71 airlines are flying with IFEC – who will be next?

May 3, 2017

In a four-year time-frame, the number of airlines that have equipped at least one aircraft with in-flight connectivity (e.g.; cabin connectivity for passengers) has more than doubled. Demand is continuing to show strong signs of growth as eleven additional airlines had contracted IFC services with one of the seven service providers but had not yet started installations at the end of 2016. This tremendous rate of growth and interest from airlines is being driven by the development of new applications and innovations and improvements at the network and service levels.

The selection of an IFC technology platform represents a major decision for airlines, associated with high capex and long-term commitments. Moreover, the choice has to be in line with the airline’s overall strategy and positioning in the market (taking into account the type of aircraft, route structure, ticket pricing plans, etc.). This can have quite an impact on an airline’s behavior in choosing service providers for its fleet and on the moment it decides to equip its aircraft.

For example, some airlines have opted for two different service providers for different types of aircraft in its fleet. As technology evolves rapidly, some airlines tend to wait before committing to one solution. At the same time, the pioneering airlines in IFEC are considering other service offerings for their second generation of services (as did American Airlines by switching some of its Gogo aircaft to Viasat) or have chosen a new solution when equipping another part of their fleet (as did Qatar by selecting Inmarsat GX for 130 of its aircraft, while already having aircraft equipped with Ku-band from Panasonic and L-band from SITAONAIR).

Passengers’ satisfaction is the top 1 priority for airlines, and IFC solutions have a role to play in that.

Euroconsult, the leading consulting firm specialized in connectivity and telecom, maintains a constant research program on the IFEC sector. For those who wish to have a more in-depth analysis, the latest edition of Euroconsult’s research report dedicated to “Prospect for Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity” is now available. Further information on Euroconsult’s research products and tailored consulting services can be found here.

Euroconsult also organizes the unique executive conference dedicated to Inflight Connectivity. Called SmartPlane, the conference brings together the leading decisions makers impacting the evolution of this market to present their growth strategies during a series of keynote speeches and roundtable discussions. The success of last year’s edition is evidence of the growing number of opportunities for all inflight connectivity stakeholders in this market. The 2nd edition will take place at the Westin Paris Vendome on September 11, 2017. Visit www.smartplane-summit.com for more information.

Capucine Fargier
Senior Consultant

Capucine is one of Euroconsult’s experts in in-flight connectivity markets, based in Paris. She regularly contributes to consulting missions and research reports primarily focused on mobile communications. She holds a double Masters Degree, including an engineering degree in Aeronautical and Space Technologies from ISAE-SUPAERO and specialized Masters from HEC Paris in Large Project Management.