint MUH will primarily focus on enhancing the performance of older “short nose” model AW139s through significant empty weight reduction and mission-specific modular equipment installations, thereby allowing the repurposed aircraft to operate with more payload capability, and increased range and greater flexibility. The significant pool of early vintage short-nose models are ideally suited for the high performance needs of utility end-users, in addition to the work they currently support.

Since its inception in 2013, Waypoint has been active in supporting oil and gas, utility, firefighting and other industrial-focused helicopter operators. Waypoint´s portfolio includes more than 140 aircraft for 28 customers in 30 countries with total assets in excess of USD 1.6bn. Additionally, Waypoint has firm and option orders with aircraft manufacturers for more than 110 helicopters valued at more than USD 1.3bn, to be delivered over the next five years.

Headquartered in Limerick, Ireland, Waypoint is a global helicopter leasing company that provides operating lease and financing solutions to helicopter operators worldwide. It has offices in London, the United States, Canada, Singapore, Brazil, South Africa, and Australia.

Eagle provides its global customer base with a range of helicopters, helicopter support, and customization solutions.

GE, HeliOffshore provide safety data management system for global offshore helicopter industry

HeliOffshore and GE Aviation have signed an agreement to develop and implement digital solutions for a global safety data management system for the offshore helicopter industry, the companies said.

The system will be deployed in phases beginning this year.

This effort will bring together GE´s extensive data and analytics technology and expertise with HeliOffshore´s safety leadership to provide deeper analytics and analyses to yield more insights into ways operators, manufacturers, and the oil and gas industry can maximize the safety of offshore helicopter operations.

Creating this partnership will allow for a powerful implementation of data across operating conditions and environments. HeliOffshore has already laid the groundwork for sharing data and information under its InfoShare program. Through the program, operators exchange safety event information and have begun to share data, including from anonymized flight data monitoring and their health and usage monitoring systems.

Cass Information Systems acquires Effective Telecoms

Cass Information Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CASS) has acquired Effective Telecoms Ltd. (“Efftel”), a privately held UK-based telecom expense management firm, as Cass continues to execute its global growth strategy and strengthen its European presence, the company said.

With this acquisition, Cass customers benefit from increased service delivery quality and scalability across Europe, while Efftel customers are now able to leverage the broader set of services and service geographies offered by Cass. Additionally, the Efftel acquisition adds several strategic customers to the Cass client base.

Demand for telecom expense management services in the UK and Europe has grown significantly in recent years as corporations seek to expand mobile access, secure IT communication networks, upgrade technologies and increase reliability — all while holding down cost.

Efftel is a specialist provider of mobile and fixed telecom billing, analysis and procurement support services, established in 2001. Its team of pan-European analysts, programmers, auditors, project managers and consultants are all experienced telecom professionals, bringing a combination of technical and market knowledge to each project. The company has offices in Basingstoke and Amsterdam.

Cass enables enterprises to achieve visibility, control and efficiency in their supply chains, communications networks, facilities and other operations.

CDB Aviation Lease Finance makes executive appointments

CDB Aviation Lease Finance, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Limited (“CDB Leasing”), has appointed Lucas Mollan as Chief Technical Officer and Peter Goodman as Head of EMEA, the company said.

Leveraging their extensive expertise and involvement across a variety of industries, the new executives significantly strengthen the CDB Aviation leadership team and will play a key role in driving the aggressive growth of the company´s global footprint, focusing on bolstering its fleet and further advancing its global market presence.

Mollan will be appointed CDB Aviation´s Chief Technical Officer and he is expected to start with CDB Aviation at the end of May 2017.

Goodman will be appointed CDB Aviation´s Head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (“EMEA”), and he is expected to start with CDB Aviation in May 2017.

Vidyo.io developer platform included in communications platform as a service

Embedded video technology leader and video conferencing pioneer Vidyo´s recently launched Vidyo.io developer platform has been included in Gartner´s 2017 Market Guide for CPaaS (Communications Platform-as-a-Service), the company said.

The self-service Vidyo.io API platform lets software developers quickly and easily video-enable any application, on virtually any device, with cloud-hosted, high-quality, dependable, enterprise-grade multiparty video collaboration technology.

Vidyo.io offers the same high-quality video used in the enterprise to any organization.

The key value proposition of CPaaS is its unique ability to marry business processes and communication technologies, by letting devops teams focus on software development, while avoiding substantial upfront costs. Video-enabled CPaaS that are designed for consistent high performance over mobile devices and the public Internet, like Vidyo.io, help organizations of all kinds to better connect face-to-face, from wherever they are, using virtually any device.

Vidyo offers video collaboration solutions for companies that require the highest quality video interaction available. Recognized with over 120 patents, the company´s software platform and APIs are used by enterprise customers, service providers, and ecosystem partners to create innovative HD quality video-enabled applications embedded into workflows and emerging IoT devices.

Volaris adds Mexico City-Houston route

Volaris (NYSE: VLRS) (BMV: VOLAR) has launched an additional route to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, TX (IAH), the airline said.

This new route is part of Volaris expansion strategy in US key destinations. Volaris started operations in Houston with a nonstop service from Guadalajara in 2015.

Houston is a major market for Volaris due to the large percentage of the population with a Mexican heritage. This important demographic makes the city a key location for Volaris´ expansion.

