|Passenger using an iPad in flight. Photo: United
[Avionics Today 04-14-2016] Commercial aircraft connectivity markets are forecasted to reach retail revenues of $4.6 billion by 2025, according to Northern Sky Research’s (NSR) recent report, “Aeronautical Satcom Markets, 4th Edition.” Market growth is driven by in-flight passenger connectivity, reaching new heights with High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capacity.
"Quality of IFC service is an issue that airlines will need to consider seriously as part of their brand value, if take rates of expensive satcom and air-to-ground services are to grow in step with the interest of travelers,” said Claude Rousseau, NSR research director and report author.
In a market where more than 115,000 aircraft, across all airframes, could benefit from some form of connectivity, NSR notes there are only 49,500 in-service satcom units deployed. With the number of passengers flying for business and tourism growing yearly, such amenities as IFC are an ever more important part of passengers' onboard experience. Recent capacity deals with HTS operators point to a huge supply jump in capacity for long and medium-haul aircraft that will address demand brought about by passengers bringing more Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) with them on commercial flights.
Now, with more than 60 airlines offering some form of IFC solution to connect passengers and crew alike, competition is heating up across the board. In a currently small market, this means there may be contraction and fewer players in the future. As a result, lower prices with better bandwidth available everywhere will enable more services, such as operational connectivity, which airlines are evaluating more closely today.