Volaris is an ultra-low-cost carrier, with point-to-point operations, serving Mexico, the United States, and Central America. Since beginning operations in March 2006, Volaris has increased its routes from five to more than 161 and its fleet from four to 69 aircraft. The airline offers more than 332 daily flight segments on routes that connect 40 cities in Mexico and 75 cities in the United States and Central America.

Comcast NBCUniversal launches LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs

Comcast NBCUniversal has launched LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs, a multi-city program that will focus on assisting startups with new innovations in media, entertainment and connectivity, the company said.

It will be comprised of a variety of programs offered online and in person, including a startup accelerator, entrepreneurs´ resource center, and programs on how to bring their innovations to market.

LIFT stands for “Leveraging Innovation For Tomorrow” and builds on the spirit of entrepreneurship created by Comcast´s founder, Ralph Roberts, who was a pioneer in the cable industry and one of America´s great entrepreneurs. The flagship location will be called LIFT Labs PHL and will be in the new Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia when it opens in early 2018. A second LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs program in Atlanta will launch in 2018 with additional details, including its accelerator partner, to be announced soon.

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal.

XTI Aircraft, Bye Aerospace form alliance on hybrid/electric vertical takeoff airplane

XTI Aircraft Company (XTI) and Bye Aerospace, Inc. (Bye) have agreed to develop a hybrid/electric prototype of XTI´s revolutionary TriFan vertical takeoff airplane, the companies said.

The TriFan is a major breakthrough in aviation and air travel. The six-seat TriFan 600 will have the speed, range and comfort of a business jet and the ability to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. It will travel at over 300 miles an hour, with a range of over 1,200 miles.

Using three ducted fans, the TriFan lifts off vertically and then its two wing fans rotate forward for a seamless transition to cruise speed and its initial climb. It will reach 35,000 feet in just ten minutes and cruise to the destination as a highly efficient business aircraft.

XTI launched a formal stock offering in 2016 under SEC Regulation A+, which is open to all investors around the globe. Shares in XTI may be purchased at www.startengine.com/startup/xti providing a unique opportunity for the general public to invest in an aerospace company with a game-changing product, a world-class leadership team, and significant growth potential.

In addition to the equity crowdfunding financing, in the fourth quarter of 2016 XTI opened a USD 20m Series B round for accredited investors only, led by Wall Street investment bank, Primary Capital.

XTI Aircraft Company is a privately owned aviation business based near Denver, and founded in 2012. XTI is guided by a leadership team with decades of experience, a deep well of expertise, and success bringing new aircraft to market. XTI is founded on a culture of customer-focused problem solving to meet the evolving needs of modern travelers.

Bye Aerospace, Inc., founded by George Bye in 2007, is a world leader in developing electric-powered and solar-powered aircraft. Among the many products it has developed, Bye has launched the electric “Sun Flyer” fixed-wing airplane. Bye Aerospace has extensive experience in hybrid-electric configurations, structural, propulsion and mechanical systems, and provides cost-effective consulting services to the aerospace industry.

Millicom, Airtel to combine operations in Ghana

Millicom International Cellular S.A. and Bharti Airtel Limited, through their respective subsidiaries, have agreed for Tigo Ghana Limited and Airtel Ghana Limited to combine their operations in Ghana, the companies said.

As per the agreement, Millicom and Airtel would have equal ownership and governance rights in the combined entity.

The combined business would serve nearly 10m customers, of which 5.6m are data customers. It would cover more than 80% of Ghana´s population with high speed data, providing the widest 3G coverage across the country, and would have revenues close to USD 300m, making it one of the largest communications companies in Ghana.

The transaction is subject to obtaining approvals from the relevant authorities in Ghana and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

By integrating the two networks, the combined business is expected to provide Ghanaian customers with a major boost in both rural and urban network coverage — in turn translating into better voice quality, high speed data services and reinforced network stability and resilience. With the combined fibre footprint and increased data centres, enterprise customers including both, large corporations and SMEs, would have access to a diverse portfolio of world class solutions. Mobile Financial Services is also expected to be greatly enhanced with combined agent networks and platforms.

Eutelsat, ViaSat close European broadband joint venture

Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL) and ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) have closed their partnering arrangement combining Eutelsat´s established European broadband business with ViaSat´s broadband technology know-how and Internet Service Provider (ISP) business expertise, the companies said.

Building on a decade-long relationship, Eutelsat and ViaSat are creating a partnership that will expand Eutelsat´s current wholesale broadband business and launch a new consumer retail service in Europe. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, the joint venture will consist of two businesses coordinating efforts to expand the European broadband market:

Wholesale Services will focus on providing wholesale broadband and mobility services in the European and Mediterranean regions to the newly established retail services business and existing Eutelsat distributors. Eutelsat is contributing its current European broadband business including the KA-SAT satellite to the newly formed entity, owned 51% by Eutelsat. ViaSat has acquired a 49% interest in the business for a consideration of €132.5m.

Retail Services will focus on offering retail broadband services in the European and Mediterranean regions. Enhanced service plans are expected to be introduced in select European countries from 2017 onwards, setting a foundation for growth in the retail services business with the availability of future satellite capacity. This business is owned 51% by ViaSat and 49% by Eutelsat.

Established in 1977, Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL, ISIN code: FR0010221234) is an operator of communications satellites. The company provides capacity on 40 satellites to clients that include broadcasters and broadcasting associations, pay-TV operators, video, data and Internet service providers, enterprises and government agencies.

ViaSat keeps the world connected. As a global broadband services and technology company, ViaSat ensures consumers, businesses, governments and military personnel have communications access — anywhere — whether on the ground or in-flight.